Sunday, December 17, 2017

QUEENS, KINGS & CASTLES




Any time a person measures their lives by other people’s opinions and standards, that, in fact, is insecurity.

You are a soccer athlete and you have been celebrated by those around you for the most part of your life. You meet a swimmer athlete who has also been celebrated their whole life. For some weird reason, you start questioning your abilities as an athlete. All of a sudden, you start to think, perhaps you’re not good enough. 

Every human has hidden insecurities. At least that’s the one place we’re truly equals. The most powerful in rank and class proved my thesis when I saw season 2 episode 8 of “The Crown.” Totally love that show by the way. If they feel that way, despite their prestige, then it’s safe to say all humans are victims of this one issue. 

So, POTUS met the Monarch in the 60’s. πŸ™ŒπŸΎ

Prior to this long awaited meeting, the First Lady, Jackie Kennedy, dominated international news. She was praised by the press as the most beautiful and intelligent woman of her time. She spoke multiple languages and had attended great colleges. She was the woman every woman aspired to be. 

The Queen of England on the other hand, was possibly the most powerful and influential person in the world. She, at the time, had just had her third child and was feeling a little insecure about herself. Totally normal post-partum sentiments, I can relate. She referred to herself as a “middle aged woman.” She watched First Lady Jackie on TV and just disliked her for how she seemed to enjoy all the attention. Even the Prime Minister attested to how smart the First Lady Jackie was, but the Queen quickly dismissed his statement, saying, “it’s her looks.” The climax of jealousy would hit as soon as they met. 

Anyhow, after pleasantries were exchanged(which POTUS and FLOTUS totally bummed), the Prince Philip spent time shamelessly flirting with First Lady Jackie Kennedy. At one point, he offered to personally give her a tour of Buckingham Palace. It was at this point that Queen Elizabeth had had enough. The Queen insisted on giving the First Lady the tour herself. After all, it was her castle.

In her very private chambers, the two women experienced something significant. They realized that contrary to what the world thought of them, they were just two women. Women like you and I. Phenomenal moment I must say. 
They were not encumbered by expectations or public profiles in that moment. They were just two shy women who loved animals and had been positioned by fate and destiny in positions of authority and much responsibility. 

“No, I liked her very much. And I’d been all set to loathe her. But in the end, I was utterly charmed. People are so rarely what they seem”, the Queen said. 

How many times have you loathed someone as a result of your own insecurities?

Sometimes as a person, when you are jealous of someone who appears to be occupying a domain you like, it just might mean you have underlying insecurities that floated to the surface. 
Our insecurities are manifested through our emotions. If not recognized and properly handled, they could lead us into non-constructive words and actions. 

I sat down to ask my husband about his perspective on insecurities surrounding our lives as humans. His response blew me away and I hope it does the same for you. 

“It was my first job. I was a dishwasher for Ryan’s Buffet restaurant in Louisiana. In my second year working there, a new guy joined us on the job. He was Jamaican.
We shared a lot in common.
Like me, he was an international student at Grambling State University- majoring in Computer Science. He was a freshman while I was finishing my sophomore year.
As dishwashers, we were also responsible for mopping the floor once the restaurant closed, so it wasn’t uncommon for our day to end at 1 or 2AM.
Those days, I mostly felt sorry for myself and despised my circumstances as I considered myself at the very bottom of the socio-economic ladder.
Such manual labor was beneath what I deserved out of life.
One late night, as we mopped the floor together, Damian pointed at me and said the words that flipped my perspective and changed my life:
“That’s the guy with the life I want”.
I came to understand that no one wishes to be stuck at the level of a restaurant dishwasher; but as far as progress goes, it’s an invaluable step in the right direction and I must be grateful.
He was a freshman and from his perspective, if he’s “like me” in the next year, then his dream is achieved.
That lesson on perspective and appreciating every step on this journey called life, has stuck with me till now.
I may not have everything I feel I deserve, but I thank God that I am where I am right now.”

Insecurities can arise from any number of places/situations 
  • I, not feeling that I’m where I need to be in life can cause me to be insecure about my capabilities 
  • Seeing someone else thriving in a domain I wish to thrive in, can cause me to be insecure about why they get to be there and I don’t. Am I not good enough too?
The list goes on and on.
The key is to recognize these insecurities and take appropriate action.

