Misplaced Expectations.

Hello old friends, new followers and fellow bloggers-

I’ve been guilty of many things, one being the placement of expectations on those I love without agreed upon conversation. I know what you’re thinking, “Simone, you can’t just be out here expecting things from people who have not verbalized their agreement to fulfill certain roles!” I know. It’s not my intention to placed these expectations on others but if we’re honest deep down on the inside, we expect people to love like we do. Yes, we do! We expect people to be as tolerant as us, to give as much as we do, to be concerned with what we care about, to see the world through our lens. The disappointment comes when we discover that someone is not loving us the way we expected them to, that they are not being as kind as we expected, that they are not as honest as we expected. Our disappointment comes from our own misplaced expectations.

I recently came to a place with someone that I love that left me deeply disappointed. I entered into this friendship with this person, shared my heart with them, even told them things that no one else knew about me. I became aware of a bit of dishonesty from them to me and I was deeply troubled: I WAS ANGRY!!! Man, you could not tell me I wasn’t justified in my response. The problem was, I was really angry with myself. Angry that I placed these expectations of honesty and truth upon someone and their failure of those expectations. If we’re honest, our anger is with ourselves. We’re disappointed that we placed faith and trust in someone that we thought could do no wrong, but they did. Problem is: we’re all human, liable to make mistakes. We are all liable to get it wrong and there is grace for mistakes.

So…if I could offer any advice. Please do not place expectations on people unless there has been a direct conversation stipulating behavior. We cannot expect perfection, but we should not tolerate crap either. Some things can be cleared up by mere communication. So have the conversation… do that person value honesty the way you do? How do they feel about the concept of respect? Do they value you? Why do they want to be in your life? What is the role that they want to place in your life? Do you agree with this role? Express your feelings, desires, stances on relational definitions and let the chips fall where they lay.

Rid your life of misplaced expectations.

Xoxo,

Simone

FIC: https://cloud.visura.co/346518.xx_large.jpg

All Walled Up

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

I’m back and I have so much to say!  Have you ever wondered why we have walls? I mean, why do we have partitions between rooms, people, experiences?  I know we are taught that walls protect us, they are necessary for privacy and are critical for boundaries.  But, what if our walls are damaging us?  I mean the walls we keep on the inside that keep us from being honest with others. I remember once upon a time, my Pastor  (PT) preached this epic sermon about walls.  He discussed the dangers of living with walls, of being closed off from those given to you.  I left that service inspired to tear down my walls, but I noticed that some of the walls I’ve built were rooted in my own disappointments and unrealistic expectations. Immediately, God began to deal with my walls.

If I’m candid, the walls I’ve built to protect myself from others became this tool to destroy me.  Here are some of the walls, the Lord and I have been tearing down one by one:  (1) Walls of disappointment, (2) Walls of rejection, (3) Walls associated with childhood trauma, (4) Walls of depression/suicidal ideations, (5) Walls of anxiety and fear, (6) Walls of self-hatred and diminishment of self, (7) Walls of guilt from past mistakes and behavior, (8) Walls of doubt, and finally (9) Walls of expectations.  I shared my former walls so that you can have the courage to identify yours. I mean, your healing is your responsibility.  I’m a big believer in honesty/transparency because I desire to grow as a person.  This new found freedom drives me to open the same invitation to each of you.  We do not have to live all walled up.  The same God who created us can protect us and we can trust Him with our happiness.

Our walls keep us from receiving all that the Father has destined for us.  Think about it, how can we believe in our dream if our wall of false belief about self stands in the way?  I remember delaying on what God placed on the inside because His Word had to run into my wall of fear.  It became exhausting to believe in anything, especially God’s Word.  I wonder what our lives would look like if we had the courage to tear down our walls.  I mean we don’t have to do this by ourselves, our Father is able and willing to help.  That’s the beauty of living in this new way, we don’t have to do this alone!  I couldn’t receive until I tore down my wall, I couldn’t love well until I rid myself of my walls, I couldn’t help effectively until my walls were demolished.

