Happy Monday, Prosers!! Cheers to another wonderful, productive and exciting week. I cannot believe we are almost into the month of April; where does the time go?
First and foremost, I would like to take care of a few Mara Prose announcements before we dive into this week’s blog topic.
This week I want to discuss the value that can be found in embracing your flaws and all that is you. In an effort to add more depth to this discussion, I want to encourage you to embrace your sinful nature; correction, please embrace it and correct it. It is my opinion that the majority of judgmental, intolerant and self righteous individuals fail to embrace and acknowledge their imperfections. As with any other topic, there are levels to this mastery, so let’s explore them.
Let us not waste time continuing to spout the same common catch phrases about loving yourself, taking care of yourself and not judging others. What I actually want to explore is the act of allowing forgiveness, understanding and compassion towards others to redirect your life. We all are guilty of making a mess of our lives at one point or another. Yet, we continue to allow the small snippets of time captured on social media to influence our existence and guide our next steps. Even when people post ‘no filter’ to accompany their social media posts, they are still only allowing a glimpse of what they want you to see – which is still filtering the situation. We hide behind filters because people love to shame others, and we do not want to feel exposed. It is so much easier to look at other people’s lives and soothe our own insecurities by exposing the flaws of others in order to keep the spotlight off of us. It makes us feel better to know others really do not have it as good as they portray and that we are not alone in our ineptitude. Compassion is often lacking in many, and we like to pride ourselves on being able to relate to society’s misrepresentation of what life is supposed to look like.
THE MASKS WE WEAR (A Mara Prose Poem)
You smile, you grin and no one sees your sins
You laugh, you play with no one there at the end of the day
The masks we wear are uniquely prepared
To keep the world guessing and hide our despair
Black, white and all alike experience life’s crushing blows
Young and old, we are all the same because we all fear the untold
At the end of the day, no one can say that we are not all meant to live bold
I spent many wasted years in my youth, working hard to project the image of having it all together. My deep set insecurities would not allow me to conduct myself any other way, and this often led to the exhausting habit of constantly allowing other people’s perception of me to become my truth. The problem with this method is that everyone only understands you from the level of perception they are capable and the version of “You’ they are allowed to see. This disparity led to depression, anxiety and a whole slew of other problems that made life unnecessarily challenging for me. I was also often guilty of judging others harshly and dissecting their lives based on my own assumptions and my own misery. It was not until I caught wind of friends and family members doing the same with my life, and noting how their assumptions were so far off base, that I realized a change was in order. But if I am truly honest with myself, the false assumptions were my own fault because I was projecting a false image of myself.
Therefore, when I say embracing your flaws so you can embrace others, I am not speaking of embracing superficial imperfections such as cellulite ridden thighs – I am talking about authentically admitting that you have made mistakes and you will continue to make mistakes. It is a simple fact of life. And you know what, it is OK! Until you learn to deal with your mistakes, disappointments in a balanced, accepting manner, you will always carry a heavy burden.
Life will take you through some things and they will not always be pleasant; how you embrace them will determine how you evolve. I for one, have been through quite a lot. Immaturity and selfishness wreaked havoc on my existence for many years. It has taken me quite some time to come to terms with and embrace the fact that the lack of a comfort zone is actually in my best interest. It is the only time I am focused, motivated, determined and operating at my most optimal. In my self imposed comfort zone, I become lazy, easily distracted and stray from the path of my purpose. It has taken a lot of harsh lessons to finally embrace this truth.
