Friday with Friday – Finding my Faith

Dear Readers,

Bare with me as I go through this entry – it is a little all over the place, but living life is a process and blogging is no different.

So yesterday I found my faith.  Faith is generally something I have struggled with and the issue at least for me was that my mind could rationalize things and my heart could feel things, but often my thoughts were not in sync with my feelings.  I could understand faith as a concept, but in terms of how I felt – that was another subject.  You have to remember my introduction to God as a child was fear based – do what God says or be damned to hell – so how can a person build faith in a being it has learned to fear?

One of the lessons in A Course in Miracles is “love holds no grievances.”  I had to look up the definition of a grievance. By definition a grievance is a real or imagined wrong or circumstance regarded as a just cause for a complaint.  The thing about an imagined wrong is one can un-imagine a wrong. Last week a female friend of “The Actor” reached out to me on Linked In of all places – a business platform.  The message said quite simply “so and so says you are a friend and would like to invite you to her network” talk about a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  I thought firstly I have really not communicated with “The Actor” since August of last year, in October of last year I decided he and I did not need to be Facebook friends for a few reasons, if he wants me to know about his going ons, he knows how to contact me and share, what he was posting was falling in line with projects as they were being released, so for the most part what was on FB was old news and last my female intuition had already popped on this individual and I decided that my intuition was trustworthy so I ended FB our communication. Now almost six months later out of the blue I have this “friend” request on Linked In.  Needless to say I deleted the woman’s request to be my friend.

Now there was a part of me that wanted to contact The Actor to tell him get your chick in check – but that action would indicate that I had a grievance with him as well as a grievance with this woman.  In reality I do not have a grievance with either of them or anyone else for that matter.  I had forgiven The Actor some time ago for the silencing of our relationship and I have also forgiven myself for being hurt by his actions – forgiveness means no grievance.  Now I forgave this woman because the action of her reaching out to me really only served the purpose of her bringing whatever dramas and insecurities that she has created in her own life surrounding this man, our only common thread, into my reality and life, so I forgave her for what she thought and felt about me and asked the universe to bless her – forgiveness means no grievance.

Yesterday I actually thought about The Actor. I actually have faith that despite how things are he and I are not done.  I remember how we first looked at each other and those exchanges are quite rare.  It is those moments that make people buy posters that say things like “believe in love at first sight.” Love at first sight actually happens and I believe that.  As I was thinking these things AND feeling filled with faith, it occurred to me that believing in the possibility of being reunited in a relationship with The Actor was no different than having faith, having faith in God – in that things will be okay, and having faith in myself.  I had found a way to connect my heart feelings to my thoughts about faith and honestly what a peaceful state of being. I rested in my thoughts and my feelings and allowed them to flow through me quietly.

I had a long talk with one of my best friends from New York.  She and her boyfriend of five years seem to be coming to an end.  It is breaking her heart and she is having a hard time letting go and setting boundaries as the dynamic of the relationship changes.  I told her the story of how my brother fell in “love” with his girlfriend.  They were on again off again, fast and furious, seeing other people, the relationship was simply not committed, very passionate, and emotionally immature. Something actually very external to the relationship is what brought it together.  There is nothing that my brother’s girlfriend could have said or done to improve the hot and cold of their relationship.  One of his best friend’s grandmother’s died and at her funeral he was moved by her life, what she had done in life, how she had loved those that were important in her life and how wide her love spread through her family, her church community and her community at large.  She was just one person that made a difference and her difference was love.  That impacted my brother so much that he took an internal review of his life, and as his best friend he sent me a lengthy email about the people he loved and what message he wanted me to convey to them should something happen to him.  He made a decision to commit to those people that were really important to him – including his on again off again girlfriend.  Now at that time she was not particularly receptive and he had some work to do to show his commitment and he did what he needed for as long as he needed for her to come around.  I explained to my friend that there was nothing she could do to change the heart of a man.  Have no grievance with him or the situation, forgive him for not being able to commit right now and forgive yourself yourself for being hurt by his inability to commit and let it go – meaning do not be vested in a particular outcome. This is easier said than done, but it is true.

Life so often does not happen the way we want it, when we want it, how we want it, and we say it is unfair and our feelings are hurt, and if this thing could have just gone that way, I would be happy.  At any moment in time if you are unhappy, you can forgive a person, a situation, and yourself, and instantly move from a state of being unhappy to a state of peace.  We all have that ability – removing grievances.  In my particular situation with The Actor I am unconcerned about the details, anything that happens or does not happen is for my greater good and his.  I could have a lot of grievances just based on my life circumstances in general, I am moving beyond finding grief.  I have wonderful friends and family that have been nothing short of blessings and I have to remember to count those blessings and find joy in the blessings rather than sorrow in what is not how I want a particular situation to be.  This is a major break through!  Imagine the power of Nelson Mandela’s mind while he was in prison, this is the mental metal that we all must exercise daily as Mandela did.

I had an interesting conversation yesterday with my mother on this subject of faith.  She was struggling with an issue and what I told her was I have always felt some reverence for people that because of their religion allowed them to embrace faith.  You talk to Christians and they say God will take care of whatever because of the Power of Jesus Christ, or you talk to a Muslim and in the name of Allah…Muhammad may peace be upon him said XYZ.  And these conversations are the same if someone is Buddhist, Krishna, Jewish, Hindu – whatever the religious practice, they believe in a doctrine, a system and believe in it even if logic would disprove some portion of it, for them it is an absolute.  I think that is an admirable trait. But for someone like me that was not “raised” in a single religion or was raised to be afraid of God within a doctrine or in my case two doctrines, it is not as easy to simply believe.  It is only through my understanding that I could explain how I found my faith to another human being – not unlike those raised in a particular faith bases system. My faith lies in the agreement of my heart feeling and my mind thinking it is so and it is possible, and so it is as the two are in agreement.  That is faith. For me it is a new found sense of peace.

Peace & Blessings,

Friday

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Friday With Friday – A Spiritual Walk

Yesterday was my good friend Kaypri’s birthday.  As women are sensitive about their ages, I will not share hers online.  As part of our celebrating her day, we had breakfast at a local LA Fav – Toast on W 3rd.  I ordered orange juice and I brought with me my canister of “Green Vibrance.”  Green Vibrance is one of those green powders choc full of vegetables, algae, sperilla, vitamins and minerals.  I start my days with a daily dose of green.  After pouring a scoop of green goodness into my orange juice, my friend decided for her birthday that she would also order orange juice for an opportunity to go green.  We both enjoyed our green drink and the rest of our meal, and she thanked me for sharing.

