Abstract Expository on Potential

There was a time that I would sit down to write a blog article and the words would flow like water.  It started with a thought about a certain topic or world event.  I would open my laptop and navigate to the place where I could select “new post.”  I quickly scribe the  epiphany and the rest is history.  It is as if the expository was downloaded in me.  I am not sure where that me has gone.  The person that I was is but a distant memory.  I have been so disconnected from the source of my inspiration.  I remember her…but barely.  I wonder how I get in touch with that girl again.  She was honest, she was open, she was authentic and she was fearless.  She wielded the  keyboard keys underneath her finger tips like a sable brush to a pre-primed canvas, awaiting the abstract expository that it would hold.

I got a glimpse of that girl this evening when I realized my “you are here” point in my life.  I am here.  Right here.  Not there.  There is not promised.  Recently, a friend of mine said that she was all shook up because of Charlie Murphy’s death.  She “hates death,” she said, “Although we must all go that way.”  She doesn’t like the concept of that.  Me on the other hand, I don’t fear death and I have thought about death since I was a little kid.  It seems so permanent and so final…it was scary in my childhood.  Today, I don’t fear death.  Not like that. What I do fear is having a life that was not well-lived.  Did I love people as much as I could?  Was I successful in my career?  Do I have responsible, respectful god-children and children? Did I have time to spend with those that are closest to me?  How in the world to I manage trying to take care of a grown adult (my aging mother) when I am still trying to get myself together? There are so many unanswered questions.  I desire to be a successful writer and aspire to have a great career as a counselor.  I want to be a person that embodies love toward others.  The questions that plague me about living life well are about one idea really.   They can all be summed up in one question.  What I really keep asking myself in every area of my life is, “Did I reach my full potential?”

abstract art - rough draft

This is a drawing of an abstract art piece I intended to paint. It seemed very fitting to accompany this article.

The purpose of the abstract painting is to open up a conversation with the inner-self or with your companion(s) if viewed by multiple people.  That’s what I love about abstract art.  Everyone sees something different.  There may be no resolve or the resolve can be a variety of things.  There are infinite possibilities depending on the perception of the viewer.  Perhaps this is what I hold dear about my art and my writing.  It is meant to share a piece of me, the author.  Yet, it is also meant to guide you to some sort of resolve.  Maybe you will share my sentiments on a matter.  Maybe you won’t.  What matters most is that you mulled it over and came to your own conclusion.  This writing is certainly a reminder for me of what my focus is in my writing and in life.  My potential is this abstract concept.  I hope that when I get to the end of my life and I look back, when others gaze at it, they see something beautiful, thought-provoking and maybe even inspirational.  I hope that the people who passed by along the way got a glimpse of something wonderful.

Be encouraged.

Latice Devonne

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Purpose Trumps Pleasure

At the end of May, I had the good fortune to be able to go back to Arizona.  My main reason for going was to attend my brother’s wedding.  I was to leave right after work on a Friday afternoon; I get off work at 3 o’clock.  As the days tip-toed closer and closer to

Robert's Wedding PicFriday, I found myself exceedingly joyful.  I could not wait to see my family and friends that I had left only a year and a half earlier.  It seemed like an eternity had passed since the time of my departure.  When the day finally arrived, I was full of energy like a Mexican jumping bean.

I was going for the wedding on Sunday evening but, I could not wait to get to church on Sunday morning.  You see at church, the people not the building, I found love and total acceptance.  At church, I found hopeful expectation and indeed, the fruition of a predestined appointment between me and the Holy Spirit.  The atmosphere in this place is like nowhere else I have ever been before!  At church, there is always a purpose for my life and a place for me.  I was like Norm in the show “Cheers”…lol.  Everyone knew my name!  More than that, they knew me and I knew them.  I was seeing the people but remembering the stories of the times we spent together on snow trips, horseback riding or helping someone move.  It was hard to leave and I can’t wait to visit again.

