Redirecting Your Focus

Redirecting Your Focus
Finding Your Happiness

By: Shira R Bethea*

 

To me happiness is many things. It is something I have. It is something I wear. Happiness looks good on me. In some ways it is a place. It was a journey finding it. It took longer than I had hoped but once I found it all the things I endured along the way seemed miniscule. I learned a valuable lesson. My happiness could not exist in the environment I was in. There comes a time when you really have to take a serious look at all the components of your life and decide what does and does not belong. That was my problem. I allowed too many things to exist in my life that did not belong. There were people that did not belong and they brought behaviors that did not belong. Once I figured that out, life became increasingly easier.

Do not get me wrong. My life still has it’s challenges. It still has its downs. I am just better equipped to handle anything that comes my way. So how did I get the strength to clean out my life. In one word, faith. Faith that I could overcome any obstacle set before me. Change can be hard. I still pray incessantly. Doing this gives me peace. It gives me strength and it gives me guidance. I have shocked myself with some of the things I have survived. I know it was not through my own strength alone that I survived. I am eternally grateful for all of the good gifts bestowed on me by my creator. That is one of the reasons why I have made a routine of meditating daily.

For me, maintaining a strong personal relationship with my creator is crucial in directing me to healthy human relationships. I knew that I had at least one relationship that was anything but healthy. For some reason, I allowed it. To this day I cannot be sure why. Perhaps I was doubtful of what I deserved. Perhaps I thought happiness was a fantasy. Whatever the reason, it went on far too long. Once I started to clean out my life, I could not stop. It was like a cleansing. It was then that something wonderful and unexpected happened. I fell in love. I fell in love with myself. Bit by bit things started to fall right into place. I was increasingly aware of me; what I had to offer and what I deserved. I found happiness in myself. I found happiness in my faith. I found happiness in my career. I found happiness in my circle of people that I had hand selected.

I never imagined I could be so happy. I believe that is precisely why I settled for less. Thank God for knowing better and doing better.

Make room for the better things that are coming.

 *previously published in Formation Magazine

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When Is It Okay?

When Is It Okay?
A Public Display of Antipathy
By: Shira Bethea

*previously published in Formation Magazine

A recent trip to the grocery store left me questioning my moral compass. It has been days since the incident and I am still wondering if I did the right thing. I arrived at the store just minutes after it opened. The store was practically empty. I passed only one other customer my first few minutes in the store. Then I passed an elderly couple. The couple was stopped at the end of an aisle. They appeared to be in the midst of a quarrel. It happens. No big deal right. Then I saw it. My peripheral vision caught the man swat the woman across the face. By the time I processed what I saw I had already passed the couple. I was, however, heading towards a store associate. I told the associate what I saw. She without even so much as looking at me told me I need to tell a manager. She clearly was disinterested.

Instead of looking for a manager as I was told. I went looking for the couple. The woman spotted me and started to make her way towards me. She grabbed a hold of my cart and began pleading with me. The problem was I did not understand a word she was saying. I was not even sure of what language she was speaking. When the man saw that she had left his side and was now with me, he began to yell in a language foreign to me. At that point I decided to find the manager. I found another associate at the front of the store. When I asked if she was the manager, she replied “no.” I proceeded to tell her anyway. As I told her what I saw another customer interrupted, “The older couple? Yeah, he hit her. That woman is demented and he has no patience.” My facial expression must have said my thoughts because she began to back pedal. She followed up with, “I mean, not that it’s okay. Just tell him not to do it if he does it again.” I was stunned.

The manager did finally make his way over. Just as he did the couple got in line behind me. The cashier whispered to the manager. The manager just stared as the woman continued to talk to no one in particular. I had no idea what she was saying but her tone was that of someone pleading. No one paid her any mind. I watched the manager to see his reaction. He had none. Even after I checked out I lingered in the front of the store just observing. I left when the couple left but I didn’t do anything else. I still think about it because I just don’t know if I did the right thing. It still bothers me.

I had good intentions. Though the feeling I was getting from the people around me was I should mind my own business. I questioned myself the entire ride home. I wondered what was best for both of them. I have heard stories of people coming to the defense of people being abused only to be attacked by the very person they were trying to defend. I wondered if what I saw was a one off moment or did it happen often. Was the woman actually “demented” and if so how would the customer that suggested it even know? Did that even matter? I know being a caregiver is no easy task. I also know what I saw was not okay. I couldn’t help but wonder what would have been the outcome had the authorities been involved. Would the man have gotten the assistance he likely needs to be a proper caregiver? That of course is assuming that he was a caregiver. Would the woman have been completely removed from the situation? Would her new environment even improve her situation. As you can see I still have not come to anything conclusive on this one. This one may bother me for a while. One thing I have learned over the years is to take a lesson from every situation. Instead of coming down on myself for decisions I have made, I try to use the instance as a lesson. That is precisely what I intend to do. I wasn’t prepared for what I saw that day in the grocery store. I had never considered what I would do if ever presented with such a situation. Now I am giving it a lot of thought. I am spending a lot of time thinking about domestic violence, elder care, caregiver support, and even immigration. Even though I still have not come to a concrete conclusion, I feel talking about the situation will better prepare me (or anyone else participating in the conversation for that matter) should I be in a similar situation again. I am curious to get your thoughts on this one. Feel free to share with me how you think you would have reacted had you been in my position. Email me at WhatWouldShiraDo@gmail.com I may share your thoughts in a future article.