Now if you have been following my blog you would know I grew up Christian Baptist and Sunni Muslim and as a kid the basic message I received was accept being baptized in the name of Jesus or you are going to hell, or accept Islam by saying there is no other God but Allah or you are going to hell.  Well I accepted Jesus and Islam, what kid wants to go to hell, particularly when they seem to already be living in hell on earth.  The last thing I needed was for my soul to be tormented and on fire for the rest of its days.  I had resolved at some point that different religions are simply God’s understanding of the human psyche and different religions were gifted to man to reach man where he was spiritually.  That has long been my belief because even as a child I thought it a little ridiculous that man’s expression of hellacious renaissance renderings and hell bound stories were the best of what God could offer as religious practice.

Since reading Marianne Williamson’s book, “Return to Love,”  I have actually picked up the book “A Course In Miracles” by the Course in Miracles Society.  I think the timing of my finding these teachings is no simple accident – The Real Friday Jones Blog was the catharsis needed for me to be accepting of the teachings.  So every day for the last month and a half, I have been practicing the daily lessons, three to five minutes at a time three to five times a day.  I start my day off in purpose filled thought, exercising my faith muscle in mini Friday with Friday moments.  Today in reading  the teacher’s section 3 “What Are The Levels of Teaching,” I read “…the plan includes very specific contacts to be made for each teacher of God.  There are no accidents in salvation.  Those who are to meet will meet because together they have the potential for a holy relationship.  They are ready for each other.”  This reverberates what I knew to be true at the age of ten.  Even the Course in Miracles is very masculine in its presentation of God and that makes sense as we are in the year 2013 of our lord Jesus Christ, in a time of the patriarch and so it is easier to say God is a him and for it to be accepted than to say God is a she as the world is now just entering the rebirth of the Goddess – not that she ever went away.  It is relative and where people might create conflict, there really is none.

My good friend Rich when I started this blog sent me a private message on Facebook and I want to share a piece of it here with you. “My instinct is to tell you to close ranks. Even though we don’t talk often, I consider you one of my thinking friends (So many people don’t think). Closing ranks is out of fear and hatred of a thoughtless world. Then I read your thoughts and I think about the good people out there. The writers who share there lives so that we don’t feel isolated, even in our clicks. So, write on (right-on). Keep doing you and maybe I won’t worry about doing me.”  I love Rich for sending me this message, and it is important to me that I share both what I know and what I have learned with the world because I have been called an “old soul” for most of my days, who knew some of my wisdom would be born of my wounds.  If I can help save one soul by relating to them where they are, then my purpose for having a human incarnation has been well served.  Would I wish the hurts on my life on anyone – NO, but if those hurts can heal the next man or woman, so be it.

Below are the first thirty lessons from “A Course In Miracles”  you can also go to http://www.jcim.net/Pages/DailyLessons.html for full lessons as offered by Course in Miracles Society:

  1. Nothing I see means anything.
  2. I have given everything all the meaning it has for me.
  3. I do not understand anything I see.
  4. These thoughts do not mean anything.
  5. I am never upset for the reason I think.
  6. I am upset because I see something that is not there.
  7. I see only the past.
  8. My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.
  9. I see nothing as it is now.
  10. My thoughts do not mean anything.
  11. My thoughts show me a meaningless world.
  12. I am upset because I see a meaningless world.
  13. A meaningless world engenders fear.
  14. God did not create a meaningless world.
  15. My thoughts are images which I have made.
  16. I have no neutral thoughts.
  17. I see no neutral things.
  18. I am not alone in experiencing effects of my seeing.
  19. I am not alone in experiencing effects of my thoughts.
  20. I am determined to see.
  21. I am determined to see things differently.
  22. What I see is a form of vengeance.
  23. I can escape from the world I see.
  24. I do not perceive my own best interests.
  25. I do not know what anything is for.
  26. My attack thoughts are attacking my invulnerability.
  27. Above all else I want to see.
  28. Above all else I want to see things differently.
  29. God is in everything I see.
  30. God is in everything I see because God is in my mind.

For those of you that may be worrying A Course in Miracles is public domain material and reproduction, sharing, and quoting from the material is encouraged.  Where reproduction involves commercial sale of more than ten percent of the total content of the book, in any media, written permission of the copyright holder is required.  So I am not violating any laws by sharing this tid-bit of information.  I can tell you I have specifically chosen these introduction into ACIM because thoughts are the foundation of all creation.  And this one fact is so important because it is how one perceives the world through thought that will dictate what events, situations, and circumstance MEAN to you – joy/ sadness; opportunity/ loss; peace/ hell.  What if things happened and they meant little or nothing to you and caused you no emotional distress because your faith was a mighty lioness that made your fears seem the size of a gnat?  Controlling how you think about things, and most importantly yourself is a true spiritual walk, and every journey begins with what – a thought!

This is my green juice for today that I share with you just like I shared with my doll of a friend Kaypri on her birthday.  Celebrate life, celebrate love, and live fearlessly!

Unapologetically,

Friday

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Friday with Friday – Afro Caribe Dance with Kimberly Miguel Mullen

Fridays with Friday have proven quite fruitful!

So if you read my blog you will know that as a child I wanted to be a dancer and had quite literally talked my way into dance classes.  I wanted to be a choreographer because I could see movement and feel music within music – and even if I was not the best dancer, I thought if I learned how to dance, I would be able to teach others.  I had a male dance teacher tell me once that I should consider gymnastics because with my hips being so wide and my height I had the perfect center of gravity – now that may have been a backhanded compliment of sorts – but what did gymnastics have to do with music and dancing in the mind of a child – the message was I was not good enough to dance, how wrong he was!

I recently learned faith is a muscle – the muscle of controlling your thoughts and the ability to live in the present and not the past is understanding that you can create a new beginning.  That is exactly what taking Kiberly Miguel Mullen’s Afro Caribe dance class allowed me to do – redefine my relationship with dance.  Two words LOVED IT!