Harsh Lessons (A Mara Prose Poem)
It took something extreme
to bring me to my knees
It took a great fall
and losing it all
for me to stall
and simply crawl
My ego took blows
and I completely froze
Everything I had taken for granted
left me stranded
due to being reprimanded
by Life, by God, my own Foolish Pride
I looked back at this time last year
and accessed all my fears
and took note of all my tears
and somehow I persevered
They say God will humble you
and boy, did He ever
I don’t know why I thought I was so clever
I don’t know why but I know I will never
Let myself return to those silly ways
I have set the bar higher and must continue to blaze
The lessons were harsh
but they made me smart
and gave me a new start
They helped me set myself apart
and I was forced to depart
From people who meant me no good
From those who always misunderstood
From the things that were in excess
From the things that just caused distress
So I could simply evolve and be blessed
There were times I didn’t think I’d make it through
There were times that I was oh so blue
Oh, if you only knew
But I found my inner strength
For my children’s sake
And now I can be an example
since I’ve handled, dismantled and unscrambled
and took lots of gambles
But for now, let me stop this ramble since I am no longer in shambles
I’m proud but in a new way
I’m proud because despite the dismay
I overcame, I slayed and made up for those days
All because of harsh lessons…
Unfortunately for most, the perception of stepping out of your comfort zone is viewed as a negative. It is uncomfortable, messy and it has even been associated with shame at times. I am here to tell you once again, change your thoughts, change your life ~ Joyce Meyer. We have to stop allowing the world to control our perception, and even more so, stop allowing the misrepresentations of society to dictate our lives.
Here are a few steps you can take towards embracing your flaws so you can embrace others.
DO NOT BELIEVE THE LIES OF THE WORLD – social media, movies, TV shows and even commercials are fictional accounts of an exaggerated reality. There is no such thing as a reality show and these are not reliable sources to obtain your reality check. We all need to stop looking outwards, and start looking inwards!
EMBRACE ALL OF YOU – yes, there will always be less desirable aspects of people in general. It is not only important to embrace, shape and mold who you are at your core, but you must be compassionate towards others and their parallel life journeys. We all are uniquely created for a reason. We will not learn the same lessons at the same time, nor will we experience the same growth at the same pace. Stop expecting perfection and the mirror image of yourself in others, and start learning to not only embrace all that is you but all that is in others as well.
BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR SURROUNDINGS – the wrong group of friends and the wrong environments combined with unrealistic expectations are a recipe for disaster. I naturally gravitate towards those that bring me peace. I want to be surrounded by people who accept that I am not perfect, do not expect perfection from me and understand who I am at my best and at my worst. You need a group of individuals who understand that the trials you go through are not only life lessons for you, but for them as well. If they are not willing to grow with you or help you grow, do you really need them in your life?
CONVERT YOUR SHAME TO REPENTANCE – Let Go of Shame and Guilt! Stop shaming and guilt tripping others as well. Learn to repent and set an example for others on repentance. Always remember that everyone has the ability to perpetually evolve, make a comeback from a setback and stop putting a number on the amount of chances we allow to each other. If God put a number on the amount chances He allowed for us, He would have given up on us a long time ago.
Next week, I want to discuss and celebrate all those that gave me a number of chances to redeem myself. The blog post will be specifically for those who never gave up on me and for all those who continued to love, support and be there for me when I was at my absolute worst behavior.
Until next time, embrace you, embrace them and embrace ALL!
Author Mara Prose
Here’s to another wonderful and happy Monday! I would like to take a moment to give a huge shoutout of thanks to all my Prosers, new followers and everyone who helped me to receive my first 1,000 views in a 24 hour period! I am truly amazed, humbled and full of gratitude that last week’s post, “How to Repair Irrevocable Relationships,” resonated so well with everyone. Please be sure to continue to like, share and post your comments to keep the dialogue flowing.
In honor of International Women’s Day, I would like to discuss one particular aspect of feminism and the reasons I feel it deserves to be redefined. More specifically, I believe as with everything else, there is a need for continuity and specificity – today’s feminist movement includes too many extremes and these extremes hurt our cause as a whole.
Feminism at a very basic level, is the idea that men and women are entitled to equal rights and equal opportunities. However, one troubling perception of the feminist movement is that it fails to align with the overall principles of equality. The problem arises when too many varying beliefs and values exist in regards to feminism that ultimately hinder solidarity. Equality is too often misconstrued as sameness; when equality is actually the freedom of choice. At it’s most radical, feminism is defined as being entirely independent of a man and working to eradicate the male dominance by replacing it with a female dominance. I have been guilty of a very skewed view of feminism and have even promoted the inaccurate representation of the feminist movement. But knowledge is power!