As I reflect on this past weekend, I know that I have some wonderful take-aways.  I learned some things that I must put in my pocket and take with me as I am living here now in Los Angeles.  I felt so alive and so at peace there.  It dawned on me that there was a purpose in everything when I lived in Arizona…a purpose in fellowship, a purpose in giving, a purpose in simply being where I was at any given moment.  I sought the purpose in all things.  Here, as I float about my life, trying to keep my head above water…and seeking pleasure, upon pleasure as a relief from the monotony, it occurs to me that it’s ALL MONOTONY and routine behavior to attempt an escape from the hum-drum life.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and I am so glad and grateful to be closer to them and spend time with them because the time is so precious.  However, I have a need for something more.
I think the ‘something more’ that is necessary, is the pursuit of passion in my purpose which is directly opposing the pursuit of passion in pleasure.  The more time I spend on focusing on grooming my pleasures, like, getting male attention or happy hour to relieve stress from constant traffic and the hectic work-week, the less time I spend thinking about my gifts and sharing them with others as I am given the opportunity.  Purpose.  It may be to serve someone with a pure heart at my job, it may be to lead a small group study or to volunteer to assist children with special needs.  I do think it’s very ironic that the first permanent job I have gotten in over a year of being here is…at a church.  I am starting to realize how disconnected I have been from the church, the people but, also from my purpose in general.  I am going to make a list of things that I would like to do that give me the opportunity to explore my purpose in this city, my purpose at my job and my purpose in the local church and the church at large.  If you’ve been feeling like you are floating through your own life, I invite you to do the same.  Let’s channel our passions in the direction that satisfies at the deepest part of who we are.

Be encouraged.

Latice Devonne

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Layers of Grief; Part III

With the holiday season upon me (okay, it’s well past the holidays but it took me a while to finish this topic) I have been trying to force myself to write a happy, cheery message.  However, I have struggle and grief laden topics on my mind.  Perhaps I am a pessimist.  I don’t know.  I think I am a realist and this is what is on my mind and heart so, I’d like to share a few messages about the toll that grief takes on a person and on a family.  I have sat on this topic for over a month and can’t quite avoid it any longer or go around it.  Now is the time to deal with the issue of grief.  I think this will be a series of messages that I hope will by the end of the series give us some helpful and healthy ways to look at and process the grief we experience.  This third section is written with the hope and intention to give some suggestions on helpful ways to process and move through the different aspects of grief we experience and that were discussed in parts I & II.

Part III

In Part II, we talked about the 5 Stages of Grief…denial & isolation, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  I usually try to have some sort of orderly fashion to my writing but, grief as I stated in the last blog post, is not orderly at all.  In fact, disorderly is the name of the game when it comes to grief.  You may experience them in cycles going through each phase more than once, staying in one phase longer than the other or skipping a particular phase all together.  How we experience grief is as different as the individuality that each life represents.  At a still perplexing level, after having said that, there is something so common about grief that we can help one another get through the grief.  On a most basic level, having the comfort, the support and the presence of another human being is such a comfort in times of grief.