My Girls and I with Kimberly

My Girls and I with Kimberly

Kimberly teaches dances that originate with the Yoruba in Nigeria and the Orishas.  As enslaved peoples were transported from Africa to the Caribbean, they could not practice their religion and created dance to celebrate their religious practice.  For our first class we danced to Eleggua’, the gate keeper of the roads whose colors are red and black – he is also the trickster; we danced to Shango’ the Orisha of thunder, lightening, fire, and the drum whose colors are red and white, and we finished dancing to Oshun the Orisha of sweetness, love and beauty, fresh waters – and if wronged she can be a force to be reckoned with.

Kimberly had live drummers that were most excellent and made for a transformative experience.  On this day the class was all women, they chanted the language of the Orishas.  In this dance class of all women, I was able to wash in female energy expressing the dance movements of male Orisha’s and able to embrace both energy forms.  Kimberly brought custom folk dance skirts for us to wear when we danced Oshun.  The movements were soft and flowing and in the end we sat in a circle and laughed and appreciated our beauty with the movements.  I actually was brought to tears because there was a feeling of being sensual without the judgement of men, media, or advertisers to say we were anything other than beautiful women.  This was a class where you could be flat footed and still be great.  There are times when I just was lost in the movement with myself and the beat of the drum – that experience was so liberating.  I remember looking through the class at the women of different ages, body types and ethnicities, and they danced to the grace of their own movements and for me it was a celebration – no one particularly fit into whatever the societal norm’s for so called beauty are and yet we radiated to me like beautiful flowers.  Through life as women there is often this aesthetic to live up to and it was freeing to be in a class to move your body and to enjoy the movement for your own sake.

During certain motions like, and forgive me as this is me giving my best descriptions, making the heart to the head – the thoughts that came to me were you are worthy, you are amazing, you are happy.  And then when you go from that position and exhale hands down and extend the hands out – it is as if that is the energy you are supposed to give to the world with love.  Kimberly’s class was an amazing way for me to celebrate feminine energy, to be pleased with me, and to get in a great workout.  Do not be afraid to discover who you are, live, love, laugh, and dance of course!

Classes are Saturdays at The Electric Lodge at 1416 Electric Avenue, Venice CA 90291 from 10:40AM – 12:10PM and costs $20.  Please remember a love donation for the drummers.  For more information on Kimberly Mullen and her classes please check out her website at http://www.kimberlymiguelmullen.com/ Photos courtesy of John Dedenis.

Uapologetically,

Friday

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Friday with Friday – Marianne Williamson Small Miracle!

The Beauty of The Universe…..

Where do I even begin? So on December 31, 2012 I posted these words to Facebook:

“2012 is winding down. I am encouraged by how positively the past year has been for friends. For me the year has been a mixed bag of nuts of sorts. I fell in love, like really, something I did not think would happen again in this lifetime – but that situation ended or faded or is complicated – my point is there was no happily ever after. I also had a moment driving on Stocker on a sunny California day where I realized for the first time in my life I had butterflies that were related to where my life was, I was happy about the direction my life was going in and about work and my involvement with a feature film project – life seemed to be on track finally. I was pleased with me. First time ever. Then everything related to those butterflies unraveled and I have been in a place of uncertainty since then – not too sure about the direction of my life, work is questionable, feature film is speculative, life is uncertain. I was at a meeting recently where attendees were asked to state what they wanted for Christmas. I stated I would like small miracles. Still waiting for small miracles – but the usual optimistic Friday, well she is on vacation, and I am here. Not sure what 2013 is going to bring, but I am keeping my heart close. Should it bring more of the same, I will not be disappointed. If small miracles arrive, I will be surprised and grateful. I will also maybe look back on this post and remember me in this moment of time and remember how things are and how I feel and I will have strength to encourage someone else not to give up. So as I look forward to 2013 – I look forward without expectation. Expectations can lead to disappointment I would rather leave my disappointments in 2012. Like I said mixed bag of nuts.”

My BFF – best friend forever was also at the meeting where I said I would like to receive small miracles and my words touched her.  Then she saw my posting and she had the thought, what can I do to help my friend.  She decided to gift me “A Return to Love,”  a reflection on “A Course In Miracles” by Marianne Williamson.  This I kid you not was one of the best gifts ever!!!! A small miracle, among several others delivered since January 1, 2013!

January was a world wind.  On December 31st after my posting I got a tweet from Toure’ Roberts of One Church International.  I sent him my manuscript for “The Real Friday Jones,” at the top of December – his tweet was simply he received the package and looked forward to reading it.  Small Miracle.  I picked up a temp job and got the flu after two days of working, the proprietor allowed me and my sick self  to work from home.  Small Miracle.  I was scheduled to go to Sundance Film Festival in Salt Lake City Utah and was not sure I was going to make it because I had the flu.  The day before my flight, I had a fever that killed all of the flu virus, that night I was able to pack my bags for my AM flight.  Small Miracle.  On the way to Utah for Sundance, I found out a client payment that was supposed to hit the bank that day did not.  I was on a plane that flew from Los Angeles to New Mexico to Seattle Washington, and finally to Salt Lake City, Utah.  Thankfully by the time the plan landed in Salt Lake, with a lot of texting and phone off and phone on in-between stops, my dear brother put some funds in my bank account so that I would not be on empty while in Utah.  Small Miracle.  I read half of “A Return to Love” on my way to Sundance and the other half on the return flight to Los Angeles.  For me this book was like the how to of spiritual growth, focusing on love, thoughts, and self – very relatable!  I had a ball at Sundance, I took a picture with the Oscar, moderated a panel for The Blackhouse Foundation that originated with Matthew Cherry when he had to deliver his film “The Last Fall” – the panel was on how to deliver your film once you sell it.  Good times.

My favorite quote of all times is written by Marianne Williamson, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”  I had a thought after reading “A Course in Miracles,” I would sure like to meet Marianne to thank her.  Well I went to her website and she was having a book signing for her new book “The Law of Divine Compensation” within the week at the Mystic Journey Bookstore in Venice California aka my back yard.