I believe part of the feminist movement identifies too closely with an Amazonian, Wonder Woman way of life – Girl Power, Who Run’s the World…Girls, etc. There is absolutely nothing wrong with empowering women; however it becomes wrong when it is at the expense of someone else – whether it be male or female. We as a society have yet to learn that equality cannot be mastered by envoking separation. How do we expect men to embrace equality when we as females, remain so divided on what that equality actually entails? It is my opinion that we cannot make any progress by unreasonably making demands that ultimately make little sense in the grand scheme of our society. Again, I am guilty of holding my female counterparts to the unreasonable standards of a man – I ignorantly felt that if a woman wanted to be seen as equal, then she should demonstrate the equivalence of men in every aspect of her life. How foolish are we…or I should say how foolish was ME!
Now please understand, I am not advocating that we eliminate the feminist movement. We absolutely need equality of the sexes, we simply need to better define equality and consistently apply that definition. If feminism is often equated with hating men, then the wrong messages are being relayed.
Frankly, if your agenda includes negatively stereotyping a group of people and attacking them, then your goal isn’t equality, because bigotry isn’t part of the peace process (thank you to my super intelligent son for helping to point this out to me). Hate can only beget hate. If that’s your strategy, you’re already on the wrong track and destined for failure. (The Wise Sloth)
Here is how I would love to see the feminist movement progress and evolve:
The very same way I was able to reverse my ignorance, I truly believe with the right stance, motivation and persistence, we can reverse the negative image of the feminist platform. We must all work together and understand that we do in fact need one another to progress and contnue to evolve.
Next week, I would like to share how absolutely embracing my imperfections allowed me to embrace the imperfections of others and stop holding everyone to unrealistic expectations that I myself, could not keep.
Until next time, keep moving, keep progressing, keep evolving!
Happy Monday Prosers! I am so grateful that you have returned to explore another Mara Prose Monday with me. This week, it is on my heart to discuss and share how I have been able to repair irrevocable relationships through forgiveness, healing and love.
I want to be very candid about common relationship issues, and how to overcome them. It is a beautiful place to be when you not only forgive yourself for the past, but when you can forgive others as well. I decided to take my forgiveness one step further and work to repair relationships with friends, family members and even my ex-husband; relationships that were in painful disarray and enveloped in strife. Today, I will use the strained relationship with my ex-husband as our example. I pray my testimony and newfound insights will help others in their own journey to healing and mending relations with others.
Many of you are already familiar with my divorce a few years back from my high school sweetheart. This relationship was in a state of peril, animoisty and strife for the past several years. Recently, our daugher made the comment that if only he and I did not hate each other; I knew right then and there it was time to mend this relationship. I took some time to pray about it because the wounds still ran deep, for not only me but my ex-husband as well. I could not change him, nor could I change all that has happened between us over the past several years. However, I did have the ability to change my responses, my perception and my own actions towards him. The dysfunction needed to come to an end; my daughter needed her parents to be able to work amicably together. In essence, what was at stake was bigger than me and my ex; it was no longer about us or who we once were to each other.
A lot of dysfuntion stems from lack of communication, lack of positive role models and unresolved hurts that we choose to hold onto indefinitely. It is hard letting go – believe me, I know! Yet, it is imperative to learn how to allow self healing to take you to new places. My anger was a mask for grief, and that grief needed to be acknowledged.
So I decided to take the time to seek out all the good that remained between me and my ex-husband. The Past had to become just that – the Past! This was not an overnight process, a week long process nor even a month long process. It was a long, hard process that took a lot of prayer, self reflection, discipline and focus on a singular purpose. Notice I say singular. It was not a process that I expected my ex-husband to participate in, nor did I even approach him with it. I simply made the decision to change myself because I cannot control others, but I CAN control who I am, how I act and how I come across. I decided to teach myself how to better communicate with him, how to diffuse the tension that exists between us and how to understand who the man he is so we can work together for the mutual benefit of both our children. We both needed to come off of the defensive with each other and learn to coexist in a world that we will forever have a connection – our kids. We needed a fresh start; a new understanding, now that we both have moved on and created new lives for ourselves. But if I am completely honest, my renewed spirit no longer wanted to cling to that toxicity. I needed to release all that is, was and has been between us so I could move forward and grow in my purpose and not unnecessarily carry all that into the next relationship.
