Thankful

It’s Thanksgiving!

As I sit in the passengers seat while my Sister drives us to North Carolina, I can’t help but to reflect. I have a lot to be thankful for.

I still have a job that I enjoy, I got into grad school, I am coming into myself more and more each day, and my sister and I have lived together 3 years without killing each other. I’d say that is success. But, I am especially thankful for today because I didn’t know what today would look like earlier this year.

For those close to me you know that my Dad went to the doctor for some testing, and a few hours later my Sister called me saying he needed open heart surgery.

I remember that’s actually all she said before quickly hanging up the phone… “Umm… he needs open heart surgery… I don’t know, Loni, I gotta go. The doctor is here.”

My world instantly turned upside down.

Instead of being hopeful, I immediately thought of worst-case scenario. At 25 I would be without both parents. How am I going to tell my brother (who was studying abroad at the time)? Why is this happening to us again? It really was a huge test of my faith (I think I prayed for the surgeons hands and eyes and judgment more than you, Dad, to be honest. I’m sorry lol).

It became glaringly obvious that as much as I tried to appear as though I had it all figured out, I wasn’t ready to do all of this on my own.

So much so, that even during one of the most challenging times of his life, my Dad once again did more encouraging and comforting of me than I did for him. Which continues to speak volumes about the type of person he is.

There are two moments in particular that I am reminded of the most.

The first is calling him to let him know I was headed to Minnesota. I remember trying to come off very composed, organized, and hopeful, but, clearly, he heard the scared little girl I felt like inside on the other end of the line. He texted me a song that I listened to the whole flight.

The second was just a couple weeks after the surgery, and I planned to go bring flowers to my Mom’s mausoleum before I left home. He chose to suffer through what I can imagine was the most painful 40 min car ride (in both directions) imaginable just so I didn’t have to go there alone. Every single bump in the road made me cringe. But, he did it. Simply because he knows how hard being alone would have been for me.

True love and selflessness, man.

No other words. I just don’t understand why my siblings and I were given the parents we have, but we’re beyond blessed.

For those who have survived my rambling to this point, I’m reflecting because of how ironic today really is. I’m headed to the annual Thanksgiving gathering without my Dad for the first time, as I feared I would months earlier. But, this time, it’s for very different reasons, thank God.

My Dad is fine. I am very thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving.

-Loni

29 Drafts/Love Moves

Unposted

I’ve had a lot of people come up to me lately and tell me that they love my blog, and that they’ve been going back to read old posts since I haven’t been posting.

Where have you been?

I’ve been  here. I’ve been writing. I appreciate the subtle nudging. I just haven’t been up to share the stories filling up my Drafts.

To share that I was once again picking myself up from the million little pieces that I found myself left in. That I had once again let someone destroy all the progress I made inside. That I was comparing myself to women that I hadn’t even met. That I had decided I simply wasn’t capable of receiving the love I am always willing to give because of the actions of others.

The girl who could always find the silver lining in the stories she shared could not spin this one positive.

So, I did not feel like sharing.

I’ve just been healing. Taking (almost 5) months off. Focusing on myself and my goals. Being truly, 100% single.

What good is running a marathon with a broken foot…

(Draft 11)

Love moves.

It doesn’t just feel… it must do.

Like that Cleo Wade poem, “if your love has a million words and only two steps, it perhaps is not love, but a song about love instead.”

It’s my Dad picking up the phone and saving me from my troubles despite me being a brat. It’s me forcing myself through those mausoleum doors despite the horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach each time. It’s driving out of your way to see someone. It’s the difficult convos. It’s the small things they remember after you’ve had a difficult week.

That’s love.

Whether that’s friendships, family, romantic relationships. It moves. It does.

(Goodness that makes me smile it’s so weird lol)

Every single situation I look back on it rings true. Every single one… Even if it wasn’t moving for me.

Forget the feelings and the words for a second. Although the feelings are important, I know I personally can get so caught up in the feelings and forget to look for action. The signs right in front of me.

I think we have this thing that if we do, we must receive. And if we don’t receive, we’re broken. We gave wrong or we didn’t give enough. We internalize it, especially when we’ve invested time and energy into a situation.

The truth is you can’t control what others do despite how deep your feelings for them may be. It’s scary but it’s true. That’s the risk. Are you willing to take it?

Is it flowing, sis? Is it moving? If not, then it’s not yours. And, by no fault of your own.

That’s it.

Follow your heart without neglecting your brain.

“I can’t go back to the way I was… I know more now than I did then.”

