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The Self Love Lessons7 Lessons Every Woman Must Learn About Herself & the Power of Womanhood
By Kellye Queenie Brown
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 Kellye Queenie Brown
All right reserved.
Chapter OneA Day in the Life of My Friend Kate
I'd like to share a short story with you about my dear friend Kate. Her experience will give you a peek into the progression through the journey towards self-love. Let's take a look at a day in the life of Kate.
* * *
Kate is a very sweet woman who always takes care of everyone around her. In addition to her husband and three young children, Kate cares for her aging family members, cooks for everyone, never forgets a birthday, and always makes time for everyone who needs her. As a result, she's on the top of everyone's 'Can you do this for me?' list.
She makes time for all of her kids' activities, play-dates and countless birthday parties. She's also her husband's only support in his newly started business. Needless to say, Kate feels pulled in multiple directions and rarely makes any time for herself.
I often hear Kate say, "Queenie, nobody understands! There's just so much that needs to be done and no-body is willing to pull their own weight. I have no choice but to pick up the slack and if it costs me, it costs me."
For years I've watched Kate continue to please everyone in her world, until one day she started to have headaches. She tried to ignore the headaches until they prevented her from sleeping. She called me one day exasperated and in tears, saying, "On top of everything else, now I can't even get a good night's rest." She says to herself. "This is just too much". Kate didn't tell anyone else about the headaches, she just pushed through and continued her normal chaotic routine.
I never understood why, but Kate refused to ask her husband for help. Instead she would say to me, "He sees me working all the time, I never get to bed before midnight and he should just find it in his heart to help me. I shouldn't have to ask. He should just know."
I told her that she was a victim because she chose to be. Of course, she would get angry with me and the conversation would end, or she would find a reason to hang up the phone.
Then one morning before work, Kate and her husband, Tony, got into an argument about money. He asked her to cut back on her spending so that they could get back-on-track financially. She agreed but inside, she was livid.
She called me on her drive to work, absolutely furious and unloaded all of her anger towards Tony onto me. I listened as usual and then I said to her, "Kate, you didn't tell the truth. You didn't stand up for yourself. You have every right to feel the way that you do. So just tell me, what are you really angry about?"
"Queenie you just don't get it. I am upset because I can't remember the last time I bought something for myself. Every penny that I spend is for the needs of my family. I don't buy clothes or makeup for myself. My shoes need to be repaired. My bras are a joke. And now he's getting on me for frivolous spending. Are you kidding me?"
I asked: "Kate, did you talk to him? Did you tell him how you feel?"
"He doesn't want to hear that. He just wants me to cooperate. He continuously harps about 'our family goals and saving' money. It just makes me furious—I want to scream! She snarled: 'Uggh!'".
I interrupted: "So Kate, instead of telling him this and maybe asking that he acknowledge your sacrifice, you bite your lip, say nothing and agree to cut back and help him meet your financial goals, without even a peep? Is that what you are telling me, Kate?"
As usual, I had to tell her the truth. "Kate, you are angry because you did not get any credit for neglecting yourself. He should notice that your clothes are old and your bras are tearing apart, you don't wear makeup because you ran out and you are so busy taking care of everyone else, you have not made the time to replace it. And now that he's asking you to cut back, you are mad at him?
You know you're my girl and you know how I roll, so I have to tell you the truth. Kate, you are not mad at Tony. You are mad at YOU! You have allowed yourself to become totally depleted. You can't blame Tony because you are neglected. You are the only one who can change that and it doesn't have to cost you a lot of money. It will only cost you a little self-love and some time for yourself. You've got to do that for you, Kate.
Everything in your world is screaming out, 'There's nothing left to GIVE!' When are you going to listen?" I paused to wait for her response.
She was silent and I knew what that meant. She didn't want to hear it. She wanted me to finish, so she could get off the phone. I had come to expect that from her, and it was okay.
Before we hung up I reminded her. "You know, Kate, there's a reason why I'm in your life. I have been where you are and I know exactly how you feel. It really is time that you learn how to love YOU. You have got to learn to be a better friend to my friend."
Next week, I'm launching my Wisdom Sister Circles. You know you have an open invitation and I really think it will help you. You have never made time to participate in any of my Self Love events, and perhaps the time wasn't right. We are having this conversation for a reason. I really think you should join us."
Annoyed, Kate responded, "Queenie, I don't even have the interest in going there right now. I just feel like I need to get away and rest, then I'll be okay. I'm just tired and it's making me frustrated. I know you love me. But trust me, I'll be okay."
