A Pound of Prevention…..

Some people in my life have called me an”old soul”, some have said I “overthink”…..I had to look up the word, “overthink” to confirm if it  is a real word, well it is lol, and I’m okay with that title, but at one point I took it very personal if I was told that…..I have accepted that I have a tendency to overthink, except now, I’ve reserved it for situations that it’s needed. I found a new love and appreciation for my “overthinking” because it’s helped me navigate through challenging situations and come out okay in the end.

I feel that many “sticky” situations in life could be prevented by simply thinking twice BEFORE you do what your first instinct is. But it wasn’t always that way. I had  to train myself to balance my logic&emotions, even in times where my emotions wanted to take over…..There’s been several occasions where a bad situation didn’t turn to worse because I didn’t allow it to…..

My overthinking has helped to prevent altercations/fights from breaking out or continuing…..I didn’t get the last word when I felt I deserved to have it. I stood strong as a drunken verbal attack from a loved one almost provoked me to say words that I knew I could never take back once they left my lips…..I want you to know that in the angry moment, I felt overthinking was making me feel like a fool, because I actually wanted to go off of my first instinct, which was to defend myself without regarding the consequence. I am not perfect. The satisfaction I feel when I look back at how  a situation could’ve panned out had I not thought it through, even for a five seconds, the consequences would’ve been worse to live with. Cutting my loses and using my brain, being the one to back down, are all encompassed in my “Pound of Prevention.” I give credit to the quote that inspired my blog title. Respect to Benjamin Franklin.

I always loved that saying…..I used to wonder how that saying could be missed by many. It makes so much sense to me…..

Love&Respect,

~Dawn Lovely

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The Value of Friendship, Continued…..

I was in the midst of writing another blog, but something came up that I felt was necessary to share with you. If you keep up with my blogs, then you probably read the blog where I spoke on very disturbing news from an old friend, who I’ve known for over fifteen years. I received an unexpected phone call from him , I thought I’d never hear from him again. The last time we spoke, I made it clear that I did not want to talk to this person again, due to the unhealthy pattern that was developing, me becoming angry and frustrated.

Well, in the time since that blog was posted, there hasn’t been any progress or change in the situation. I tried to be as supportive as I could and be an ear when he needed one, I also tried to encourage him to talk to his doctor, since  he told  me that the doctor asked him if he actually talks to anybody about his feelings…..The doctor informed him that stress and anger will have a toxic effect on his already worsening condition, so talking to somebody, getting his issues off of his chest is imperative to his health. He chose to share this information with me…..I didn’t ask him. He told  me that the medication he was taking was giving him side effects that he couldn’t handle. He said he didn’t want to be stuck “taking pills” forever…..I listened and understood where he was coming from, however, I didn’t know why he was telling me so many details about this…..I cared, but he wasn’t taking care of his health regardless of the medication. He was continuing to drink alcohol on a daily basis, which was the original reason why I stayed away from him, it put a strain on our friendship for years. I couldn’t stand by and watch him slowly poison himself, so I asked him to please stop calling me because I had run out of things to say about this situation, I had run out of patience , pretending as though I wasn’t fed up, tired and slightly disgusted.

I came to the conclusion that my words were not as important to him as they were to me. I meant every word I said and every offer I gave to support was sincere. The years I gave my attention, my concern, and my dedication to his issue had left me nearly speechless.

I would hope my friends would be be there for me if I was going through a severe health issue but I thought that a “real” friend was supposed to try to help prevent you from going down a dangerous path. A path that may lead you to an early death…..The previous hospital scare got to me, I thought about how I would’ve handled the news, had he not came out okay and passed away that night…..I was still dealing with the dysfunctional aftermath of my mother’s passing…..If I am a “real” friend, then shouldn’t loyalty be the be TOP priority??? That’s what I feel, that’s how I’ve always operated. Loyalty  is what makes a friend an actual friend. Without that component, your friend may as well be called an “acquaintance” who you happen to spend time with. I’m learning and coming to the sad reality that the value of friendship, the definition to me is different than how most define it. I feel it’s sacred to be able to maintain a friendship for years and years, and be able to help each other PROGRESS in life. I do not feel it is okay to be a quiet spectator in watching a person slowly destroy them self. How can I be loyal to you, if I  help  to enable you to hurt yourself. I can’t just sit on the phone and chat away to help you pass the time away as you push yourself into passing away…..That rhymed by accident, lol, but I meant every word of it, and that sums up what I told him. There’s more I’d like to say  on this topic, but I will save it for another blog.