  1. I would say, sharing the extent or at least the reason for your grief with someone is a helpful and healthy thing to do so as not to isolate yourself.  If you are not sure who to share with perhaps a counselor can be a  non-objective start to your sharing of your thoughts and feelings.
  2. Seeing a counselor will get you in the habit of talking about the grief you are experiencing.  You will continue to express grief  with them and perhaps in the long run have a better handle on being able to talk with others in your inner circle of friends.  Do ing this will keep you out of or bring you out of the chronic isolation that so often leads to depression.
  3. As far as the subjects of bargaining (with Higher Power) and being angry (with whomever) are concerned, this is where a relationship with Higher Power, or God, is a critical step that needs to be made during the course of your life.  When grief strikes, lashing out at God or other people will ultimately leave you empty and unsatisfied.  Anger is not the cure for disappointment or missing someone but forgiveness and having an understanding of the sovereignty of God is everything. Literally everything! The ability to tap into the power of forgiveness is supernatural.  The ability to make sense out of something that seems so incomprehensible is supernatural. I believe, that the beginning of a close relationship with God is to simply ask.  Just like you would ask someone out on a date that you want to spend time with.  Let the Lord know you are open to His company and His guidance and to open your heart and eyes to know Him. Paraphrasing Psalm 145:18, the Lord is near to all who call on Him.
  4. Your heart and mind can only be settled enough to come to acceptance when your spirit is settled about that grief.  Unlike the loopy loo that grief sends you through, being settled is steady and assured.  Acceptance doesn’t mean that you don’t miss that which you grieve, it just means that you are not stuck in time at the point of grief.  You are able to grieve and move forward.  Like a wounded soldier, it means that if you have any chance of recovery you have got to get back to the base where the infirmary is located.  The infirmary, is it a literal place or a spiritual or emotional place?  I want to say, all of the above.  You do what you have to do and go where you have to go to get that healing that you need.  Some people have found that there was some place that they need to actually go.  For example, after my friend’s father died, she went on the mission trip that she had wanted to go on.  I am sure that getting away brought her some mental healing just to be able to have a change of pace but also, she met her husband on that trip.  His friendship and love brought her another layer of healing in her grieving process.  So, the grief didn’t end but, she was able to move toward a healthy place where she continued to get healing inspire of her grief.  In the midst of your grief, are you being compelled to go somewhere or do something that you’ve really been wanting to do? Perhaps there is healing for you in whatever that is? Just my thoughts…

As I type, I am planning to review this myself.  I think there is healing for you and I in the words on this page.  It is my sincere desire that this is helpful to someone…even one person.  Hit me up, leave a message on the post or the inbox to share your thoughts on this or the previous two blogs about the grief process.

Be Encouraged.

Latice Devonne.

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Layers of Grief; Part II

With the holiday season upon me I have tried to force myself to write a happy, cheery message.  However, I have struggle and grief laden topics on my mind.  Perhaps I am a pessimist.  I don’t know.  I think I am a realist and this is what is on my mind and heart so, I’d like to share a few messages about the toll that grief takes on a person and on a family.  I have sat on this topic for over a month and can’t quite avoid it any longer or go around it.  Now is the time to deal with the issue of grief.  I think this will be a series of messages that I hope will by the end of the series give us some helpful and healthy ways to look at and process the grief we experience.  This second section is to help us gain an awareness of the 5 Stages of Grief.  In Part III, I hope to wrap it all up by giving some suggestions on helpful ways to process and move through the different aspects of grief we experience.

According to Psych Central, “There are five stages of normal grief that were first proposed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book “On Death and Dying.”

Part II

As a child, the holidays represented a time of bliss and all was celebration to me.  However, as an adult, I reflect on the family members that are no longer here with us. Some people have broken relationships due to divorce or other irreconcilable differences and traditional times of celebration are just not so jolly. About a year ago, right before Thanksgiving, I lost my father.  Although we were not as close as I would have liked to be, I had a level of understanding of who he was and I certainly loved him.  I was a little melancholy for different reasons as the anniversary of his death came about.  I can only imagine how difficult it is for those that have lost a relationship that was all good with someone who was very close. Some grief can be so gripping on you, that it feels like you can never get past it.  Perhaps, understanding what is happening to us is a good first step in trying to figure out how to take the next step.  Let’s take a look at the five stages of grief.  

The 5 Stages of Grief

Denial and Isolation – We may deny that we are grieving the loss.  Sometimes, I think we don’t recognize what we are going through as grief because it doesn’t involve death or the loss of a person.  You can grief the loss of a relationship such as a divorce or a friendship that ended. You can also grief the loss of a community.  When I left my church family in Arizona, I grieved that loss for almost a year before I realized that this feeling that I am having is actually that of a loss. This is grief and I sorely missed the community that I was a part of.  When you move neighborhoods, or change jobs or in some cases, even change your phone number, the chain reaction can ultimately lead to a break in relationships.  Mothers that have had abortions don’t anticipate that they will have this grief because the world tells them that “it’s not a baby yet,” but I beg to differ.  There have been too many women that have experienced the loss from ending the mother-child bond.  Step one would be to recognize your separation that is causing grief for what it is.  According to Psych Central, “It is quite normal to rationalize overwhelming emotions…We block out the words and hide from the facts. This is a temporary response that carries us through the first wave of pain.”