What you do about insecurities?
  • Acknowledge it.
  • Learn to appreciate where you are.
  • Know your castle.
  • Know who you are.
  • It’s all about perspective. 
  • Do not compare.
  • Do not talk down someone else to elevate yourself, it only leaves a hole. 
  • Be content every little step of the way. 
  • Do not hate, appreciate. 

As a woman, I am a Queen in my Castle. Whether I like the size of it or not, only I can do something about it. I am the only one at liberty to let in or let out. 

Every other Queen has the same rights in their territory. Some Queens are intimidated by other Queens’ castles, but it doesn’t change or affect your castle, except you forget who you are. 

Like the Queen of England, she didn’t need to be in competition with the First Lady of the United States. She was already the most powerful woman in the world. She only needed to see herself for what she truly was and still is. 

Positions do not define us, but who and what we believe we are. We are all equals in insecurities. We may not be equal in wealth or age or class, but when it comes to insecurities, we are truly equals. 
Hence it is up to each of us, to handle our own insecurities properly.
Remember your crown was made to fit.



Sunday, December 10, 2017

RELATIONSHIPS LIKE ROSES.


If you admire a rose, soon enough you will experience its thorns. That analogy makes me want to leap from my writing position. πŸ’ƒπŸ½πŸ’ƒπŸ½
Life, like a rose is incomplete without nuances that are often as prickly as thorns. There is no relationship in life without problems and challenges here and there. 

“You don’t develop courage by being happy in your relationships everyday. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.”
— Epicurus

Relationships ought to exist beyond what we can benefit from others. A relationship should be about the other person and less about you. If we treated relationships with this law in mind, wouldn’t you agree that the world would be a better place?

So, what do I hope to achieve with these words today?

A lot. 
I hope this article stirs you up to work hard at preserving the good relationships in your world. 
I hope it makes you think of someone who has been good to you and you reach out to them and make an effort to improve, repair or restore your relationship. I hope you think about getting to know your neighbors and genuinely start caring about them and showing them you care. 

Recently, I had to pull my grown girl pants up to have a chit chat with myself about how I treat my relationships. Sometimes I’m great and then I fall off and I lose really great friendships. Mostly, because I find it hard to keep up or I am consumed with my own life and literally have no time to create space for others. Reality check! This is the same for most millennials- between work, children and marriage and old friends, we just end up preferring our safe haven of independence and individualism. 

Of course, this way of thinking, is sometimes inherited from our parents or adopted from our peers. However, no real happiness comes from isolation. Isolation, instead, often leads to depression. 

The more you lose faith in genuine human relations, the more isolated and depressed you become! 
I for Isolation = D for Depression. 
Most of us expect the world to revolve around us and lash out at everything when things don’t work our way. Our generation, especially, is somewhat full of children who only think of “me, me me” or “I, I, I.” Grow up! πŸ€“

I believe strongly that positive relationships that are built on a desire to be of value to others can reduce the risk of depression. 
We live in great homes in America but refuse to meet our neighbors. I mean it beats me. Though my parents were very protective of us, we still enjoyed the joys of relationships with great neighbors while growing up in Nigeria. 
Parents could leave their children with their next door neighbors without hesitation or a second thought. I have heard older folks in America attest to this style of living years ago.

Mothers would be less grumpy and parents would be happier. Just knowing someone is there sometimes. My opinion..

You might be asking; what do I need to change to have and keep better relationships?
  • Be deliberately caring.
  • Invest your time by giving it
  • Make less excuses 
  • Apologize promptly 
  • Learn people’s love languages and give them love their way, not your way. 
  • Be honest. 
  • Have realistic expectations. 
  • Avoid listening to malicious gossip
  • Seek for only the best in people. 
In any given relationship you are only expected to love and give love. Give whatever you would want for yourself. It’s the law of nature to receive what you give, maybe not from the same route. If you want kindness, give kindness! If you want love, give more love. 