Love&Respect,

~Dawn Lovely

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On a Constant Quest for Closure…..

I remember seeing my father leave, and thinking he was coming back, expecting him to come back, since he always did. The time that he was gone seemed to go by fast, and when he returned, it was almost like he never left, until one day I realized that I hadn’t seen him for a long time…..It was longer than usual……But I didn’t ask my mother where he was…I never questioned where my dad was, why he was gone, or when he was coming back. I went about life as though he wasn’t even gone. I distinctly remembered the last words “I will get it for you…..” I had been asking for a my little pony for weeks, I wasn’t the type of child who constantly asked for toys, so he reassured me that he didn’t forget. I felt happy and excited in anticipation of my toy, then I fell asleep……

The next time I saw him was at a jail visit with my family. He looked funny behind the glass, as I saw him walk out in a strange blue two piece cotton suit with strange flat shoes….His hair looked……different. I had never seen my father look that way before…He looked like my father, but something was missing…I was confused. It was my turn to speak to him on that telephone cord thing, that I found to be an interesting, contraption…..I didn’t understand why I had to speak to him on it, and behind glass…..I noticed the officer man on the wall standing behind him. He was watching my father as he spoke to me. I found the whole experience awkward and unnatural, yet I was glad I was able to see him…..

As we were leaving the facility many thoughts were running through my mind….1. Why did I have to be “dressed up” to go in that place? 2. Why was the visit so short? 3. Why did we have to talk to him behind glass? 4. Why is this place so far away from the city? 5.  Why are there so many rocks on this road with no sidewalk??…..

My first visit to a prison was unforgettable. I was aware of what it was but there were so many whys that I was curious about, that needed to be answered…..My father was not a bad person, he never hurt me, so why was he there??? Why did he have to talk to me behind glass on a phone???…..

I wanted answers, but I didn’t feel the desire to ask my mother for some reason…..I felt as though this should have been explained to me, but my gut told me that there was a reason why my mother didn’t speak on it. I kept these questions to myself, I didn’t speak on them  with my siblings…..I just pondered…..

The events that lead up to that day weren’t erased from my mind, I knew bad things continued to happen, I was witness to them. I understood my dad had been in trouble with the law but I was a child, and my innocence was beginning to wear thin…..I wanted straight answers, but didn’t feel I had the right to ask about this new situation. It was  one of the experiences I’ve had that contributed to my deep rooted issue with closure.….There’s more to come…..Stay tuned.

Love&Respect,

~Dawn Lovely

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What’s in an Apology? Part 1…..

I was pleasantly surprised at an apology that I received the other day from my friend. Something was said to me weeks ago that offended me and slightly hurt my feelings. The apology came at the right time,  and it reinforced our friendship. I was not expecting that apology at that point in time, and it reminded me of why we are friends. We’ve had our fair share of arguments and disagreements over the years yet have always managed to maintain our friendship and talk openly about our difference of opinion. The debates we have often end up in heated arguments. It could be our because our zodiac signs clash, or we’re both stubborn and head strong. I have apologized in the past for any words/actions that I have done, as soon as I realize what I have said or done has been insulting. I do not allow my ego to get in the way of apologizing even when I know I was not all the way wrong…..

I have always found an apology to be a strange concept because, just because you apologize, doesn’t mean your sorry, and just because you don’t apologize doesn’t mean you’re NOT sorry. People apologize for the smallest things because  it’s just “polite” to do so. Being from Canada, I hear apologies on a daily basis from complete strangers. A person will apologize for simply brushing you lightly when walking by, or stepping in your way by accident, or not seeing you coming and closing the door on you instead of doing the normal 1o second hold…I love that about Canada…by the way…..