So this was last week Thursday – I was tired, but I took my new handy dandy camera with the hope that I would be able to take a picture with Marianne.  I was late, I was literally the last person that had entered the bookstore.  There were no seats, I was standing in the back hallway, behind a guy whose shoulder I was barely able to peak over.  When Marianne realized people were in the hallway, she moved from being out of view where I could only hear her to anchoring herself in the main room where she could have eye contact with everyone in the bookstore and to those of us in the rear hallway.  Simple gesture that was much appreciated.  When her speech was over, had I had a book I would have been primed to be one of the first people in line – but I needed to buy her new book – and I did not bring “Return to Love” because I wanted to support her new effort….makes sense right.  Well by the time I get to the register to buy a book – they had sold the last copy to the person in front of me.  And now the line forming for the actual book signing was super long and I was at the end of the line.  Then I thought I do not even really have anything that she could sign… it didn’t matter, I had my camera, I was prepared to explain the course of events and to ask if she minded taking a picture.  After about 15-20 minutes of waiting in line, the owner of the bookstore came from the back with a box that she placed behind the register.  And people were going back to the register to buy copies of this little blue covered book.  I turned to the woman behind me and said, I think they have more copies of the book and asked her if she minded holding my place. She did not mind, so I bought my copy of “The Law of Divine Compensation,” hopped back into line and waited for my turn.  I thanked Marianne, told her about my BFF gifting me “A Return to Love.”  And the beauty of the universe…. well here is my picture with me and Marianne Williamson – the author of my favorite quote.  Small Miracle!

Friday Jones and Marianne Williamson

Friday Jones and Marianne Williamson

 

Unapologetically,

Friday

Follow me on Twitter FridayJones1 or Facebook TheRealFridayJones

 

 

The First Friday with Friday – Whew whoooo

My very first “Friday With Friday.”  One word AWESOME!

Okay I have been going back through my blog to gleam some of the wisdom imparted by The Therapist.  One of the things that she said I needed to do was to “validate myself.”  And I drew a blank.  How exactly does one validate themselves?  So I used my handy dandy guide to all things research and googled the term “self validation.”  A bunch of articles came up on the topic which basically fall in line with simply doing what makes you happy and being satisfied with yourself over and over again until you do not need another human being’s opinion of you or your actions to feel good about yourself.  This is what I might call the pathway to true happiness.

Now the beach has always been one of my favorite places.  The beauty of living in Los Angeles – you can go to the beach year round.  I thought what a perfect way to spend my first Friday with Friday.  The problem, it did not seem the universe was co-operating, key word “seem.”  My goal was to leave at noon so I could wrap by 4:00pm.  Earlier in the week I looked up the weather and all was clear.  I even discovered that you can only dig an 18″ inch hole thanks to recent legislation at Los Angeles County beaches – duly noted. Then as if on cue telephone call after call started at 11:00am and I could not get out of the house.  By the time the calls ended, or I ended the calls it was 3:30pm and then that voice of doubt popped up.  You can give it a whirl next week – stay home and relax, you have already missed your time horizon.  And then the universe in its infinite wisdom said to me, or you could go and watch the sun set.  Sold to voice number two!

I threw my gear into the back of my SUV.  I discovered a bale of wood in my garage and lighter fluid, which of course meant I was heading to a beach with fire pits – Dockweiler State Beach to be exact.  The sun was stunning and super warm, like a friend greeting me and welcoming me outside to play.  My sole goal was to dig a hole, yes big enough for me to fit into, because that is not something that I have ever done.  And I guess this is where self validation comes in, I felt almost child like once I completed my task.  It was like Friday you dug a hole, and as I looked at my wet sandy hole – I was pleased with me!  I made a tee-pee out of my bale of wood, lit my fire, and opened a bottle of Smirnoff Ice and enjoyed the sun set.

Whew whoo…. it is amazing the pictures one can take with a camera and a sturdy bucket. Enjoy my gallery of photos and start 2013 having “Friday moments” with you  – as Retta on Parks and Recreation would say “treat yourself” lovelies!

 

Unapologetically,

Friday

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Happy 2013 – A New Year

Happy New Year!!!

This morning I awoke at 5:00AM, not my usual 3:00AM, but considering it is New Year’s Day and yes I did stay awake to bring in the new year, it is about the same.  Expect some new things in 2013.  Site will be upgraded, just a matter of time.  I am also going to start something called “Fridays with Friday.”  These will be self reflective moments with myself on various escapades as I journey to experience life and discover what things bring me joy.  I have a new camera and a long list of things to do so hold onto your hats – it is looking like a lot of fun ahead.

On another note, last night I get a direct message tweet from Toure’ Roberts that he had received my manuscript and looked forward to reading it.  I thought cool and for me that was the start of a good 2013.  And this morning at 5:00am as I lay in the dark with my eyes wide open, it occurred to me that since I had put myself out there, I might be invited to speak, to people, to women about this life of mine.  Then I thought – Oh my goodness – am I ready?

I did not panic, I thought about it for a minute.  The Therapist had asked me had I cried my last cry – honestly I am sure I have not.  Then I thought about my friend and contributor to the book “Souls of my Sisters,” Pamm Malveaux who told me to get ready because I will cry again and I will remember as I become a voice for others.  Then I thought faith is a challenge for me what would I say, but then I grew up in church and my life is my testimony.

This is what came to me I have prayed for and wept for women and girls. There are three that came to me immediately and one that came to me as I began typing this entry.  The first Mary J. Blige.  She was a client where I worked in 1994.  She was so young, all of her handlers were men, and her friends were around the way girls.  I was young and pregnant and I really wanted to be a friend to her – at that time, I felt like she needed a level headed friend in her life, but I was pregnant and stressed out and I could not be that for her.  We received a call, she was stuck at some hotel, K-Ci from Jodeci and her had had a fight, she was alone and needed money – she sounded terrible. I wept for this woman and prayed for her.

Then I thought about Hydeia Bradbent, HIV Activist and NAACP Image Award recipient. When she was 4 years old, she was on a special, her mother had died from AIDS, and she was this little test pilot for some of the first drugs to combat the disease.  She was so cute and so strong at 4 years old, and I was just so moved by her I literally put my hands on the television, I cried and I prayed for life and blessings and love to wrap around this beautiful little girl.

And then I thought about a little girl, she was 18 months old.  She lived in a home with a mother and a father whose souls were gone. She was found in the garage of her home, she had been repeatedly sexually abused by her father to the point where her vagina was raw.  Her injuries were so severe that UCLA started a fund for her, and I thought what is wrong with the world and I prayed that she also be wrapped in pure love, that she can relearn to be touched without long term psychological damage, that she remember who she is not what these adults in her life made her to be. I wept and prayed for this young baby girl.