 

Bandage Hostage

Don’t worry. I’m safe. To be clear; I am safe, at home, waiting for a package. A few days ago I ordered dresses I had been watching for weeks. It all came together. It was my favorite designer. The limited stock included my size. Pricing was below retail and I received free shipping. Now today is the day, D day, delivery day.

It’s 7a.m. I’m up and I can think of a few errands that need to be run but I cannot leave my post, not until I get that package.  Days like this I briefly (very briefly) miss having a “real job.”  In those days I never had to be present for my deliveries.  All of my packages were signed for and safely kept until I arrived.

I know what your thinking.  What about surveillance? Well surveillance doesn’t protect my packages it just allows me to see them being swiped.  I don’t want the hassle of trying to track down a person that may or may not have my things when found.  Then filing a claim, ugh…I’d rather be held hostage and wait.  It’s a day of torture but the reward is more than worth it.

I predict my delivery will come at 8 p.m. and I will have stayed in the house for nothing.  It usually goes this way.  If I leave it will come the moment I leave the neighborhood but if I wait it won’t come until the very end of the day.

Well my package finally arrived at 8:15 pm.  I was boiling at 8 when it wasn’t her but I got over it when I saw my dresses.  Pics coming soon.

Take a Chance

I love security. I love my safe places. The less risk the better, right? Well not exactly.  Yes there is a certain comfort in sticking with what you know.  The problem is if you never leave that comfort zone, there’s very little room for growth.

There are a few things I have learned over the years.  One is independence is crucial.  Able bodied people must learn to function independently of others.  It doesn’t have to be a thing of permanence. You should, however, not only establish that you can but also be comfortable with it.  I am in no way saying abandon your circle.  Just know how to function independently.

Secondly, get to know yourself. I mean really get to know yourself.  Understand what makes you special  and embrace it.  When you know who you are then you are  able to grow.  You can honestly identify what’s great about yourself and what parts can be improved upon.

Lastly, take chances.  Occasionally step outside of your comfort zone.  If you are not getting the results you want, do not be afraid to make changes.  You may be pleasantly surprised with the result.  The alternative is wondering what could have been.  The result of taking a chance is usually growth.  You should be able to learn something from every move you make.  Self improvements do not come from being stagnant.  Take a chance and take a step towards a better you.

 

Summer Vacation

This time of year typically has me craving the beach. Florida is usually my first choice. With several beaches to choose from and a short flight, it’s an ideal get away for me. However this week has me exploring other options.

This week I had the pleasure of working with the Visit Austin Texas Summer Tour.  Working this tour reminded me of a few of things.  One was Austin Texas is the live music capital if the world.  Who doesn’t like live music? Austin has over two hundred and fifty live music venues making it a music lovers dream.

The second reminder was all the options for lovers of the great outdoors.  Few things bring me more peace than a nature walk or just quiet moments outside.  Austin has plenty of outdoor activities to choose from. Zilker park alone is well over 300 acres.

I still love my Florida vacations but this year two or three summer vacations may be the way to go.  For more info on Austin Texas, visit http://www.AustinTexas.org

Outre Nadi

I have always been a fan of short hairstyles. I love a nice pixie cut or bob. However, I have never had the desire to cut my hair. Fortunately for me, there are ways around that. I have worn a variety of wigs over the years that enabled me to get the short look I wanted without actually cutting my hair.

Well Summer is quickly approaching and I am thinking about short cuts instead of braids this year.  I decided I wanted a short wavy look.  I glanced at a few styles online and decided to start with Outre Nadi.  It took two days for Nadi to arrive.  I was so excited to try her on.  That excitement left quickly.  Actually as soon as I pulled her out.  This is what I was expecting.

This is what I received.

What

Is

This?

It looks like two doll scalps sewn together; two doll scalps with two different textures.  I immediately stuffed it back in the box after sending a picture to the seller.  It gets crazier.  The seller didn’t see the problem.  I was sure I received a wig with a manufacturer defect but the seller said they all look that way.  So in short, if you were considering purchasing Nadi; don’t.  I sent her back.