One of my favourite songs of all time is “I Apologize” by Anita Baker. The melodic sound and the lyrics touched me in my pre-teens. It sent an example by saying, “I knew I was wrong……” I KNEW I was WRONG. Admitting you are wrong is the most important part of an apology, simply acknowledging it and allowing those words to flow out of your mouth, can repair or revive a broken or damaged relationship. It can also strengthen a relationship as well. I remember taking in an apology from my ex-boyfriend from high school. We were all grown up when he apologized for something he did in his teens. I gave him the opportunity to apologize by meeting up with him at his request. After we talked, and he made his apology, I saw how much it meant to him to have me accept his apology. I grew a little inside that day, it helped me mature into real Adulthood.

I have lowered my expectations as I’ve grown older as to how and when I’ll accept an apology. The gesture itself holds more merit these days since “bad manners”  seem to be in style. An apology that is insincere from a person who has difficulty apologizing  means more than the actual words coming out of their mouth. I give them an A for effort :), however I will not put myself around anyone who refuses to acknowledge that an apology is necessary to open up the doors of healthy communication…..

I will get more into apologies in Part 2 of this blog. Take care Until then 🙂

Love&Respect,

~Dawn Lovely

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Adult Growing Pains…..

I remember growing pains as a child…..My legs feeling sore, aching, uncomfortable…..It was an  awkward type of pain that was new. I’d go to Mom and tell her that my legs are hurting again…she’d say, “Oh don’t worry, hush, you’re just having “growing pains”…..”

Growing pains felt like they’d never end. I used to lay in bed and try to fall asleep just to not have to deal with them. The only comfort I could give myself was knowing that I’m actually GROWING, so I’d be a little taller…..eventually. I’d feel better by the next day, I wondered if I  actually did grow, and sometimes even checked to see if there were results. Of course, I couldn’t see the results but I was relieved that the pain was over, and hoped it would be a long time before I had to feel them again.

Adults don’t have to deal with growing pains, not physical ones at least. But growing spiritually, facing yourself, truly acknowledging what needs to change in your life, can be as uncomfortable and awkward as growing pains. The pain can hit you out of the blue, and it may come up waaaay after an experience that you thought you was over…..

I had to make a difficult decision that was heart wrenching the other day. I didn’t attend a “family meeting” that the whole family was expected to attend. I’ve attended family meetings in the past, but this case was different…..I was concerned I would look as though I didn’t care, when I actually care a lot…I’ve cared too much actually. I knew  not attending would be the best, healthiest choice at this point yet I still wrestled with my heart, gut, logic to come to a decision that I’d be at peace with. I felt guilty that I felt this way…..

I am very loyal to my family and extended family. I’ve made myself available to them whenever for whatever they need but I could not bring myself to fall victim once again to the same pattern that’s been  repeating like a horrible deja vu. This has been going on for years since the untimely deaths of my uncle and mother, there’s been a disconnect that the family has suffered for almost a decade. I’ve watched as it’s slowly eroded the basic ability to interact and communicate within the family. One of my biggest fears was this becoming the norm so when I realized that I was starting to close myself off, and “hide in my shell” I began to practice doing the opposite. This helped me a lot after mom passed away. As the years went by it was easier for me to make a simple phone call to a relative that I rarely see. I became even more sensitive to the needs of others, and what would help them feel better, but I became sort of numb to how I truly felt about what was going on. My grieving/mourning was  interrupted and I didn’t even realize the damage it was doing to me….Until a year or two later…..

So, I decided the other day to not attend a family meeting because I felt as though there is not enough effort being put out by others to promote proper basic communication, and until I see a change, I will stay to myself. If anybody needs me, I have the same phone number, and they are welcome to give me a call, any time…..

I’ve grown as person because of this, however it’s very painful to go through and there is nothing I can do to prevent this pain…..

The pain  comes along with the territory of growing, maturing into Adulthood and it will return……I’m okay with that.

Love&Respect,

~Dawn Lovely

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Sounding Off on Advice…..

Imagine if good advice came at a cost…..Have you ever received the best advice of your life and it paid off in ways that you couldn’t imagine? If a person provides you with advice that pays off, then shouldn’t that person deserve to be paid too? I’m kidding, but the other day I was thinking about the value of good, sound advice…..