-Loni

Suggestion & Answer (2)

I was asked to write about why I am anti-rosters. This is funny because I tell my Sissy (Kir) every other day that I’m gonna join the movement and just get one, and we both know I’m lying (lol).

One thing I want to clarify is that we have so many fricken relationship statuses and situations that it can be confusing to know exactly what I mean when I say things like this. So, I appreciate the suggestion/question (I will work on being more clear).

I do not have a problem with dating multiple people. You’re (truly) feeling people out, you’re going out on dates, you’re trying to find a connection with someone in whatever way that may look like… sure. That’s cool. I think this a very necessary thing. How else do you get to know people?

I do have a problem when feelings start to get involved. You’re calling multiple people baby/bae, you’re sleeping with multiple people, you’re making them feel like you have a future together, you now have to be sneaky and divide your time or feel the need to tell half-truths… Nah. Not interested.

It’s just not me. When I get to the point of really liking someone I’m about that person, and don’t really have interest in exploring more options. I will want to be with them and bend over backwards to make sure they’re happy.

I don’t like rosters because someone always gets hurt. Eventually someone’s feelings are going to outweigh another’s and at that point difficult decisions need to be made. And, so far, 100% of the feelings that get hurt are mine. Why? Because I opt out once I’m aware of the situation. You can participate (and no shade to those who do, to each their own…), but it’s just something I’m not ok with.

I’m not a collectible (but if I was I would be either the 1997 or 2000 Black Holiday Celebration Barbie) and I don’t feel I need to prove my worth. You’ll feel it, now or later. You can’t just put me on a shelf and hope I’m there in a few months/years when you decide you’re ready to act right. Understand you’ve forfeited the position you once held. Someone else may be waiting to take your place.

-Loni

Suggestion & Answer (1)

I honestly didn’t think I would get any suggestions using this new Instagram Quesitons feature about topics to write about but (1) I did and (2) one of them really fired me up.

The suggestion I received wasn’t really a suggestion at all, but it was a question about why I give “bad” people and/or scenarios such a spotlight on my blog.

The original intent of this blog (see my first post here) was to be an honest expression of myself. And, whether I like it or not, I often learn the most about life and myself (and honestly grow) from the tough stuff not the times when the sun is shining the brightest.

For example I write about my Mom a lot. And, yeah, it’s sad and maybe a bit morbid to people, but her being gone impacts my life every day. I had to “teach myself” everything I know about being a woman – starting from the basics like how to put in a tampon when I finally got my period (*makes a note to write about this because it’s actually a great story*) – and years later I’m still doing that in little ways. And, it’s not even just lessons, it can be feelings of jealousy or disappointment surrounding things others experience that I never will, and how to navigate those emotions. Like how I cry every time I watch Say Yes To The Dress because it’s a reminder of something we’ll never get to do together… Does that make sense?

As far as mentioning people who have hurt me, those situations shape me just the same. But, I wouldn’t say I give anyone a spotlight. I don’t mention names (or really specific scenarios), and considering I am pretty quiet, very few people know the details of the situations I reference unless you’re someone I often turn to for advice.

I personally feel that we put too much weight on the strength of your fall back game, our ability to quickly go cold, and simply forget something has happened.

That’s just not me, nor does it make me feel very peaceful inside.

I could spend all my energy making sure I keep this negative attitude towards someone and put up this front of nonchalant-ness (def not a word lol), or I can express all my emotions in black and white on this page, forgive, and let it go (which I don’t care what anyone say, does not happen instantly). Move on stronger, wiser, and happier… Breaking to take better shape type stuff.

Lastly, I will mention that once I realized people actually read what I was writing and were able to relate to a lot of it, I became less embarrassed and hesitant to share. You’d be surprised how many people are going through things similar to what you are experiencing.

I will put some thought, however, into sharing more of my happier stories. Thank you for your question.

-Loni

(I have not been signing my posts, s/o to the person who noticed. Also, this was fun. I may do more.)

Self Love

If you are someone who has read my blog from the beginning you know a few undeniable facts about me: (1) I am notorious for writing something and then making the post private a few days later, that (2) I am the most hopeless of all romantics, and that (3) I battled insecurity when I was younger.

Let’s focus on the third.

Where this insecurity stemmed from could/will be a post of its own, but at a high-level I didn’t value myself and I would seek validation from the people I dated (you can read more about this here).

Why is this important? Well, let’s think of dating as growing trees (it’s weird, I know, just trust me).