Have you heard the saying, “no one is an island”? I strongly believe that you need the right relationships to achieve success in life. It’s impossible to be great without mastering the art of relationships.

At the same time, some of the richest and most successful people are often the loneliest. Gifted people end up ignoring the most important gift- the gift of humans, as they bury themselves in their talents or money. No wonder suicide seem like the next and only option. 

Robin Williams is one of the most brilliant comedians I had seen on TV as a girl and his death shook me. I wondered how someone who made the world laugh had such a hole in his heart deep enough to lead him to commit suicide. Die like no one cared about him. That hurt πŸ˜” 

You might ask again, how can I manage relationships and success? Truth is; it is hard just like anything else. Marriage even becomes tougher as you have children. 😜😊. 
So, you see, it requires a little more effort than your usual. 

God help us all!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

THE R-CLOUD...



Hubz and I have been married for two years now and I think I have earned a small license to tell some married couple jokes. Lol. Thankfully we are both romantics, so we both can tell you, it’s not always picture perfect. There are many “cut” moments on this journey, so let’s laugh a little. 

The front that a marriage has to put up sometimes in the name of romance is crazy, especially for newly weds. It is not necessarily a requirement but every marriage probably finds itself wobbly at the game of romance everyday. Thank God John and I are way past that or I should say I grew up and I am way past that nowπŸ˜†. 

I would say I am a romantic. Before now, I’d spent most of my time in the R-cloud. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. Sometimes, I still do but I don’t require my charming King to sweep me off my feet any more. I love romantic comedies, and of course I’d laugh and cry at any given opportunity. 
Hubz and I are criers πŸ™ˆπŸ™ˆπŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. One of our fine romantic moments when we were dating, was when we watched “The fault in our stars.” We cried and held each other so much. I knew he was my soulmate after that beautiful euphoria.

Did Hollywood do all that? πŸ˜…

The actors are great, but we can’t blame them for doing their jobs perfectly. They make you fall in love with love.

Romance is great and a vital part of the relationship two people experience. Even friendships experience romance. So do businesses obviously. 
The dictionary has an interesting informal description of romance: 

"to court or woo romantically; treat with ardor or chivalrousness: He's currently romancing a very attractive widow."

"to court the favor of or make overtures to; play up to: They need to romance the local business community if they expect to do business here."

The formal meaning is fiction, a novel. A tale out of this world, which explains what I call the R-cloud experience. 

When we get into relationships, we realize our expectations are far fetched. Unfortunately, some people lose out on great relationships because of unrealistic expectations. Expectations are great, but how do you react when your expectations are not met?

Like I wrote above about my hubz and I, we have now been officially married for two years and I find that in our real movie, we get to decide freely what our romance is. I remember during one of our counseling sessions(yes, we have those 😜), our counselor had asked us to describe what romance is to each of us and then swap notes. 

What I find romantic isn’t what my husband find romantic and so we need a balance. 

What do you find romantic? 

As a person, you are going to have to make a conscious effort to highlight the reality of some of the things you are asking for. 

Take for instance, I have a new baby(14 months old in few days) who has refused or let’s just say... we have both refused to stop breastfeeding. I am a mom for the second time and this is a totally different experience. I enjoy breastfeeding him, but anyhow, this has allowed for reduced romance in our marriage. 
We now even call each other Daddy and Mommy, which I detest. We can’t be the only ones experiencing this phase. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. 

If we’re not careful, what could happen is: built up expectations could cause you to start resenting your spouse instead of growing, understanding and making the best use of the situation to create romance. 

We threw my son a party yesterday and I tell ya, my hubby and I were so romantic that I felt special. I was genuinely happy that we weren’t putting up a front but we were just so relaxed in our minds that there was room for few kisses and hugs here and there. 

In movies, romance is planned and executed, but in reality, romantic experience is “created”. An example is: Bickering about everything would tear you apart rather than draw you closer. Fighting each other less would gradually create romance between you two, it would draw up understanding and draw you closer and that’s “romance created”. 
In other words, I no longer think of romance as an occurrence in an instant, that leaves me feeling “lovey dovey”, even though that’s part of it; but it’s a state-of-being that’s created out of a mutual understanding.