And again I thought had I cried my last cry – probably not – because if I were asked to speak, in front of an audience of women, what would their stories be and what would my prayer be for them?  Then an old church song came to me, I am not even sure of the title but the words go something like “it is Jesus in my soul, for I have been touched by the hem of his garment, and his blood has made me whole.”  The song is about the woman in Mark 5:25.  When I was a child I did not understand what having an “issue” was, but this woman had bled for 12 years and she had sought care and only got worse.  And I now have great understanding of this particular story, because I had fibroid surgery in September 2011.  I had surgery but my diet and habits had not changed – with the doctor it was a non issue and in February of 2012, I bled so much I thought I would die.  For women the spiritual connection to reproductive health has to do with creativity and the stifling of creativity or the suppression of that which is trying to be birthed or manifested in their life which is not – and for me there has been a lot of stifling and suppression of who I am and what I came here to do, and like the woman in Mark 5:25 I was dying, and unlike her, I am not sure that I would have survived 12 years.  This woman’s faith was so strong, that according to the Bible, she only needed to touch the cloth he was wearing to be healed, in her mind that was all she needed and when she touched his cloth her body began to heal – she was made whole.

And again I thought if I were going to speak in front of a group of women, what would my prayer for them be? What I saw was that moment, typical to any church – the one where the preacher asks, if there is any one that might need a special prayer come forward.  I saw me asking the women to come up for prayer, and me weeping and placing my hand on the shoulder of women and being a vessel to bless them and to help unlock and discover who they are – that which was whispered to them as they were formed in their mother’s womb. I saw me touching them and I could hear myself say remember who you are, forgive yourself first and then forgive others, let that which is hostile to you fall away from you.  It is only a matter of time, before this happens.  Then I thought about The Actor and his mom.  On June 25th she was sick and in the hospital, the Actor was distraught, his mother had a hospital staff infection in her nasal passage and was on heavy antibiotics.  I remember the date because she was checked in the night before my son’s birthday.  Well I said a prayer for her, I actually took a picture out that The Actor had sent to me of him with his sisters and his mom, and I envisioned all of us praying for her and healing her and then I envisioned her alone and well.  Well I became sick with a nasal infection and in two days I was full blown sick, and The Actor’s mom had stabilized.  What I had not done was to protect myself – now I realize that as I go out into the world – I am being called to heal, but I also must protect my life’s energy.

I am thankful that we are in a new year and that I am getting closer to my purpose!  I saw a quote yesterday “Happiness is the soul settling into the most appropriate spot” – Aristotle.  Find Happiness and Wholeness folks!  Look for my first “Fridays with Friday!”

Unapologetically,

Friday

Please follow me on Twitter FridayJones1 and friend me on Facebook TheRealFridayJones

 

Rebuilding a New You Part 3 – The Final Chapter

In closing I would like to revisit “The Issues Part 4 – Understanding Your Self Concept”

“Your struggles are related to your self concept. Understanding the core of who you are.  It was never defined as a child from the primary care givers.  You didn’t receive the basics that would help you to identify your purpose, that you were loved, and that you were worthy to be protected. No one came to rescue you.  No one comforted you.  No one validated you.  You were a victim of a horrible situation.  Not only in the home, but also in the school.  Who could you as a child turn to for protection, guidance, support.  You were a violated child who lived in a hostile environment.”

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The messaging that I received as a child was very damaging.  The messaging was planted within me infecting both my conscious thoughts and my self conscious thoughts, affecting my emotional well being and affecting choices that I have made over time in ways that were not always to my benefit.

If I had to articulate the messaging that I did receive, it would go something like this – you are not pretty, your thoughts do not matter, you do not matter, your physical body is to be violated, you should be afraid, you are responsible for the life and death of other people and because of that you are to be abused by others, your feelings do not matter, you are responsible for other people’s secrets, you are not worthy of love.  As you can see fear, worry, and anxiety were programmed into me at a very young age.  And to be brutally honest growing up in the Baptist Christian faith and the Sunni Muslim faith did not help because a lot of the massaging at that time was fear God, obey God, obey His laws or your very soul shall perish within the gates of hell.  More negative programming that was fear based.  It has taken thirty four years of my life to get to a point of understanding about myself to recognize and to be willing to change the damage that was done to me in my childhood.

When I was in Hawaii for my 40th birthday, I purchased a black KuKui bracelet.  The bracelet has about ten beads on it.  It is the kind of thing where as a child you would have asked the question “does he love me or does he love me not.”  I have found that wearing this simple bracelet gives me something to do when the negative messaging that can occur at lightening speed within my thoughts begins to spin out of control.  I slip my beads off and counter the negative thoughts with either a single positive thought repeated ten times or a series of ten different positive thoughts.  This way I know I am thinking more positive thoughts than negative thoughts, and I also know that I am curbing some of my worries and anxieties.  Re-framing how you think about things can be the difference between success and failure and more importantly the difference between happiness and sadness.  Prolonged sadness can lead to depression and depression can be so very destructive to the human soul.  If you tell yourself something long enough and if your thoughts repeat often enough in a negative way, you will start to believe them.  And a trickle effect will be that every decision that you make will be from this negative space.  If we can re-frame negative thoughts with positive ones then over time the corresponding trickle effect will be that every decision that you start to make will be from a more positive place.

Let me give you an example:

Recently my firm’s last retainer client terminated services because they were no longer in a position to afford the services.  Now I knew this to be true because I provided a budget and the negative cashflow for the client monthly was the retainer that they were paying out to my firm.

Now this was a simple event but the event had real consequences. The reality was that me and my business partner would have to give up our office space for a virtual office to cut overhead, it meant I might have to start temping to supplement my income, and it meant for the first time in months I did not know where my next “paycheck” was coming from.

Based on my primary learned messaging I could have internalized this event and started negative dialogue.  Depressed dialogue would have gone something like – I am a hopeless failure, I cannot even keep a good client, I am not worth good clients, I will never have good clients, my business will never be a success.  Or I could have had anxious dialogue with myself that would have gone something like – I do not have a retainer client now, how am I going to pay the mortgage, I am going to be homeless within a month because I do not have a retainer client.  Now all of these thoughts are negative and truthfully highly unlikely.  Will I have to change some things, probably.  Is temping the worse thing in the world, not so much. Will things be permanently helpless, no.  If friends and family knowing how hard I am working at my business going to let me be homeless if they knew my situation – highly unlikely.  But if I go into a dark space and repeat these thoughts over and over I would surely set myself up to fail.