AngerLots of us have been acquainted with feelings of anger.  Some of us are angry and we don’t even know why.  If this is the case for you, I would highly recommend reflective- journaling to help you get to the root of the matter.  As it relates to grief, we can be angry about having to make the continuous changes that cause a break in various relationships.  For example, you get laid off work and subsequently lose your apartment.  This may cause you to have to move your job and housing situation, which in turn causes a loss of neighbors, co-workers or even friends.  A person can also be angry about how a relationship ended.  Maybe a boyfriend left you for another girl but, didn’t give you a satisfactory explanation.  Another scenario might be, your aunt with whom you were feuding passed away and you never got to tell her that you were sorry and that you wished things could have been different. Yet and still, it could be that you had a great relationship with your mom and you feel like she was taken away from you too soon. Sometimes we get angry at the person for leaving us or we may direct our anger at the doctor who couldn’t save the loved one.  It’s not even uncommon for a god-fearing person to be angry with God about how things turned out.  Let’s recognize the underlying cause of our anger because it’s only then that we can address it in a way that helps us moved to the next stage.

Bargaining – We come to terms with the fact that our anger may be misplaced.  We pull out all the stops to assert our last-ditched efforts to maintain some sort of control over the situation.  Some have been known to attempt to manipulate our circumstances by bargaining with ourselves, with other people or with God.  We say things like, “God if you would just save my so-and-so, I will…”  You fill in the blanks.  I don’t know that bargaining works in any facet of the grief process but, the one thing is for sure.  If you are bargaining, at least you know what it is you want to happen, although that may be something that will never happen.

Depression – Just writing that last sentence made me a little sad.  What a sense of hopelessness to know that I may be in a situation that very likely will not go my way.  The army vet who lost his legs in an explosion has to come to terms with the fact that he may never walk again.  A housewife reluctantly signed the divorce papers but, now has to figure out how to raise a child and pay the mortgage on one income.  Depression can happen when it sets in that this is really happening to me.  This is NOT what I wanted and I have no idea how to get out of this place. So, I sit here in my mess at a total loss.  Some people can’t even get out of bed, they don’t eat or engage in any of their regular activities. However, other people force themselves to go through the motions but they go through them in a numb state. Hopefully, a person has family or friends to walk with them here so, they don’t have to be in this state alone.

Acceptance – In due time, we arrive at acceptance.  This does not mean that we stop grieving or will ever stop grieving, it just means we come to terms with what has happened.  Our minds are finally able to process the fact that this relationship is forever changed.  I will not see my loved one again.  We miss them immensely but we accept that they will not be at the family dinner this year.  In the case of a divorce, that we agree to live two separate lives and no longer as one.  Maybe when we accept this we can deal with the feelings of rejection and inadequacy.  There will come a time and there comes a time, when we regain our self-worth and our joy again.

 

Resources:

Psych Central Website

http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-5-stages-of-loss-and-grief/

Grief website

http://grief.com/the-five-stages-of-grief/

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Layers of Grief; Part I

With the holiday season upon me I have been trying to force myself to write a happy, cheery message.  However, I have struggle and grief laden topics on my mind.  Perhaps I am a pessimist.  I don’t know.  I think I am a realist and this is what is on my mind and heart so, I’d like to share a few messages about the toll that grief takes on a person and on a family.  I have sat on this topic for over a month and can’t quite avoid it any longer or go around it.  Now is the time to deal with the issue of grief.  I think this will be a series of messages that I hope will by the end of the series give us some helpful and healthy ways to look at and process the grief we experience.  This first section is about the grief of losing a family member to Alzheimer’s.  Part II will be denotations and connotation on the stages of grief.  In Part III, I hope to wrap it all up by giving some suggestions on helpful ways to process and move through the different aspects of grief we experience.