Your love for yourself is your own full-grown, adult tree. When a person with no Self Love dates, they uproot their tree and hand it to the other person like an offering. But, after some time, what happens to an uprooted tree? It dies. You have to start over, and it often takes a long time to simply find some new seeds to plant. When you have Self Love, instead of offering your whole tree, you take one of the seeds from your tree and plant them together with the other person, and you watch a new kind of tree grow. Now, this doesn’t guarantee the newer baby tree will ever live to adulthood, or that some “natural disaster” won’t come and rip it from the ground. But, at least when you walk away from that situation/person, you still have a full-grown tree/Self Love of your own to sustain you.

So, why is this my on my mind today? I’m glad I can count on you all to ask.

On Tuesday our pastor made a couple of points that brought me to tears. They reminded me how desperately I prayed for just the seeds to grow a tree, and it made me realize that without the Self Love I have now what kind of place I would be in mentally and emotionally. The message was simple, that we were created in His image and that no matter what is going on in my life that God wants me, but those were the exact words that were said to me ~4 years ago when I started going to church regularly as an adult. Those were the words that helped me out of my own insecurity. I would repeat a silent prayer of God, You love me, I am created in YOUR image and therefore I AM beautiful, You gave me a divine purpose, my life has more meaning than the value others see in me. Plant these words in my heart… And, here we are.

The life between my 25th birthday and my 26th birthday tested me in so many ways that I am confident “Insecure Me” would not have made it through. From a couple of weeks before my 25th birthday thinking I had love to being told they decided to try out a relationship with someone else, to being reduced to a rebound, to being stood up while traveling out-of-state, and to unknowingly participating in a 6 month situationship (…is anyone else singing Bounce Back in their head… no… just me, ok)… Even if she did survive it, “Insecure Me” would never think of these as lessons learned, but rather reasons why she wasn’t valuable. And, she definitely wouldn’t have ever admitted any of these embarrassing stories to the world.

Good thing she’s no longer with us.

I go into year 26 still learning. I’m learning that some people will suck (that’s just one of those many unavoidable truths of life that sits on the list with the fact that people will always judge you for what you wear no matter how you’re dressed…), but that shouldn’t change how good of a person I am. That not everyone can return what you are looking for, but that doesn’t have an impact just how deeply I love myself. That everything has it’s own time/season. And, that none of the situations I previously mentioned determine my worth.

Ima just sit in the shade of this tree waiting on the day that someone is out here looking for a PYT who loves Hot Cheetos and the Lord, is trying to find more time to cook, thinks unexpected adventures are often the best dates, and loves to cuddle and watch movies (and will let you know she figured out the ending, therefore spoiling the movie 30 mins in)…

“I Hate Hook-Up Culture…”

I have had a lot of weird situations happen lately, which led me to post “Yall aren’t tired of hook-up culture yet” on IG.

I feel like when I say that it immediately scares people away. And, this was confirmed because I received about 20 DMs saying that this wasn’t going to make people want to approach me.

It is what it is.

I know that my stance on it is 83% (yes, I calculated this…lol) why I’m single at the moment. But, I feel I have valid reasons for saying it that no one chooses to stick around and hear. Well, little baby blog, that’s why I have you.

Let’s rant.

I hate hook-up culture not because of the hooking-up. Rather, I hate it because of how people tend to act while this “getting to know you” phase is happening.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

I’m the type of person who doesn’t like to “hook-up” with more than one person at a time. I know myself, and it would honestly be an emotional disaster. And, I have no problem telling you that. But, this is a huge no-no, clearly, that often scares people away. Immediately. No more convo to be had. They make it about me being possessive in their heads instead of , I don’t know, actually listening to what I have to say – that it’s simply me guarding my own emotions (and my panini, obviously)…

Ending the convo at that point also means I’m rarely asked if they can hook-up with other people. If we aren’t exclusive I “don’t care” what you do (obviously people care even if they want to say they don’t, but I can’t hold you to a standard that we haven’t set). That is dating. You get to know people. I just choose not to get to know everyone on a physical level. So, shoot me.

Honest Communication.

Here’s the real kicker. Because we have all these things going on, we feel the need to tell half-truths as to not ruin anything you have going on that now involves very real feelings. I would prefer your transparency. Don’t try to spin your truths on me, start a fight to avoid a talk, or make me the one to make a decision for you.

You hooked-up with Cindy, and now you have feelings that you want to explore more closely? Bet, thanks for letting me know. You don’t want a relationship any time soon? Bet, thanks for letting me know.

Just let me choose how I want to move forward. Let me decide if my connection with you is worth exploring further or if I want to opt out.

Knowing When it’s a Waste of Time.