Our walls hinder us from loving ourselves and therefore determine how we love others.  

Xoxo,

Simone

FIC: https://alifebeyondrubies.files.wordpress.com/2013/03//walls01.jpg

My Pastor’s EPIC sermon about walls (Pursue Series: “Come Outside”): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ilyuf3GCZlQ

I Am Too Proud To Beg

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

Happy Pre-Christmas Week!  I’m home for the holidays and I can feel the hustle and bustle of excitement in the air.  It’s been a while since we’ve talked, so I thought I would share something with each of you tonight.

As I began to gear up for dinner prep, I began to think about the holidays as a whole.  As many of you know, I ended a long-term relationship this past July.  Before this final break up, I was stuck in this on again- off again whirlwind of a relationship.  I spent seven years devoted to this rescue project, who did not acknowledge my own value to invest the same.  It was a living nightmare.  The sad part of this whole fiasco was every Christmas I would do the absolute most to convince him that I was “it.”  It was as if in my mind the magic of Christmas would cure our toxic relationship.  Slowly but surely, I awakened to myself, and now I am convinced that I deserve better.

Ladies and gents, this is the first Christmas in a long time that I am truly single.  I mean single-single.  I am single in my mind, heart, body, I belong to God and me alone.  Christmas is not my favorite holiday because of whose attached to me (contrary to Hallmark Channel’s popular belief), neither does this holiday bring me joy because of who is sitting at my dinner table.  Christmas is my favorite holiday because its the day God in goodness full of love gave the world a gift that was too good for it:  His Son.  He loved me enough to give me a piece of himself. And if the Creator gave himself so freely, why on earth should I have to beg someone to love me well?  I don’t.  Point, blank, periodt!

Friends, it took me seven years to learn that I deserved better.  Seven long, teary-eyed, exhausting years.  Now that I recognize my worth, I’m not begging anyone else to.  I know that I’m beautiful,  I know that I’m dope, I know that I’m wife material.  I understand that I am God’s gift to humanity, that I’ve been fashioned in gentleness and grace, that my class and elevated thinking is one to die for.  I know who I am.  And this awareness of me has shifted my whole approach to relationships.  Friends, know thyself!  Recognize the goodness that lies within you and refuse to beg anyone else to see what’s inside- especially someone with no vision, no goals, no ambition and a little to no future.

Be too proud of yourself to beg!

Xoxo,

Simone

Steadfast Love

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

I’m gearing up for the end of the semester.  I thought that I reached a place above adversity, one where I could not be touched by the cares and concerns of the world.

Friends, in all honesty, I became comfortable.  Adversity has this amazing way of keeping one in conscious awareness of their need for God.  It’s like when I’m in trouble, I am more aware of my need for Him. Sad, but true.  So, I became comfortable and I knew I needed Him but my desperation for His presence began to wane and I continued to live life for me.

I believe that God loves us so much that He shakes up our world to causes us to become aware again.  It’s like, He doesn’t want us to ever come to this place where we think we don’t need Him.  Can you imagine loving someone but treating them as if they weren’t necessary?  I believe we treat the Lord this way.  We love Him but we live life as if He’s not necessary.  Long story short, the floodgates opened and adversity hit like a neverending wave.  I mean… a neverending wave!  From school complications to my automobile to concerns with my mental health to the most recent trial the lost of both my sister’s (my roommate) and I’s jobs.  It was as if lost came just in time for the holidays and we’re in this familiar position of needing him, a position that forces our hand into trust.