Now the reality is I wanted to let this client go because I realized I wanted to move more into a film space and producing space and me and my business partner agreed to change our business model to reflect that. So the client choosing to leave was perfect timing.  My positive re-framing with my KuKui nut bracelet would go something like this:  I am a good advisor, my clients value my professional opinion, my clients made the right choice and I aided their decision, other opportunities to earn money will present themselves to me, I am intelligent and highly marketable, I have always been a great provider for my family, I am resilient and flexible, all of my needs will be met, I love and support me, this too shall pass.  And if the negative thoughts subsided and resurfaced, I would again pull my beads off and say ten positive things.  This practice of mine is allowing me to develop new behavior patterns and it is allowing me to cope with challenges without beating myself up mentally and emotionally.

What I am sharing in this chapter is one of the biggest behavioral lessons I have learned through this process.  I am not a licensed psychiatrist, but this re-framing of thoughts falls under something called “cognitive behavior therapy” or “automatic thought record.”  If you feel like you have negative thoughts that come faster than you know how to handle them, I encourage you to seek professional help with a licensed therapist.  I would not have been able to write this blog and uncover some of my layers without the help of my therapist.  She has been one of the angels in this life helping me get to my purpose.

I think based on my life experiences and women that may have had similar experiences relationships are a challenge. I strongly encourage women, particularly if they learned negative messaging from an early age to take the time to learn who you are.  If that means putting a current relationship on pause – do it, if the guy loves you he will wait for you.  It is very important to become a whole being before seeking a mate.  No other individual can “complete” you, you are amazingly made and you were born a whole being.  If the people entrusted with raising you or life in general put you in a position where you have forgotten that, as an adult it is your responsibility to remember, to discover, to become whole again. Know your limits, be unafraid to say no, beat to your own drum and let the people that love you stay, and let the people that cannot relate move on and move out.  It is so important to know who you are, to love yourself, to acknowledge your feelings and to be confident enough to be unapologetic.  Be you and be happy!

As a final thought I would like to leave you with a short list of ten things that Pastor Toure’ Roberts of 1 Church International believes that every woman should know.  He had a two part series on “The Year of The Woman.” that I encourage you to look up online.  I stumbled onto the videos thanks to a Niecy Nash tweet a couple of days ago, and I felt like the messaging is so on point with this blog and with my life I hope that the message encourages you and fills your heart with self worth and with self love.

  1. My priority is my purpose.
  2. My wholeness is my happiness.
  3. I’m the biggest fan of me!
  4. My “knower” [aka intuition] knows!
  5. I will not shrink.
  6. I do not accept what others falsely project [onto me].
  7. It is OK not to be OK
  8. My heart is priceless.  I will care for it.
  9. I expect to win the lotto of life.
  10. I believe in miracles and restoration.

This will be my final posting to my blog until I have finished converting this blog into a book.  My goal is to have someone like a Toure’ Roberts or a Paul C. Brunson to write the forward and/or epilogue.  I want the epilogue to speak to men and to help men to understand the hurts of women like me and to equip men with the tools to relate to women like me.  With statistics being 1 in 3 women will experience physical abuse and 1 in 5 children will experience sexual abuse, there are a lot of women that need to heal and become whole, and once they are whole, there needs to be a level of understanding in the men that will love them.

I appreciate the friends and family that have gone with me on this journey. Your support in loving me, now that you know the real me is priceless. I want to thank my therapist, you are an amazing woman and I appreciate all of your help, words cannot express how thankful I am for knowing you and for the confidence you have had in me through this process.

Unapologetically,

Friday

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Rebuilding a New You Part 2 – Practice

“Regarding the Negative side of the T.  How can your reframe you’re “I” statements to be more uplifting?  Example:

Lack faith sometimes.  —–”My faith sometimes challenges me to reach a higher level of commitment and awareness.  I welcome the faith challenge.”

Now try to rewrite each negative statement, and practice speaking to new language.  It’s all about what we speak out of our mouth that will help our faith and beliefs. ”
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Practice – this is such a crucial part of the process.  Practice is where you actually put in work.  Practice is what makes champions.  I have to admit when I send my entries to The Therapist, she always adds pearls of wisdom.  I never quite know what her response will be, but I am always in a little awe of how she gets me to think a little deeper – to push my growth just a little further.  And I will indeed rewrite each negative statement with a more positive spin, to continue building my faith, to help me believe…

My faith at times forces me to dig deeper, practice patience, and allow for the universe to show me a different way.  I am learning to appreciate exercising this muscle – with both thought and works of course.

Therapist Affirmation: “My faith grows every day and I look forward to each way I can test it.”

Being uptight actually reminds me to laugh, particularly at myself.  Being uptight reminds me to not to take myself or my circumstances too seriously as I am no more important to the universe than a simple grain of sand and we both are equally important.

Therapist Affirmation: “When I’m uptight it’s a reminder that I can give myself the gift of reducing the significance and allow the natural process to unfold its course.”

What is the positive spin on being overworked…. hmmm.  I left a good paying job to start defining my dream life – all I can say here is my work efforts reflect the kind of life I want to have – I hope like a canvas with the first specs of paint, over time a new picture will come into view.

Therapist Affirmation:  “When I’m overworked, I remind myself that I’m more than enough, and I become more kinder to myself.”

Procrastination is a reminder of how amazing I actually can be when I focus.  Procrastination is an opportunity to focus.  I welcome the outcomes of being focused.

Therapist Affirmation:  “Procrastination allows me to seek more creative and acceptable solutions.”

When I give too much it is an indicator that I must remember me.  I have been many things to and for many people.  Without help a lot of the time when help should have come from people that refused to be as responsible as me and with help at other times coming from loved ones at the most unexpected times and places – but now as I continue to give, I must remember me at the beginning – before I have reached the point of having nothing left to give.

Therapist Affirmation:  “When I give too much, I remind myself that I’m more than enough, and I become more kinder to myself.”