You could have two couples who have no children but are not romantic. They could go on dates, project an image of being in love; like hold hands, and yet not be romantic. I have found that the mind is associated with our feeling of romance and just like sex, it needs to be unclogged to feel and experience romance. 

The upside of romance is that it’s endless if the atmosphere is kept up. You not only benefit your mind and your spouse’s, but your children’s as well. It’s like acting out a real Hollywood romance in real life. 
The downside however, is if anything were to happen to these movie idols you have created, the children could be heart broken and find it hard to believe in love. Some children lose faith in marriage or romance all together while some grow up and accept life as it comes. 

So what grade would you give your expectations in the romantic department? 
Is your head so far in the clouds that you’re desperately in need of finding a balance? 
Or are you the complete opposite?

I would honestly advise everyone out there to live life as realistically as possible. Don’t be a fictional princess who in reality would never find a Prince Charming- because life is not a Disney movie. 
A real prince is a real person who feels every real emotion that you do. Don’t lose out on the great relationships around you because of unrealistic expectations. 

With your reality, you get to set the tone of your romance. You get to choose what that is without getting carried away into the R-cloud. 
Don’t worry I had to grow up and so can you!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

THE "CRAMPY" WOMAN: Cramping your way through periods & pregnancy.

As soon as I watched this video by the comedian Iliza, shared by my wonderful hubby (he loves comedy), I knew what I wanted to talk about this week.


This one will have you all thinking, laughing, almost feeling pity for our gender as women.

Is every woman “Crampy”?  Sort of πŸ€·πŸΎ‍♀️

Menstrual cramps happen due to contractions in the uterus or womb, which is a muscle. Long story short, it’s a muscle and if for some weird reason the oxygen supply to the blood vessels surrounding the uterus are in short supply, you will be cramping for a day or two or the entire time, depending on your body. 

That was BIOLOGY!
Now to REALITY!

PERIODS HURT !
But you already knew that. Didn’t you?

I remember when I first got my period. I was maybe 12 or 13. There was a tradition for the female child when she gets her period. I don’t know if it’s still being followed or if my parents just tricked me... lol.
But anyway, I woke up that morning with a stain of blood in my panty.   



Where I come from- #Nigeria #NaijaBabe πŸ‡³πŸ‡¬#YorubaPrincess #MamaAfrica (waves flagπŸ‡³πŸ‡¬) my dad explained, one must kill a cock and have it for dinner, on the day your oldest daughter becomes a woman.
WHATTTTTT? πŸ˜³
If you grew up in my corner of Nigeria, you probably experienced this bizarre ritual. I even think my parents violated the ordinance and killed a hen instead. I ate it though. The delicious chicken certainly made the cramps hurt a bit less. 

I also went to a female-only boarding school where I saw different experiences of the female specie. Oh boy! You could almost cry for some ladies during their periods. 
A senior of mine would practically pass out when she got her period. Very intense. Some had terrible cramps that Doctors diagnosed would not reduce until child birth.. πŸ˜³πŸ˜³
πŸ™†πŸ½‍♀️πŸ™†πŸ½‍♀️πŸ™†πŸ½‍♀️ I mean what the heck..

True, there are no long-term consequences of menstrual cramps, except your mood can swing from 1 to -10 within an hour for no reason but the cramps. You snap, cry and crave chocolate. Do you know I literally ate a whole cup of gelato on this period πŸ€¦πŸΎ‍♀️. No chill!

Anyway, Since my teen days, I have managed a period and also managed to push out two healthy baby boys. 
I remember a friend of mine who told me her husband literally passed out while she pushed her daughter through those tiny vaginal walls. 

So there is a slight difference between your period cramp and the pregnancy cramp. Actually, this information is for those who haven’t given birth to a child yet.. ha ha. 

On the 9th day of September, I was strapped like a cow, my thighs were gallantly separated, expanded for the baby I had been bouncing back and forth with in my belly to make his way out of my precious oven. 
My blood pressure had been fluctuating so my Doctor felt it was time for an induction since the Baby was 39wks and 5 days.. 
Soon, I felt this warm water beneath my bum, next thing I know I was feeling painful cramps right. Pretty similar to the period cramps but way more painful. I felt like a thousand needles were being pressed deep into my skin simultaneously πŸ™…πŸ½‍♀️. Full disclosure: My husband thinks I have an irrational fear of needles.