 

Part I

The hardest thing about having a big, loving family is when one passes away. The absence of one person’s presence changes everything! And so, we are constantly, as a collective, becoming something else with each new loss. My mother’s cousin,my second cousin, just passed away. She was absolutely a matriarchal figure in my family. She was even the namesake of my great-grandmother. The culprit was Alzheimer’s disease, which takes a person’s life in slow, sequential stages.  This has in turn left me with layers of grief.

Alzheimer’s is an illness that seems to rob loved ones of their family member several times over.  I watched and supported my godmother and my cousin as they cared for their mothers as they grew into these completely different people. Or maybe they grew into the most intense version of their true identities. They were my great aunts. One, Aunt Lizzie, was as sweet as can be. “What you want me to do daughter?” “Thank you so much!” and other such pleasantries squeezed between the soulful hums…”doo, doo, doo, dooooo.”  That was Aunt Lizzie, as sweet as peach pie. Memory fading with no recollection of people from days gone by but, it didn’t matter, she’d talk kindly to the stranger just the same.  I gleaned a lot of wisdom from her, even then.  Then there was my aunt Fanny. I grew up a few short blocks from her house and she was always nice to me but, when her memory faded…she was mean.  She didn’t trust anyone, cussed everyone and kept a generally combative disposition.  My, oh my, did her daughters have a challenging time taking her on trips and well, just taking care of her period. I often wondered what caused the difference in each of my aunts dispositions because, after all, Lizzie and Fanny grew up in the same household. They were sisters.

 

Now it is Fanny’s daughter, my second cousin, who has also succumb to this mind-snatching disease. I watched as my cousin forgot things and began to keep a journal to remind herself of the things that she sometimes “forgot.” She spoke of taking pills to help slow the progression of what was happening to her. When her husband passed away, she took a turn for the worse. I think she began to hear things and imagine people were coming into the house. How terrifying. It wasn’t real but, it felt real to her. To avoid the confusion of daily life as it were, she tried to drown her problems in booze. Sadly still, this only exacerbated the problem. I heard a tale of people taking advantage of my cousin because she wouldn’t remember anyhow.  Those people who really did her wrong got off fancy free. On the contrary, on a visit, I was accused of stealing something to put it in my house even though we were just sitting there. “This belongs to you dear cousin and we are in your house. I’m not taking it anywhere,” I said. Then there came the long, hard stares at the seemingly familiar yet, unknown. The visits become less frequent because losing you is hard to bare. Then the loss of coherent speech, then movement, finally it is a task to even remember how to swallow.
Just when I thought there were no more layers of this grief or trouble. There is yet another. This disease takes a loved one’s life and I am reminded yet again of the loss of a family member, a matriarch. Who will research the family line and bind it in a book for us all to remember our family history? Who will teach us of the stories and songs of our great-grandparents? In whose home will we meet for holiday dinner to reconnect with the ones we love? I feel a disconnect from the past happening in this moment. Ripples of change wash over us and I don’t know how to navigate these waters of unfamiliar territory. Part of me was relieved that my cousin will finally get to rest in peace. In fact, a small miracle happened. She told her husband she was coming to see him just before she slipped away. I am sure she was happy to be reunited with the spirit of her husband, sister and mother who went before her.  I asked my mother if she was glad that her cousin would no longer be in the state she was in. She said, no I’m not happy. I am sad and I will miss her. I have been missing her.

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Miss the Sky

This morning I rise to the noisy complaints

of the child who’s room is across from mine.

His older brother must torture him all the time,

As it’s a familiar occurrence to wake

or attempt falling asleep to his whine.

 

Since I’m up, I open the balcony door.

Greeted with a fresh inhale of cool, smoggy air

and the blue-grey of the adjacent apartment there

which blocks my view of, well, anything really.

I don’t know what I am looking for

yet, I long to see it.