High expectations mean others view me as successful – I should continue to set my expectations high, but remember to enjoy the ride.

Therapist Affirmation:  “High expectations allow me to seek and reach for the development of a better me.”

Demanding – I have to thank the Therapist for this reality check.  We were talking once and  she flat out asked me something along the lines of if you are super smart, with a creative and analytical brain equally shared, and most people are either creative (right brain) or analytical (left brain) don’t you think you need to give other people time. Ah ha.  When I am being demanding I have to remember to see other people where they are and not where I want them to be.

Affirmation:  When I am being demanding I have to remember to see other people where they are and not where I want them to be.

Being hard on myself is a learned behavior.  When I start to be hard because something did not go how I wanted it to go, or a situation did not work out how I hoped, I have to remember this is life, rules are not hard coded and when I want to sulk like a big kid – I have to remember I am human and when I have done all that I can do or what I know how to do my actions were sufficient as am I.

Therapist Affirmation:  “I am wonderfully and sufficiently made.”

Not selfish enough at times.  The positive spin here is the same as “giving too much.”  I welcome the opportunity to consider the self and to consider me.

Therapist Affirmation:  “I matter.”

Planning is an opportunity to plan the details and to remember to leave space for the unexpected. An opportunity to embrace the unknown and to find comfort in not knowing.

Therapist Affirmation: “I welcome the opportunity to plan and create future visions.”

I wear my heart on my sleeve because I choose to love.  That is my choice and how others may respond is their choice.  My loving as I do is an opportunity for me to express without expectation.  The choice to love or not is mine.

Therapist Affirmation:  “The greatest love is the love of self.  It’s a gift that I gladly project to others.”

My independence challenges me to be inclusive. Interdependence is as important as independence.

Therapist Affirmation:  “My independence builds self confidence when not used as a defensive measure.”

Trust is initially created by bonding or feeling a sense of confidence in someone.  When I feel this sensation of accepting folks at face value of trusting they are as they represent themselves to be it is important that I question and observe.  Time allows people to reveal.  I have to trust that time is on my side and remember to question and observe.  Trusting or not trusting of any one or any situation is also my choice.

Therapist Affirmation:  “My trust is earned. I can bank on that!”

Filtering is consistent with thinking of others first – when I feel that I want to filter it is an opportunity to speak in my authentic voice – to say what I want to say – unapologetically.

Affirmation:  I will assert my emotional well being and always speak in my authentic voice.

Being guarded, fret and worry are fear based emotions – and each is an opportunity to grow my faith – one of my favorite bible versus is “there is no fear in love.”  If I am being guarded, fretting or worrying – I face my challenge to let go of fear and explore the opportunities that the unknown may present.  I still myself and become available for possibility.

Therapist Affirmation: “I walk in the endless realm of faith, for anything else inhibits my growth.”

Emotional me – whew…. When I am emotional it is time to hit the button and stop and experience breath, stillness and going internally.  Depending on the emotion – it may also be a time to breath find friends and be social.  Either way when I am emotional it is an opportunity to pause and re-establish self control.

Therapist Affirmation: “I center myself and breathe peace,gratitude and wholeness.”

Being “on one” is the opposite of filtering – it is when I want to drive my point home in an exponential kind of way which may result in the need for apology.  If I find myself “on one” in this instance I will consider others and filter.  I will use the opportunity to use definitive words so that I express myself succinctly thus reducing the need to be repetitive.

Affirmation:  “I trust that my words are sufficient.”

Most people could use better eating habits – as far as a negative, well it is what it is.  I will have salad with my burger and fries – lol.  Every negative that I listed is my personal challenge.  Funny is with this exercise the challenges do not seem as big.  As I was writing I also reflected on past experiences that if I had a plan of action and was not wanting things to be satisfied immediately – my responses would have been different.  The outcomes may have been the same, but how I felt would have been different.  The saying you are the only person that you can control has great truth.  Saying that however to a person that has not learned how to control their emotions is futile – it is the equivalent of giving a man a fish versus teaching him how to fish.  We are the sum of our experiences and as I share my journey I hope that like me you can choose and shape your life.

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  Live the life you have imagined.” Henry David Thoreau

Umapologetically,

Friday

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Rebuilding a New You Part 1- Accounting

” You’re in a phase where you are required to slowly re-design, or create that aspect of yourself that you know to be true.  Who are you spiritually, and what do you believe?  Who are you as a person and how do you present that in your daily life.  What are you interested in career wise and how are you manifested that creative side.  Do a T-chart and just start listing the good, bad and ugly about what you know to be true about you.  Fix the things that you don’t like and celebrate and be that which you embrace. Design and define “WHo you are.”  Own and accept it.”

Being that I am an accountant, I understand clearly what a T-chart is.  On the left side are all of your debits – the positives, and on the right side there are all of your credits – the negatives.  On a balance sheet, the idea is that you will have more positives than negatives.  But if by chance you have more negatives – it simply means you have more work to do on yourself.  Taking a basic accounting of all of your positives and negatives, is one of the simplest and most revealing exercises to help you to start identifying who you are.

Below this is what my T-chart looked like:

POSITIVES NEGATIVES
Believe in awesomeness of God Lack Faith sometimes.
Wake up thankful for life daily. Uptight
Pray for loved ones daily. Over worked.
I love. Procrastinate sometimes.
I give. Give too much at times.
I want to save the world. High expectations.
Love kids. Demanding.
Love Art. Hard on myself.
Love Love. Not selfish enough at times.
Love to Laugh. Over plan sometimes.
Love nature. Wear my heart on my sleeve.
Give good advice. Too Independent.
Good Friend. Don’t know how to ask for help.
I am a leader. Too trusting.
I have a voice. Filter too much.
I am ambitious. Can be guarded.
I am successful. Frett and Worry.
Love to cook. Can be overly emotional.
Love good food. If I get on one – I stay too long.
Love to dance. Could have better eating habits.
Love music.
Love my family.
Easy going.
Flexible.
Aim high.
Detailed.
Good Planner.
Independent.
Super Smart.
Trusting.
Super Creative.
Ideas person.
Highly analytical.
Love travel.
Love to write.
Believe in dreams.
Sensitive
Considerate of others.
Protective.
Enjoy quiet.
Try to see the good in people.
I acknowledge people.
Learning not to stress.
I am evolving.
I am hopeful.
I am honest.
I keep do.  I strive.
Finding my joys.