It is my personal belief that there really is no irrevocable relationship. There are relationships that will never be the same, and some will always have a certain amount of distance incorporated into them, but we can all work to overcome anything. You must decide the approach you want to take going forward and “change your thoughts in order to change your ways” ~ Joyce Meyers. If Joyce Meyers, one of the top evangelist in the world, could forgive her father for the many years of physical, sexual and emotional abuse he made her endure in her youth – I know that we all are capable of improving our relations with one another.
Here is how I have choosen to renew my damaged relationships.
I will include a disclaimer – none of this is a sure fix and it may not work for everyone. I have chosen to pursue the path of that is working for me, and this has started a healing process between me and several others. I still have a long way to go in this journey and the road is not easy. There are many times where I want to put someone in their place, treat them with the same disregard they treat me or even hurt them the way they have hurt me. But where will this lead me? What will I accomplish from living in such a way? Not much, outside of continued pain, hopelessness, bitterness and unhappiness. No, 2019 is about balance and release. This is right for me because it feels too good to my soul for it to be any other way. I have a new level of happiness I have never experienced before and I am truly grateful to God for that!
As always, thank you for allowing me to share my experiences with you. Next week, we will discuss how I would like to see feminism redefined in 2019. Until then, be kind, be encouraged and be bold!
I’m back and sending a warm welcome home to all my Prosers! My hiatus is at an end and it is time to return to the roots of Mara Prose Mondays. I have spent the past couple of years experimenting with different formats, topics, and styles of prose. Today, I find myself returning to the initial inspiration, candor, testimonial filled blog posts that initially called me to create www.maraprose.blog.
I have spent the past several months learning, growing, studying and establishing a healthy balance in my life. I needed the silence that only comes from what I have so fondly termed my’hibernation’ period. This time of peace and reflection allows me to make decisions about my path forward. I began to pray more and develop a stronger relationship with God. In my solitude and meditations, my vision and purpose became clearer to me and I was able to map out a new plan for my life, my family and Mara Prose.
One gift that I was granted from this period of self-reflection, was the gift of discernment. It was not an easy gift to accept or master, but the life lessons it is helping me to overcome are invaluable. I feel as if the younger Mara walked around in a self-induced fog; my reality was skewed, to say the least. I had a lot of trouble discerning who deserved a place in my life and who did not. For example, in the past, I would allow myself to be manipulated into sustaining relationships with family members, friends, and co-workers who were actually toxic. I am now able to discern immediately the toxicity of others, and disassociation myself without guilt. I have even outgrown the act of simply cutting off toxic people without an explanation. The level of discernment that I now possess has taught me to communicate with others in a more adult and Godly manner…a ‘What Would Jesus Do’ manner. I recently addressed this very topic with someone I felt would prove to be a distraction and possibly cause strife in the balanced life I am working so hard to maintain. My intent was never to hurt the individual, it was to help them understand who I am as a person, who I am becoming and respect all that is me. At the same time, by embracing discernment, it allows me to also empathize with the needs of others and not expect anyone to adjust their beliefs or ideas to fit mine; while also accepting that I am not equipped to meet their needs either. I just knew this person needed to understand that our ideas of sisterhood and friendship were too different to continue to try and force a friendship.
As always, I want to share the steps I have taken to develop the discernment that I am now blessed with.
Evolution is the key to a happy life; at least for me. Discernment is just one of the many stepping stones I am taking in order to evolve into the best version of me. Next week, I will share how my forgiveness and letting go of the past has allowed me to repair relationships that were once irrevocably broken. I cannot change others, but I can change how I respond to others.