I’ve taken advice from people from all walks of life, and the ones who were the least like me, happened to give the best lessons. I’m sure you have “that” friend who makes the worst decisions, but gives the best advice. I’ve asked, “Why did you do that though? You know better…..” their response, “I don’t want to see YOU go through it….” reminding  me of a protective parent, I’d be a fool not to listen.

I consider the offering of sound advice a selfless gesture because the giver doesn’t know how you’ll take it, you may become defensive or feel offended, it’s a risk. I myself, have been on the receiving end of a friend/relative who took my advice as a “slap in the face” instead of a lesson to learn. I assume they were thinking, “What does she know, she has it easy……” but the truth is, I don’t have it any easier than they do. I’ve found acquaintances and strangers have been more receptive to my advice than a person who knows me. We trust people who don’t know us not to lead us astray, because we don’t know them enough to judge them as harsh for saying what we don’t want to hear.

The other night I was having a conversation with someone who comes from a completely different background than mine. I respect and admire this person, so when they addressed a bad habit that I have and began to mirror it back to me, I felt a tad embarrassed. My ego took a hit but I listened with discernment, as advice ensued…..

The next morning I woke up feeling brand new, not only did I get to the root of the problem behind the flaw, but I forgave myself for having it. (I’m still working on not being hard on myself…..) I decided to let that person know that their advice helped me, and how it helped me. They humbly accepted my thanks, as I did their advice.

In my opinion, the mark of a mature adult is the ability to accept and apply sound advice to your life. You’ll know the “sound” of sound advice when you hear it :).

Love&Respect,

~Dawn Lovely

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Role Models & Responsibility…..

When I was younger, I used to rummage through my oldest sister’s belongings when she was out. My intentions were not bad, I was just curious about what she was up to, and what was considered important in her world. I used to religiously take her notebooks and textbooks, flip to the back pages, write, doodle, and make my mark. I don’t know why I did it, I meant no harm. I guess it was my way of trying to be a part of her world. I would look at the latest posters she put up on her wall, the books and magazines that she was reading, her “Things I want to get” list, and I would borrow her Hip Hop cassette tapes……She was extremely annoyed when she came home to a room that had been tampered with, and she would let it be known by scolding me. It didn’t phase me because I admired and looked up to my big sister…..

As I grew older I began to notice my sister’s flaws and behaviour that I did not agree with. I expected “better” out of her, and I found myself often disappointed. Whenever we got into an argument, I would question her as to why she acted the way she did. Why she said and did mean and hurtful things to me when she was angry. I remember asking her, “Why don’t you EVER apologize?!!,” and she would never respond. Not a word. This bothered and upset me deeply for years. I was frustrated at the fact that she never took accountability for her actions. This was not her fault though, I put her on a pedestal, she couldn’t possibly live up to my expectations. Her character was her character, and her flaws were a part of her character.

When I hit my “adult” years I began to learn that my sister’s behaviour and what I saw as “lash outs,” had a lot to do with the pressure that she felt being the oldest of the family. She felt she had to protect us and defend us from any and anything that could or would possibly harm us. Her anger and frustration made sense to me now. She didn’t express this by simply speaking to me or any of us, so her emotions would end up coming out in bursts of anger and rage. Although I found it very confusing and it caught me off guard, I always respected and appreciated my sister for what she taught me and all that she did for me…..

I chose my sister as a role model, but she did not choose to be looked at as a “role model.” Being a role model is a job that people don’t ask for, but regardless of whether you want to be or not, there is somebody who views you as a role model. The question is, if you know that a person younger than you in age views you as a role model, is it your responsibility to fulfil that role for them?

If you’ve made it into adult age, then you must have had some type of role model at some point in your life. Whether it was a parent, a teacher, a  coach, even a celebrity. Reflect on all of the good that role model brought into you life, all of the useful information and lessons that person provided you with…..Would you be who you are today without their influence in your life?

It’s not a role model’s responsibility to live up to our standards, they didn’t choose to be our role model. The role that they play in our life and what we take from it, is our responsibility.

Love&Respect,

~Dawn Lovely

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