I thought I trusted God.  I did.  I thought I understood His love for me, this notion that because He loves me He wouldn’t leave me without.  Yet, my heart became increasingly full of fear and anxiety wrapped me in a bear hug as to say “Welcome Home!” Even in the midst of my perceived weakness, He never changed.  He loved me with a steadfast love.  You know, as I get older I understand more and more that life is full of change.  One day we’re at the top, the next we’re at the bottom.  One day we have it all, one day we have nothing.  One day we believe with all our hearts and the next we are full of fear and doubt.  In all the highs and lows, His love is steadfast – it doesn’t change.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV

So, how do I respond to the only consistent thing in my life?  With gratitude.  I respond gratefully for such a love that I don’t deserve.  I respond with a heart to love others with such intention and consistency.  I know that I will make mistakes along the way but the least I could do is try.  Friends, I am loved well by a God that could choose any day not to love me.  Yet, He chooses me every single time. He chooses you and that is simply beautiful.  I pray that you all do not become afraid with the presence of adversity, that you are full of the love of God.  I pray that you all have a deep awareness of God’s goodness and rest in your eternal need for Him.  I pray that you are filled to the brim with love.

May you rest in His faithfulness, may you bask in His love. 

Xoxo,

Simone 

FIC: http://freedomcrossroads.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Adobe-Spark-27-777×437.jpg

 

Holiday Anxiety

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

Happy pre-holiday season, with Thanksgiving approaching in the next few days, some of you may be feeling the what I describe as “holiday anxiety.”  It’s this dreading feeling that comes when you know you have to be surrounded by family and answer a bunch of aggravating questions.  As a newly single walking embodiment of awesomeness, I hate all of the aggravating questions that come with being seated at the family dinner table.  I don’t know about you all, but I feel like we live in a world where we are always asked to supply answers to questions that we simply don’t have the answer to.  For example, “How long will you be single?”; “When are you going to have some kids?”; “Girl, why you ain’t got a boyfriend?; “Girl, when are you getting married?”  In my heart I want to scream, “I DON’T KNOW, DO I LOOK LIKE GOD?”  but on the outside, I smile gracefully and say, “I don’t know.  I’ll let you know when I find out.”  I’m not going to let them know… I’m going to make all my announcements after the fact on social media.  My family will find out about my life choices when the world finds out. Trifling?  Yeah, I know.

Ladies and Gents, If you’re like me, I feel your pain and I understand your holiday anxiety.  But more so, I sense the temptation to return to my past due to my own loneliness.  It’s like Lord, you separated me from what I was in before but because of my own desires to be held and to be in a relationship, I feel tempted to return back to that which you’ve set me free from.  I believe that many of you are facing the same temptation, the temptation to return back to your past. This overwhelming temptation to settle for what you’ve been freed from out of convenience and loneliness.  This, I believe is the reason many of us have found ourselves at a crossroads:  Do we return to what the Lord asked us to leave?  Or, do we wait for what He promised?  I had a choice, return back to my ex so I can finally have an “answer” pleasing to men or to wait for what the Lord promised which is better!

Anyways, I can’t tell you all how to live your life.  All I’ll say is do not forfeit your future for the temporary conveniences of today.  So, here I go approaching this awkward time with boldness and depth reminding myself of the truth: I’m happy, I’m content,  and I’m waiting and that my dears will have to be enough.

Xoxo,

Simone 

FIC: http://www.b2beck.com/images/holiday_anxiety.jpg

Confessions of a Law Student…

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

I usually refrain from speaking about this part of my life, well… in part because it is not full of rainbows and sunshine.  Sometimes, well… the majority of the time, it’s filled with the complete opposite.  I think I’ve cried more in the last three years than I have my entire life.  Like, many of you may read this and be like,” Wow sis, you’re super dramatic!”  But if some of you lived a day in my colleagues’ lives, you would lose it.  I mean you would probably think you’re borderline insane.  Studies show that law students/lawyers experience 30% more depression than the average citizen, 45% more anxiety,  and 40% more issues with substance abuse.  But, what we do isn’t all bad:  we argue for clients to gain a just result!  However, sometimes we make arguments and we lose, our clients don’t get what’s just and is robbed by a flawed system.  If I could gather my colleagues together, I believe we would settle on the following confessions.  So please fancy us and enjoy twenty confessions from a law student/lawyer:

  1. I never have time, I make time.  So please don’t waste the time I give you.
  2. If I knew what the case was trying to say, I wouldn’t be struggling to answer this question right now Professor.
  3. If you ask me what I am doing, odds are I’m working.  Like legitly, I work a lot.
  4. Everyone cannot be a lawyer.  If that was true then my three years of suffering, hundreds of debt in student loans, ten weeks of bar prep, $10, 000 of bar prep funds and my sanity means nothing to society.  Never say that it’s easy to be a lawyer and that everyone can be a lawyer.  Those words are disrespectful…
  5. My life is planned, my days are scheduled.  You being mad because I cannot attend your last minute function, doesn’t diminish my to-do list.
  6. Sometimes, I want to escape my life.  Like how dope would it be to go to another country, change my identity and like never come back.
  7. My phone will ring at the most inopportune times.  At dinner, while I’m in the shower when I’m watching a movie.  My phone will ring and it will be about something that really isn’t as important as it seems.
  8. Law & Order, HTGAWM, and The Bar is not real life.  Please stop trying to convince me that you know the law from your knowledge of legal dramas.
  9. Only 33% of the population has the knowledge I have,  this means Law School must be hella hard.
  10. I work for a client.  That person is my priority and sometimes they run all the way out!
  11. No, I cannot give you legal advice for free.
  12. If I have to do my job, my legal secretary’s job and act as my own paralegal, I should receive the pay for all three of those salaries.
  13. I want to work out but I’m so tired.
  14. I’m taught to conceal my weaknesses, to only show my strengths but this hinders me from being vulnerable in my relationships.  Why do you think a majority of us are still single?
  15. I keep people’s secrets for a living, yet it’s rare that someone keeps mine.
  16. A glass of wine every once in a while was great.  But, now Thursday Happy Hours is the only way I’m getting by.
  17. I see sad things all the time.  I think I’ve lost my sense of connection to the world.  A murder is no longer a senseless shameful act but an aggravated crime dependent on mens rea.  If there is no intent to kill or to cause gross bodily harm or injury, or even just a reckless disregard for behavior resulting in the loss of life or harm, that’s not murder- that’s a lesser offense.
  18.  I wouldn’t wish the type of stress I feel on anyone, not even my worst enemy.
  19. It’s easy to say everything is going to be okay, especially when you don’t have one test determining your semester grade.
  20. Every day I wake up and wonder if I am making the biggest mistake of my life. Every. single. day.

Bonus:  You don’t understand and frankly, I hope you never do.

 

Xoxo,

Simone 

FIC:http://i2.wp.com/real-law.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/studying.jpg?resize=290%2C174

I Refuse To Remember

I can’t remember the last time I wrote you.
In prose, poetry, sentences, words, breaths…
I don’t remember becoming this brave,
yet here I am.
Again, I realize that I made the right choice-
life changed the moment I chose me.
I think I’ve found my future’s key.

I can’t remember the last time I spoke to you.
In sound, actions, deeds, man I can finally breathe…
I don’t remember returning to a mind that’s sane,
yet here I am.
Yet again, I realize that I made the best decision-
time stood still the second I walked away.
Man, my heart is no longer a game that can be played.

I can’t remember the last time I…
…thought of you.
…whispered your name.
…wished you were with me.
…wanted life to be the same.
…sung your favorite song.
…stalked your Facebook page.
…ate your favorite meal.
…allowed memories of you to fill me with rage.
…prayed that you would be faithful.
…hung my head low at your mistakes.
…desired to be in your arms.
…got caught up in our on -again off -again breaks.
…chose regret.
…downplayed my life’s purpose.
…diminished my beauty and brilliance.
…allowed you to distract and steal my focus.

I can’t remember.
I won’t remember.
I refuse to remember… what life looked like with you in it.