 

I put on my outside clothes to take a stroll up my block.

Into 90० pathways, I’m locked,

lined with trees and stucco facades

with every tick of the clock.

I turn the corner and more of the same,

more of the same, more of the same.

I’m sick of it, I want something different.

 

I pack up the car and drive east, I drive and drive

not knowing where this journey exactly is taking me.

At the base of the San Jacinto Mountains

I am drawn upward on winding, narrow roads

that bend to the will of the earth beneath them.

Perhaps I can see over my dilemma there.

 

Arrived in time to park and watch the sunset.

Magnificent show of lights and colors

dancing over the valleys into their exit,

stage left…there’s nothing left.

Just me and the darkness, night sky.

I opened the sunroof to peer

at the celestial encore.

Hard to believe that anything could be

more beautiful than the before.

 

by Latice Devonne © 2015

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Fractions; As Related to the Whole

Some years ago, I was a resource specialist teacher who taught Algebra.  A resource specialist is responsible for being able to teach general education concepts to remedial learners who are in general education classes.  Many of my students had struggled with math for years and were on their second or third attempt at passing their math class.  The ability to recalculate fractions, decimals and percentages were a large portion of Algebra and a major focus of state testing at the time.  I was charged with figuring out the mental roadblocks that hindered them from grasping mathematical concepts because once that door was unlocked, the math became manageable for them. I dare not say, it became easy but it became much easier to complete them when doing geometry proofs, word problems, etc.  One of the concepts that “unlocked” mysteries for students was to get them to understand what a fraction is, in relation to the whole.  Fractions make more sense when you can establish their relationship to the things around them that they are a part of.  For example, if I explain the fact that one sixth can be explained as one soda can taken from a 6-pack. Or, it can be one slice of a pizza that has been cut into 6 pieces. You see? The concept of what a fraction represents is now much more clear.  It’s about relationships!  

an-equivalent-fraction

Single people around the globe and particular within the US, need to come to the understanding that their singleness is not just about them.  In fact, they are not actually singles but, rather they are individual parts that make up the whole. How much relief comes to the community as well as the mental state of individuals to know that they are not floating around separate from everyone else. Think about it.  Single people, you are not alone.  You were never alone.  You are not meant to be alone.  You were born into a family, a whole group of which you are an integral part.  What part do you play in your family? Now some of us have wacked out families and we really don’t too much want to be involved with their crazy behinds. That’s okay too.  I may even say that this may be a healthy choice for you.  Nevertheless, you are still part of a whole.  Let me give you some ideas about what your whole can be.  Your whole can be a group of friends that you have had since high school or college, your coworkers, a religious group that you belong to, your neighborhood, etcetera.  You are a significant member of each of the circles to which you belong.
How are you a significant part you may be wondering?  Well, just like the fraction.  When your ⅙ is not there, something is missing.  The community is not reaching it’s full potential.  I’ve noticed in my coming of age, some friends getting married, breaking relational connections, having children and then getting divorced.  Not all of them got divorced but approximately half of them have.  What if you, single person, was the missing piece to your friend’s community?  What if you had been available to watch the kids so that mom and dad could have a date night or attend a marriage conference?  The community, or your whole, needs a variety of people, married, single, young and old, to make it work properly.  I propose that single people are a vital part to the thriving of their various communities.  I have had the great pleasure of being able to walk with two friends of mine, as they got their businesses up and running.  One is married with children and the other was single at the time but, because of my status, I was able to be that piece that helped to propel them forward by teaching a workshop, attending a business conference with them or just having the time to give a word of encouragement. Single person you are significant to your family, your single friends, your married friends, your coworkers, your neighborhoods, your work associations and volunteer organizations.  The only question you have to answer for yourself is, “What part do I play in the whole?” and then to start doing it. Of course, relationships are always a two-way street.  If the other party rejects your willingness to be a part of their “whole” just keep searching because several other people groups and organizations are in need of the missing piece that you offer.