I said the previous one was the kicker, but this is indeed the kicker lol. I think we all need to better gauge when we are wasting someone’s time (money, energy, peace, etc.). Whatever the case may be. Don’t engage with people if you’re not available (I don’t just mean being single, but emotionally). Don’t keep them around because its grown comfortable when you know there is nothing further to be had. Don’t give mixed signals.

I’m not perfect. I could def be a better communicator. I could also stop assuming my emotions speak when it may not be as clear as I think it is. But, at least I’m attempting to be cognizant of it.

It’s like we have two types of people left: you’re either a hopeless romantic (and nothing can make you not want to try to find love again) or dating sucks and you’re not interested. And, it’s sad to see…

I’m sure I’ll add more to this later.

Life.

I had a conversation with you last week. This conversation exposed me to a funny story that left a young Grant “injured” (mostly his pride) in the backyard in a similar fashion to one of my many “toughen up” sessions with my older sister.

Younger siblings never want to admit it, but we have a different kind of love and respect for our older siblings. They help raise us. And, although it’s mostly in a much less friendly and far less peaceful way than our parents, their “lessons” play a huge role in who we are today.

I didn’t know you well outside of casual convos that sparked from IG Story responses and hanging out a couple times in group settings, but from that time alone I knew you were proud to be Grant’s big brother… You helped raise one of my best friends who also happens to be one of the best people I know all around. So, I just wanted to say thank you for that.

Rest in Complete Paradise. As long as we are here, we promise, Grant will always be ok.

•••

Life is incredibly too short. At 28 or 82 I don’t think anyone will ever say that they wish they had less time. It definitely hurts more when it’s our peers, the 20-somethings… We are still in our invincible years. It’s only really moments like this that remind us and make us reflect on everything.

We need to remember time isn’t promised to any of us.

And, I don’t mean being sad and morbid all of the time. I mean going out and really LIVING. Not wasting time with fear and drama and hate. Being able to look back at every single day and say I don’t regret a minute of how I lived it.

Doing whatever gives you the feeling of sun on your skin, sand between your toes, and wind in your hair…

I need to live like that.

It Only Took 12 Years…

This place has always terrified me.

I remember the first time I came here. It was a beautiful April day, and our car led the procession to the building I walked into a few minutes ago. Everything up to this point was still so surreal to me. It was the day of the funeral and I still questioned if the person they had in the casket could really have been you. I knew you would walk through those doors any minute and say this was all some awful mistake…

I’m not sure what gave me the courage to finally walk into the room I sit in now on that day. I truthfully only made it a couple steps in before seeing the hollow space in the beautiful rose colored marble walls and your name written in gold on the matching marble slab waiting off to the side to later be put back into place.

Instantly the world went silent.

This was real. All these people were real, my itchy blue sweater was real, that beautiful white marble casket did indeed belong to you, and the emptiness I felt inside became so much deeper…

I lost it. I mean you were there. I could hear myself screaming and crying but couldn’t stop.

After what felt like forever (but I’m sure was only a half a minute if that) Dad came from wherever he was, threw me over his shoulder, quickly walked outside and sat me on a bench next to JaMar. He kissed me on the forehead, just as stoic and composed as he always is, and walked back inside.

To be honest, I told myself I would never come here again, Mommy…

Definitely not alone. And, definitely not long enough for my mind to wander or to start to feel anything.

But, here I sit.

Secretly still hoping you would turn the corner and ask why I’m staring at your name on the wall, or what I’m typing out on my phone…

– Loni Monster

How Am I?

You know when people say, “some of the worst things happen to the best people.” Or what about, “God gives the hardest battles to the strongest people.”

Well, they kinda just make you want to be a terrible weak little troll to avoid all of this life stuff that the best and strongest get.

But, I can’t be that way.

I was born to Yvonne and Felton, two of the world’s best people, who therefore had to raise three of the world’s strongest children who cannot, have not, and simply will not be ruled by fear.

That’s how I am.

-Loni

Honeycomb

I am a honeycomb.

Intriguing, detailed, beautiful even… from a distance. Then immediately puzzle-like, intimating, and unapproachable when you see the swarm of honeybees protecting my innermost stuff.

My gold. You know, that raw kind of honey. Full of vitamins, enzymes and antioxidants… my fears, my insecurities, and my secrets to life and healing.

Nah… I’m sorry. I don’t open myself up at your command. I’m not a shiny bear-shaped bottle with a pop-top.

We honeycombs need a beekeeper not a convenience store shopper.

Someone who prepares to be stung, but with so much patience and skill that it may never happen. Who doesn’t carelessly destroy the honeycomb or use it up in their pursuit of the honey inside…

-Loni