©Simone Holloway, 2018

FIC: https://i.pinimg.com/236x/28/99/04/289904751d13d5c9edbf95cf82da724b–fantasy-photography-shadow-photography.jpg

 

 

Safe Spaces

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers

Today is Monday.  Yep, I survived another week and as I begin a new one: gratitude, relief, and a sheer “OMG I can’t believe we’re still in it to win it” fills my heart.   However, today I wanted to share something on my heart with each of you.  DISCLAIMER: Today’s post will be super real, transparent and utterly vulnerable. But, that’s the way I desire to be with each of you, for we can only help each other when we remove the masks. So, beloveds (in my Iyanla Vanzant Voice) take a deep breath, let’s go!

I believe that one of the best feelings in the world is the feeling of safety.  l mean safety is better than PSLs from Starbucks, better than holiday meals, even better than a vacay with no cell service so my clients can’t contact me.  Like most individuals in the world, I value safety: physical, emotional and spiritual safety. If you’re in an environment where you don’t believe you are safe to be yourself, it can be emotionally crippling. Ladies and gents, this is why I carry my life as a safe space- a place where people can come, confide and hide in love and compassion. This is where it gets real though…I’ve been a safe space for many but it is extremely rare that there has been someone in my life that has been a safe space for me.  Over the past few weeks, I’ve been searching for my safe space.  Quickly disappointed, I’d shut down and became emotionally unavailable to those around me.

Let’s be real, those who are super loving are usually the ones that have experienced the most pain.  Those who are super accepting of others are typically the ones who’ve been rejected by many.  Those who are the “strong” one in their relationships are typically built that way because of traumatic events surrounding their weaknesses.  I have been all of these things…rejected, in pain and have experienced trauma.

Overall, my soul sought safety.

You know what?  I came to the conclusion that if I never have a tangible safe space, a person by which I share my fears, concerns, desires, triumphs, and hardships- I’ve found safety in the Father. For reals, though He is not tangible, He is all around and He is a safe space. The best things about Him: He’s consistent, He doesn’t change, He’s reliable and He’s always available!

This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God and I trust Him.

Psalms 91:2

I bet when David wrote those words, he was seeking a safe space.  He was on the run, his father-in-law was insane trying to kill him, his wife didn’t help him, he had no communication with his best friend, and he was utterly alone.  I know what it’s like to feel alone like no one truly understands the contents of your heart.  David knew this loneliness all too well, but even in the midst of his pain, he recognized what he had: the Father.  The Father was his safe space, and He is mine.

May you find refuge in the love of God!  May the Father give you a safe space/a community that will love you well!

Xoxo,

Simone

Fearless.

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers- 

I think God is taking me on this incredibly, crazy, uncomfortable yet fulfilling journey.  He is breaking the back of fear out of my life.  My biggest desire has been to live a life that was fearless.  One absent of apprehension, fear, and doubt- to be free to take risks, to embrace chances and to run into the unknown.

Y’all, I did something so brave.  I cut my hair.  I was transitioning to a more natural hair lifestyle for about a year or so now and one day, in a fit of courage and a desire to have something new, I cut all of the perm out of my hair.  Beautiful curls framed my face as I watched all of what I placed my identity into powerless in my hands. To think I thought my beauty was in the way my hair looked.   The overall problem wasn’t this notion of beauty but the fear attached because of people opinion.  The moment I realized that I was hella dope, the fear began to unravel… slowly but surely courage filled my heart and before you knew it there was nothing I could not do.

There is no room in love for fear.  Well-formed love banishes fear.  Since fear is crippling, a fearful life – fear of death, fear of judgement- is one not yet fully formed in love.