After several hours of monitoring and a failed epidural(took it too late or something).. didn’t work for me- The nurse came and did her normal check and saw that baby’s head was almost falling out.. hehe. 
They all came rushing.. 
Push..
Push...
And there came Baby Emmanuel, 9lbs, 3oz, 21.75 long. 

All the Doctors and nurses were amazed that I just pushed a giant of a baby for my first pregnancy. The baby had them all fooled. They kept saying he was going to be about 7lbs, but oh well.. he came out extra extra large. 

Next phase, as they tried to sew me back up, they realized I had lost too much blood. I passed out and had no pulse for a few minutes. I practically died that day and was brought back to life. I was revived and spent the next 3 days in the ICU. So yeah.. you’re all witnesses to my resurrection story. πŸ™πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎ☝🏾

Baby number 2 was easier actually. 
Guess what? 
I drank my strawberry and banana smoothie, berry smoothies and carried a jug of water every where I went. 
Being pregnant in the summer will make you Crampy- well any time really, but especially the summer. I was pregnant in the summer with both babies. I would sit naked on my rocking chair... and have the fan... haha. Anyhow... nothing like a fresh breeze on your naked, pregnant body, on a hot summer day.

I look back and I have the utmost respect for my mom. The birth of my first child, Emmanuel, changed my relationship with my mom. Prior to that, we were like frienemies (friendly enemies). I was just purely a daddy’s girl. But today, I am my mama’s girl. We talk practically every day. Though she’s hit meno'stop' now, I just have this respect knowing she did it! She made it through the ferocious menstrual cramps and three episodes of pregnancy cramps. 

Are you looking forward to a “Crampy” lifestyle? 
Lol.. well, all the best! 
We are in this together, one cramp at a time! Don’t forget your chocolate and ice cream.. 

On a more serious note though, during your period;
  • Drink water 
  • Avoid caffeine and salt 
  • Avoid alcohol 
  • EXERCISE! (Ladies don’t like this). 

It is important to feel great during your period especially if you have longer periods. You can reduce the risk of a crappy mood if you eat well, exercise and be emotionally healthy. 

Or well just take it like a woman! 
Comfort yourself in the knowledge that all over the world, women of all races, nationalities, religions, political affiliations, professions, and causes; are feeling the same pain you are feeling. Thumbs up πŸ‘πŸ½ to all the men who will forever partake in the aftermath of a periodic cramp! 


Saturday, November 18, 2017

WHO IS ANGRY?

"Leslie met Andy four years ago at a wedding where Andy was the best man. They immediately kicked it off. Like young couples freshly in love, they were full of passion which sometimes resulted in outbursts and lash outs. One day, during one of their frequent fights. Andy got so angry and struck Leslie in the face. Leslie, unable to wrap her head around the fact that she had just been sent to hell and back, simply stood frozen from the shock.

Andy was angry. He blamed Leslie for not understanding he needed his space, in the heat of that moment. After what seemed like a day apart, Andy would later send her flowers and chocolate, with a sincere apology for his outburst.

Things quickly progressed from an occasional slap, to a regular black eye and bruises for Leslie.

On the afternoon of Thursday, October 26th, Leslie’s cousin, Josh, had stopped by to pay her a visit.
Andy, staggered in around 7:30pm.
Full of rage, and alcohol, assuming the worst, he reached for his baseball bat, and swung it with deadly accuracy into Josh’s skull.
Josh hit the ground for the last time."

—-



Anger is a strong feeling of displeasure. This feeling will happen at different times, at different points and phases in a person’s lifetime.

Dr Cole explains that the first signs of emotions that we see in a child are partially based on temperament, or the individual differences that babies seem to be born with.

Some babies are fine extroverted and will be okay with everyone passing them from hand to hand and some the total opposite.

We are advised to cater to each child according to their temperaments.. Ignoring this important detail in childhood can lead to an outraged adult.