"Alright, Kate, when you are ready, we'll be here. In case you change your mind, we will connect by phone this Tuesday evening at 9:00pm. The number and any info you need is on the website www.SelfLoveLessons. com. You can register there or just call me and let me know that you'll be joining us. I'll be praying for you. Have a blessed day, sweetie."
With that, we hung up.
After arriving to work late because of her morning discussion with her husband, and her Come to Jesus conversation with me, Kate learned that she had missed a very important deadline. She knew that her boss would be very disappointed.
She couldn't believe she had forgotten. Kate raced through her memories to recall what she had done that caused the deadline to slip her mind.
"Ah", she remembered. "It was because I helped Deena in the accounting department. Deena needed to produce a report for her boss' trip. She asked for my help and I just couldn't say no. Kate asked herself: "Why do I keep doing this?"
Kate was shocked when she heard her name over the loudspeaker "Kate Pillar, please report to Mr. Campbell's office." Kate said under her breath. "Oh my goodness, what am I going to say to Mr. Campbell"?
After her reprimand, she was even more frustrated. She gasped, "Why did I let this happen?"
She continued to beat herself up in her thoughts, "What was I thinking? That's the thanks I get for helping someone else. If I had just done what I needed to do, instead of helping Deena, I wouldn't have forgotten about my deadline. Uggh, I just can't win."
Later that day, Kate received an emergency call from the elementary school. She learned that her son, Bobby, was involved in a fight and she was asked to come and pick him up immediately.
Now Kate was furious. She called her husband, Tony to see if he could leave work. Considering the reprimand that she just received, Kate didn't want to leave the office. Tony was in a meeting and could not come to the phone.
Kate took a deep breath, forced her anger deep inside, then grabbed her purse and keys and went to pick up her son.
Kate's mind raced. Next, she had to find a sitter, at the last minute, so that she could return to work. She knew that would cost even more money. Kate thought, "I have to do what I have to do. Bobby is going to the sitter."
She called the sitter and just as Kate expected, the sitter was unavailable. "Now, what am I going to do?" she thought.
At the school, Kate listened to the principal as he explained why her son, Bobby, was fighting. Apparently Bobby got angry and refused to cooperate with his teacher. Then one of the students made a joke about him and all the kids began to laugh. In his anger, Bobby punched the kid in the face.
As Kate listened to Bobby's principal, it was all she could do to fight back the tears. Through her quivering voice, she managed to say, "Mr. Daniels, I understand that you want Bobby to go home this afternoon, but can Bobby please return to school tomorrow?"
Mr. Daniels replied, "Mrs. Pillar, I'm sorry, but Bobby cannot return to school until Monday. And further, he must find a better way to deal with his feelings; his uncontrollable anger." He paused then said, "Mrs. Pillar, have you ever thought of getting him professional help?"
Kate couldn't even comment. All she could do was sigh as she shook her head no.
As she left the principal's office, she couldn't even speak to Bobby. Kate walked swiftly to the car as Bobby trotted behind trying to keep up.
She jumped into the car and immediately called her sister, Karen. Kate hoped that since Karen had a flexible work schedule, she could take care of Bobby. If Karen could care for Bobby, Kate could return to work.
As soon as Karen picked up the phone, Kate began to tell Karen what happened. Karen was still asleep and refused to even listen to what Kate had to say. She interrupted Kate by shouting, "KATE, I'M SLEEP—I'LL CALL YOU LATER" and then she hung up the phone.
Kate was at her wits end. She couldn't hold back the tears any longer. She was seething inside. She just wanted to scream, cry and run away as fast as she could. She wanted the ride that she called life to stop so that she could get off!
On the way home, she tried not to blow up on her son. She knew that she needed a good cry, but she had to hold it together. Instead, she quietly wiped the tears that were pouring down her face.
Kate called back to her office and through her crackling voice, she asked her boss for the afternoon off.
Her thoughts raced. "This is everyone else's fault and I have to pay for it! It's just not fair. I don't deserve this," she thought. Kate felt like a victim in her own life and she was completely spent. She couldn't imagine what else could possibly go wrong.
She realized that she had to find a way to punish her son for letting his anger get the best of him at school. All of a sudden, she had a great idea. She decided to stop by the book store and grab the most boring book that she could find. While he was home from school, Kate would force Bobby to read the book and write a three-page paper on it. That wasn't a bad idea at all.