1 John 4: 17-18 MSG

I gave a presentation in class yesterday. anxiety filled my heart but the presentation had to be done.  I had a choice:  I was either going to step to the occasion or I was going to shrink back in fear.  I chose to take a deep breath, say a little prayer and I went for it:  all things positive came from my act of bravery.  But, the Father wasn’t done challenging my fears.  Last night, we had vocal assessments at my church.  For a period of time, I stopped singing.  I allowed the negative words of someone I admired, trusted and looked to literally mute me.  It was like I missed the mark and therefore was disqualified from revealing that portion of myself.  So… as I sat and waited for my name to be called, again anxiety filled my heart.  I sat and laid on the ground trying to calm my fearful heart.  I began to sing something, anything to drive the fear away.  The words of United Pursuit filled my heart and  I knew that God was with me at that moment,  that He was filling me with His love because in His love there is no need to be afraid.   I sat, I waited, I entered the room, I closed my eyes and I began to sing: aloud, in public, unashamed for the first time.  It was like my voice was waiting to be free, finally free from the oppression of fear  I felt the fear but I did it anyway…

In your strength, I can crush an army; with my God, I can scale any wall.

Psalm 18:29 NLT

What if the Father is inviting all of us into a life of being fearless?  A life truly fulfilled, carefree and full of the joy that comes with being loved well.  It’s always easier to hide, but to hide what’s within out of fear leaves us living limited lives.  So today, I invite all of you to abandon fear, to take the chance and to see the wonder on the other side.  I’m convinced that bravery and brillance coincide within each other.  Every time I’m brave, I experience such brilliance and beauty within the world, I simply forget that I was ever afraid.  Man, what a beautiful feeling!

Xoxo,

Simone 

FIC: http://schragephotography.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/fearless.jpg

“Home” by United Pursuit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNvDCeRrk1o

One Lyric At a Time…

Hello old friends, new followers, and fellow bloggers-

I love to write.  I love to write poems, short stories, and songs… I love to write songs.  I’ve been writing songs since I was a little girl, lyrics would pour out of me like oil.  I have journals filled with songs, napkins with songs lyrics, old tattered legal pad pages of songs.  For a season in my life, the only consistent thing was the lyrics coming to my head, but then one day the words stopped coming.  It was like my creative faucet was jammed and the before you knew it, I gave up writing- I stopped hearing the melodies. Isn’t it crazy to solidify one’s identity on a single season?  That is exactly what I did, because of what I deemed an insufficiency, I no longer identified myself as a songwriter…

We don’t stop being who we are because of what we momentary lack.

God never said “Simone, you are no longer a writer.  Let that go!”  In fact, He encouraged me to write more.  He desired that I wrote beyond my pain, beyond my disbelief in self, beyond my shame and insecurities.  He called me Simone, his daughter, his writer, his creator and his advocate.

I was in my bedroom last night, singing my heart out to the Father when lyrics of hope began to leap off of my lips.  “You silence my fears, You still my heart, you calm the depths of my mind.”  Words of healing filled my room and for once I wasn’t trying to write a song, I was just acting as myself: a songwriter.

When you are who you are, you don’t have to try so hard.

Who are you?  What pieces of your identity have you given up out of frustration?  When God calls you by name:  your name doesn’t change based upon circumstance.  Though you are in the middle of trials, your name and the essence of you remain the same.  When God called Joseph ruler, he was a ruler though he was falsely imprisoned.  When God called Moses deliverer, he was a deliverer though he shied away because of insecurity.  When God called Abraham friend, he was still His friend even after he lied about his wife being his sister.  The names of our heroes remained the same, though life circumstances around them were filled with change.  Lastly, let’s look at David: God’s songwriter and king but for a season of life he was on the run as a fugitive trying to survive.

Circumstances will change, but your name will remain the same.

You are a son or a daughter of God.  That is the bedrock of your identity.  Everything else is an additive to something amazing: you.  So, creator, create.  Writer, write.  Teacher, teach.  Lover, love well.  Be who you are and never disown pieces of self because of hardship!

Xoxo,

Simone 

FIC: https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSzORsuCKEzmsMXFqmJZxSH7w9JRK1KJLWe9xoX1YsG-NY39Rrq5A