While it is part of the human nature to have this strong feeling of displeasure, just like love, it is important to recognize this emotion and master the control of it. 
What do you do when you are angry?

As a little girl, I would get so angry that I would throw things, or just burst out crying.
Also, as I grew, I watched my parents argue a lot- and even had to play “mediator” between them a few times.
Meanwhile, on the inside of me, a tornado of anger lay brewing, as I suppressed many personal issues.

When I was about six, a teen relative of my dad’s uncle tried to molest me. My brother, who was five at the time, helped me fight him off. I promptly told my parents when I got home.
I watched my dad punch this young man in the face, knocking out several teeth. I was young but I remember it. My dad was very protective of his girls, as any parent should be.

As an adult my anger issues came to a climax when I went through physical abuse.

While some anger might seem justifiable, like a father protecting his daughter, or a jealous lover protecting his interests, or a mother who lost her only child, the truth is, where do we cross the line of healthy expression of anger?

Anger requires a lot of energy and if left unchecked, can be quite destructive. It would be naive to think some anger isn’t normal, but at what point does it become dysfunctional?

On the one hand, anger "can reduce violence, benefit relationships, promote optimism and be a useful motivating force, but it can just as easily be destructive."

On the other hand, the effects of unchecked/repressed anger are presently causing havoc in the world, especially lately. Many families are suffering as a result of extreme acts of violence and terrorism.

“In 2009, in North Carolina, Robert Stewart opened fire at a nursing home, killing seven very elderly residents and a nurse. Police speculated that the forty-five-year-old Stewart, who did not commit suicide and is currently in custody, targeted the facility because his estranged wife once worked there.”

What can we do about all this wanton violence in the world?
If you are asking that question, great!

We really should also be asking: Am I an angry person?

According to a study conducted by Harvard Medical School, close to 8 percent of adolescents display anger issues that qualify for a lifetime diagnoses of intermittent explosive disorder.
The Washington Post, while researching Americans’ access to guns; stated that “roughly 22 million Americans — 8.9 percent of the adult population have impulsive anger issues and easy access to guns.”

It is of vital importance to understand anger symptoms, causes and effects, especially if you suspect that you, or someone you know, are suffering from an anger disorder.

Some of the different types of anger include but are not limited to;
  • Chronic anger, which is prolonged, can impact the immune system and be the cause of other mental disorders
  • Passive anger, which doesn’t always come across as anger and can be difficult to identify
  • Overwhelmed anger, which is caused by life demands that are too much for an individual to cope with
  • Self-inflicted anger, which is directed toward the self and may be caused by feelings of guilt
  • Judgmental anger, which is directed toward others and may come with feelings of resentment
  • Volatile anger, which involves sometimes-spontaneous bouts of excessive or violent anger
I think of the six different types highlighted, we should be able to address some of the reasons we feel the way we do.
I believe that when it comes to anger issues, self-awareness is critical.
Knowing the problem is the first step to redemption.

It is true that we can do nothing about the gift of emotion but we can look out for some of the subtle extremes.
For instance,
Do you experience road rage more than once a week?
When faced with a situation you’re not comfortable with, do you lash out instead of constructively expressing yourself?

There are angry people everywhere and everyday. A lot of married couples abhor anger against their spouses.
The world is becoming less safe.
It is not just because of terrorists.
It is because of people. Angry people. People like you and I. Yes they are people first, before the different labels.

Remember that you are responsible for managing your anger.
No one is to blame for your actions.


Sources


Guides, Psych. “Anger Symptoms, Causes and Effects.” Signs and Symptoms of Anger, www.psychguides.com/guides/anger-symptoms-causes-and-effects/.

Ingraham, Christopher. “Nearly 1 in 10 Americans Have Severe Anger Issues and Access to Guns.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 8 Apr. 2015, www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/04/08/nearly-1-in-10-americans-have-severe-anger-issues-and-access-to-guns/?utm_term=.1d3034ad5e8c.


Saturday, November 11, 2017

GRACE'S ADDICTION..



"Rise and shine!.. Rise and shine..!! It's time!!!" 
Grace pounds her head into the pile of pillows on her bed hoping she was still dreaming.