So, while she searched through the bookstore, she passed a display of new Bibles. The one that caught her eye had both the King James and the Amplified versions all in one. Cheryl, her friend, had recommended the Amplified version and Kate immediately thought, "I need this for me. I know that Tony put me on a budget, but after the day that I've had, this is all that will keep everyone in the house from getting hurt."
She grabbed the Bible and the book for Bobby and headed towards the checkout counter.
While waiting in line, she saw the most adorable journal. It was so perfect with a beautiful butterfly on the cover. "If I had a journal", she thought, "I'd want it to look just like that".
Then she reflected, "It's been such a long time since I've written in a journal. Goodness, it was in my senior year in high school." She continued to reminisce, "Wow, back then, my journal was my best friend, my most trusted confidante," she paused in thought. "I remember rushing home to tell my journal all the details of what had happened each day. I would tell her how I felt, when I was hurt, when I was sad, even when I was happy, or worried, or afraid or even when I thought I was in love. Boy, every emotion I ever felt, I shared with my journal. But, what happened? Why did I stop?" She wondered.
It didn't matter. Kate remembered how much peace she would feel after processing each day's emotions. She thought to herself, "There's something so liberating about being open and able to learn and grow each day."
Without even thinking twice, she grabbed the journal, the Bible and the book of torture for Bobby and walked up to the next available register.
Back home, Kate sent Bobby into his room with his new book and made her way into the kitchen. She decided to begin making dinner and hopefully take her mind off of the drama of the day's events. She tried to think positive but instead, she couldn't help but replay every aspect of what had happened, over and over in her mind.
Her thoughts raced. She thought about what she should have done, why she is always the one hurt and why she feels so guilty when she doesn't step in to help someone in need. She wondered why no-one else seems to share in her guilt.
She wondered why she was reprimanded at work. Her boss knows how hard she tries to please him, and everyone else for that matter. As she continued to replay the days' events over and over in her mind, she noticed that she was talking to herself angrily, out loud.
"It's all my fault," she said. "I should know better by now. No-one is ever going to think about me but me. No-one is going to protect me and no-one will have my back except for me. So the next time somebody needs something from me, that's just too damn bad. They will have to fend for themselves and I won't feel bad at all!
Her internal rant, that had turned outward, was interrupted by a telephone call. It was Karen, her sister, finally getting back to her from her nap. Kate answered the phone and snapped at Karen by saying, "Yeah, I hope you feel rested!"
Karen, who is no stranger to attitude, snapped back by saying, "Who do you think you are talking to? Don't start with me, Kate! I don't have time for this. I'm only calling you back because I said I would, but whatever you needed, figure it out, without me."
Karen sneered as she continued, "It's not my fault that your life is falling apart. You need to get it together and don't call me until you do." Karen slammed the phone down and Kate was just stunned. She couldn't believe it.
Kate exploded. "She's rejected me?" Kate yelled, "Wait a minute—I was the one who was going to reject her. I was the one who had every right to be angry and she has turned it around and made it all my fault, again! Uggh! Oh My God I just can't take any more. No More! No More!"
By that time, Kate was sobbing. Karen, with just those few words, had ripped her apart.
Kate's head pounded, her heart raced, and she went into the bathroom to try to collect herself. Before Kate knew it, the fire alarm in the kitchen began to screech. She ran into the kitchen to find that her dinner was burned, ruined.
She called her husband and still sobbing, asked him to pick up dinner on his way home. Then she ran into her room and collapsed on her bed in tears. "No More, Help me God. I just can't do it anymore! I have nothing left!" She sobbed, "I try to make sure that everybody's needs are met, and nobody cares about ME ... and now it's affecting my health. I just can't take it anymore." Kate cried out, "No more. Help me Lord, Please!"
When she awoke, her husband was in the kitchen preparing plates for their three kids. Everyone in the house knew that something was very, very wrong with Kate. In an effort to not upset her any further, they all walked on eggshells. Her husband had never seen her so upset. Bobby told them how she had been acting since their meeting with the principal. They all knew that she had reached a point of no return.
Kate went into the bathroom to freshen up. When she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror, she looked so sad, even to herself.
As she looked at herself, she thought, "What happened to me?" She began to think about: 1) all that she had endured, 2) all she had sacrificed and 3) all she had lost as a result of her own personal unspoken mantras: "make everyone else's needs more important", "don't rock the boat" and "always keep the peace".
Excerpted from The Self Love Lessons by Kellye Queenie Brown Copyright © 2011 by Kellye Queenie Brown. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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