Until next time, be encouraging, be inspirational, and be motivational!
Author Mara Prose
Happy Mara Prose Monday!! Yes, they have FINALLY returned. I apologize to my loyal Prosers, I have neglected you on Mondays for too long. Sometimes as a writer, you can get so caught up in achieving your writing goals, you forget to cater to your audience.
If you missed this past Saturday’s Prosey’s Corner episode, you missed out on another stellar show. Blossom Rogers professed a jaw-dropping testimony and Jeffery L. Miller and Jay Thomas provided excellent dating and relationship advice.
The conversation we held made me think of my standard response when someone asks me when am I going to settle down again. I simply say “When I find someone who Matches My Stride.” I felt today would be a perfect day to clarify that response.
Of course, one of the most important areas where you want someone to Match Your Stride is in your love life. If you have ever listened to the podcast or read my good friend Andre Blaylock’s blog, you will be familiar with his saying “We Date to Mate.” Jeffery L. Miller believes there are three main reasons men and women alike, remain in the perpetual state of being single ( you will have to listen to Saturday’s Prosey’s Corner episode to find out what those three items are Prosey’s Corner July 28th). Lastly, Jay Thomas said we should “Talk More, Date Less” which is also explained further during this past weekend’s show. I just have to say again, Nicky and I were provided with phenomenal dating advice during our show.
But I digress; back to “Matching My Stride.” Everyone is striding through this thing we call ‘life’ at one pace or another. Close your eyes and imagine Arabian horses running together in the wild; is that not a beautiful sight when they match each other’s stride?
Picture Courtesy of Swift Aviation
At this stage in my life, it is more important than dating with a purpose; for you can date with intention and still never find the one that matches your stride. This concept is more than ideals, it is about realistically finding the one equivalent to yourself.
For example, the man for me will have his own goals, dreams, and ambitions. He will not piggyback off of mine or diminish my shine. He will be setting his own blaze right alongside me. We will build together for “our” greater good because there is no “I” in “We.”
Another example, my ideal man must match my stride intellectually. If you cannot understand my mind or my way of communicating, you will never understand me. And I am not talking surface level, I am talking about that hidden information you have to purposely seek out. It is more than a “See Mara, she is a nice lady.” It is more about What is Mara about? In my opinion, it is always better when someone attempts to connect on a less superficial level and not force you to dumb yourself down so to speak, to maintain a relationship.
Matching my stride not only applies to dating, but to all relationships in your circle. Remember the vision of the running Arabian horses; do you picture the ones who lose their way, become distracted or cannot keep the pace? First, let me state there is nothing wrong with going in a new direction, it will happen. For our purposes, the Arabians horses that fail to keep the pace, become easily distracted or simply dart off into a new direction would be the individuals that you leave in your dust in real life. Your focus is to stride towards your purpose with the least amount of detours you can manage. You cannot afford to go wandering off after someone who is lost from their own path. Time is of the essence; meaning the time is now for you to remain true to your path with those who match or compliment your stride.
There are several other instances where one should be cognizant of who and what matches their stride but we will save that for another Mara Prose Monday.
Today, I leave you to ponder what is your path, where should you blaze that path and who all should be allowed to light that fire with you? Always remember, it must “Match Your Stride.”
Until next time,
If you missed Saturday’s show, here is your chance to redeem yourself by listening to the rebroadcast!
Enjoy this reblog for Mara Prose Monday!!
Dedicated to my best friend and touchstone, Nicky W., in celebration of not only our friendship but her birthday month. Thank you for all you do and your willingness to go where I go.
It started with a little girl in tears and it’s been thirty years
A bond was formed that day and remained despite some strays
No matter where we are in life, you are always willing to sacrifice
To go where I go, help when I need and encourage when my heart bleeds
You are the wind beneath my wings
You encourage me to flourish and grow
You keep me grounded and on my flow
You accept all that is me, and help to make life more carefree
You have nursed me through some hard times and celebrated the best of times
Thank you for being you
Thank you for being true
Thank you for being not…
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