The process of decoding yourself, understanding your flaws, and taking an accounting so you can focus on who you really are and who you want to be is something everyone should do.  I wish I had done this sooner, but at this time all things fell into place.  The Therapist, The Actor, and even my brother, seemed to be in my life at the same time allowing for revealing in depth conversations.  As human beings we have to be tuned into ourselves enough to know when change is occurring. The other day I was thinking I need a vacation of some kind.  Then I thought about my last vacation.  I took three bottles of wine, one for each day that I was away.  And I drank all three bottles of wine by myself, and was quite tipsy, I would go as far as to say I was numb even, and I wanted to be.  I am at a place where I do not want to numb myself and hide from reality.  I want to explore my thoughts and further define my passions.  Rather than taking down time to hide, I want to be still and listen, I want to get to know me a little better. I might even paint my body from head to toe and take pictures just to see what that might feel like and what I might look like.  It sounds a little odd – but it is nothing more than a life experience and that is what we are here to do – to experience life, particularly in joyful ways.  Knowing that and getting to this place is satisfying to my very soul.

Unapologetically,

Friday,

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The Road To Forgiveness Part 8 – Acceptance

I can forgive all of the poor relationships I was in, I can forgive the times I was afraid and bolted too soon, I can forgive guys for loving me too much too fast and for not loving me enough.  But I have no idea on how to forgive me, because I do not know the solution – how to fix it.  When will I be vulnerable and be able to be me, tough in the boardroom and a softie at home and be loved in the same way that I give – when will I be able to exhale?

Yesterday’s entry required a call from The Therapist…and a cool glass of lemon verbena mint tea over ice.  Make an 8oz glass of your favorite lemon verbena tea – sweeten to taste.  Take about four to six mint leaves and place in a blender with 5-6 cubes of ice – crush the ice.  Pour sweetened tea over the ice – and have a glass.

The Therapist “Miss Friday – you should write a book.  There are so many women that have gone through similar situations and feel exactly the way you do.”  Now I did rehash a lot of what was in my last blog entry with The Therapist. As I explained my inability to forgive something I could not resolve or fix, I thought about my children.  I have a son 17 and a daughter 14.  Because of my life experiences there have been very conscious choices as to how I would raise them.  I have made the point, with both of my children to say, you are handsome son and daughter you are beautiful – know that for yourself.  Do not let the fact that a girl or boy that you like tell you that you are good looking and then you act like it is not something you already know – accept the compliment.  If that is all someone can find to like about you – move on.  I have also told them that if they find that as they start dating, that they really like someone, that is when they should stop and observe things like does the person say something and then follow through with their actions, are they consistent in how they deal with you or do they run hot and cold, are they a good friend.  I have also told the both of them do not let someone manipulate you because they know that you have feelings for them, know that they have feelings for you.  As a mother I can enable my kids with tools to manage their emotions – however I am ill equip to handle my emotions because I was never given adequate tools by my mother.  I understand what all of this logically, but I do not know it, and when I am in the thick of a relationship, finding balance is very difficult.  My kids know what to do, simply because I told them what to do – no one ever guided me as to what to do within relationships and so I do not know what to do.  The Therapist said – WOW.

I asked what exercises or tools did she have for me because I understand my issues – but there still is the how do I forgive myself – because I still do not know how to fix it.  The Therapist said she would think on that and get back to me with something else – perhaps an action word other than forgive.   What I resolved was “acceptance.”  Sometimes there is no solution, life is not always fair, bad things happen to good people and through it all you still have to love yourself.  And I do love me, and I accept my life experiences as they happened, and I accept that I do not really know how to be in a relationship.  I also accept that when I allow myself to be vulnerable, I am an overflowing well of emotions wanting to pour out an abundance of love that for decades has been waiting to express.  I accept the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I accept me as I am, and I am so proud of myself for wanting to understand me better.

I spoke to my brother this morning.  He returned from a tour in Asia.  Personally I am challenged right now, my business is not self sustaining, my car needs some repairs that will be costly, there is a list of things my children need, I need to re-enter the work force to get my family and business on track, and The Actor has to follow his joys and his life’s joy which right now requires all of his attention and I still love him dearly because he has touched the depth of my soul and I am forever changed – but this seems to be our reality, and I am a single mom with bills and pressure.  My stress level is off the richter scale.  In talking to my brother about life and my relationships and being defensive versus the complete opposite, which for me is a vulnerable well of emotions and the idea that I consider myself to be consistently me. I feel like I do not send a representative on dates, I am open and easy going, I do not tend to change – what you see is what you get. But the reality is I have been defensive within most of my relationships.  My brother said “if you learned how to be defensive then who are you?”  I said I do not know.  My brother hit the nail on the head, that is exactly what I am trying to figure out through this process.  When you start to understand where some of your behaviors come from, how some of your responses to people and events are learned behaviors to protect yourself from some point in your life when you should have been protected but were not – it is then that you can begin to see yourself.  It is then that you can start having more understanding with yourself so that you come through, not the wounded child within, not some replication of your parents, or a reflection of ingrained religion or societal roles placed upon you, but you.

When I wrote the “The Issues Part 2- Fear of Telling” chapter I had an epiphany.  I consider myself fairly quiet during sex.  I have talked to girlfriends and they are like girl, you have never just screamed or said some obscene dirty ish…. and I will usually smile or chuckle – no.  They are amazed – I am considered the outspoken one but yet I feel like filter all the time.  When I was six, I had secrets to keep for my abuser, and I had to protect my mother’s very life with my quiet, then I was threatened and told to be quiet by the two uncles and their incestuous behavior, when I was a teen sex was a sin and I was going to hell for fornicating so I had to sneak to have sex and be quiet, when I had my first “O” it was be quiet so my parents do not hear you…. somewhere through the process it had been drilled into me to be quiet about sex.  It was dirty, it was a secret, it was for sinners or bad girls.  Sex is an amazingly beautiful experience and I will have an opportunity to get all of these restraints and conditioned behaviors out of my head and have an earth shattering “O” that might make me howl to the moon.  I cannot wait!

Unapologetically,

Friday

Please Follow me on Twitter @FridayJones1 and Friend me on Facebook TheRealFridayJones