"Up, up, up sweetheart... It's morning, we have to be on time for Church today.” 

"Mom!! Can I have five more minutes please? P-pree-tie pleaseee" Grace muffled faintly.  

May paused, took a long look at her daughter. 
Grace was born almost ten years ago.
It felt like just yesterday, she was holding her little girl in her arms for the very first time. She was red and full of hair. Beautiful. 
May made her way to the blinds. She flung them open from one side to the other. She waited until Grace got up, staggering to the bathroom.  

Grace loved her pretty dresses. 
She loved to look pretty- like a princess.
Her Sunday school teachers always said she was their little pop star.
She thought the boys in Sunday school were silly. Always lurking around and muttering incoherently. Sometimes cute. But silly. 
Oh, but how she dreaded the morning ritual of grooming herself and getting ready for church. She much preferred her sleep. 

Grace enjoyed spending her Sunday evenings at Lucy’s home. Lucy's family moved in next door about four months ago and they had immediately hit it off. 
They would play with Lucy’s Barbie collection and usually close out the night watching TV in their basement, while the grownups chatted away upstairs. 

On this night, they rummaged through the big box of VHS tapes. “Beauty and the Beast”, “The Lion King”, “Snow White”, the list went on. They settled on Grace’s favorite story, Cinderella. 

Lights, Camera, Action! 

The girls sat grimacing at what was on their TV screen. Everything around them seemed frozen in time.
Grace felt something going on within her thighs.
Like a fountain of gooey springs was forcing its way out of her tightly crossed legs.  
Lucy jolted her friend out of it..   

“Eeww.. what's that?”   
“That's gross...”   
“We shouldn't be watching that..”  
“Where did that come from?”  

Lucy and Grace were inundated by unfamiliar sounds of moaning and heavy breathing from the TV. Cinderella was naked but seemed to be enjoying the strange things Prince Charming was doing to her.   

“This isn’t Cinderella.”  
“What happened?”  

They watched for a few more minutes, hoping the tape would fix itself and reveal their heroine in a pretty dress and glass slippers. 
Instead the naked man and woman, went on and on, oblivious- as though in mockery of the girls’ expectations.   
They soon gave up and turned off the screen. 
But the images would return to taunt them later that night.  

Thus began a habit that would control Grace’s life for many decades. 

As a teenager, she would come to accept that her sexual desires were natural. Her love for x-rated content was justified. Touching herself was a perfectly harmless and satisfying alternative- to having sex.   
The fear of being labeled “a slut” was all that kept Grace from acting on her impulses with boys.  
She would eventually have sex, but it just never seemed to be enough. So she continued to pleasure herself. Every morning as she took a shower. In between classes while in college. Every evening after work. Before sex. After sex. Any time she felt like it. And she felt like it 3 or 4 times a day. Sometimes more.

......................................


The dictionary defines addiction as the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to anything that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.

How to identify an addiction??

As defined by Psychology today; Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (e.g., alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (e.g., gambling, sex, shopping) that can be pleasurable but the continuation of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary responsibilities and concerns, such as work, relationships, or health. People who have developed an addiction may not be aware that their behavior is out of control, causing problems for themselves and others.


How to overcome an addiction
  • Identify the addiction.
  • Take responsibility. 
  • Be Open.
  • Seek help (therapy, accountability partners, counseling, church groups etc..).
  • Set realistic short term goals.
  • Celebrate milestones.
  • Forgive yourself and try again when relapse occurs.
  • Seek God. 
If you are not struggling with any addictions, here are some things to think about..
  • Are you judgemental in your approach or interactions with people who have struggles?
  • Are you open to helping someone by listening and empathizing with their struggles?
  • Are you willing to sacrifice your time and resources in support of someone else's journey to wholeness?
I also recommend the book, Addiction and Grace: Love and Spirituality in the Healing of Addictions  by Gerald G. May M.D.

Also, for additional information, check out the following websites:

  • www.asam.org 
  • www.addictioncenter.com.

 Sources

Galanter, Marc. “Overcoming Addiction.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 1 Nov. 1992, https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199211/overcoming-addiction