 

It maybe helpful to do an equivalent fraction activity to help grasp the concept above.  If not, it’s always a good activity for the kids to practice their math.

Math worksheets for kids. easy fractions

Math online practice and game sites:

www.aaamath.com (elementary & middle grades)

www.purplemath.com (high school & adults)

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Suicidal (modified)

(The introduction of this article has been modified as it was brought to my attention by a reader that my intent was lost by my choice of words.)

September is National Suicide prevention month.  While there are many articles targeted toward people with suicidal thoughts and tendencies…I think it is just as important to focus on improving the thought process of the community around these individuals. They say things like, “I just thought you were a strong person,” or “I have never thought about suicide.” These comments and mentalities are extremely unhelpful at best and antagonizing at worst. People may believe that suicide is an act of selfishness.  After all, the decision to commit suicide is a finite statement by someone that their ultimate concern, relief from mental anguish, is more heavily weighed than the effect their death has on people in relationship with him/her. The act of suicide affects many people.  The passer’s by who don’t know the person and witness a suicide are affected, the people who are relatives of the deceased are left to forever wonder about the loss, the mindstate and the eternal resting place of their loved one.  It somewhat leaves everyone with an utter sense of dismay. I have a cousin who committed suicide and I remember all the questions and mental anguish that was brought upon us even though I was a very young at the time.  In fact, at the time, I was too young to understand why anyone would want to take their own life.  The pressures of life are real and can be severe.  If a person gets wrapped up in a “woe-is-me…I’m living in hell” perception of their lives, wouldn’t it be easier to tap out?  Think about it, I don’t have to endure any more bodily pain or mental suffering, I don’t have to file for bankruptcy or live on the streets, I don’t have to replay that molestation in my mind any longer, I don’t have to process not one more rejection.  Suicide is the great escape from emotional turmoil for the individual who can’t seem to think beyond themselves and their problems.

 

My intent is not to rip on people who have these thoughts but to explain their thought process and how loved one’s can help.  I desire to be objective and to highlight the relational aspect as much as possible also.  I do recognize that many people who commit suicide are suffering from mental disorders and some even, the physical pain of chronic illness. I’d like to share some discoveries and connections that mental illness has with suicide rates.  According to webMD.com suicide is a “potential consequence for major depression disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, substance use disorders and anxiety disorders like bulimia and anorexia nervosa.” One of the biggest problems with diagnosis and treatment of clinical or major depression is that people don’t recognize the symptoms. WebMD.com goes on to say that, “Approximately half the people who experience symptoms never do get diagnosed or treated for their illness. Not getting treatment can be life threatening. More than one out of every 10 people battling depression commits suicide.  Over 90% of people who die by suicide have clinical depression or another diagnosable mental disorder.”  Since depression carries such high risk of suicide, perhaps we should delve into that mental illness a little more deeply.

 

Let’s talk about how to identify and help those who are depressed and furthermore, contemplating suicide. What options does a person have who feels like they don’t have any other viable way out of their current state of life?  Are you an option?  How can you help your loved one?  You can simply love them.  Often enough a depressed person feels detached from other people so, letting them know that you love them is a huge thing.  I believe it also helps to combat that self-focus that I described at the beginning of this article.  Another thing you can do is to recognize the warning signs of suicide with depression.  Don’t be afraid to ask them direct questions as the ones listed on the suicide assessment that I have linked below.  I’ve also attached other research and reading on this subject. You are your loved one’s best hope so, educate yourself on the issue.

  • A sudden switch from being very sad to being very calm or appearing to be happy
  • Always talking or thinking about death
  • Clinical depression (deep sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping and eating) that gets worse
  • Excessive sadness or moodiness; long-lasting sadness, mood swings, and unexpected rage. Sometimes rage is turned inward.
  • Having a “death wish,” tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death, such as driving through red lights
  • Losing interest in things one used to care about
  • Making comments about being hopeless, helpless, or worthless
  • Putting affairs in order, tying up loose ends, changing a will
  • Saying things like “It would be better if I wasn’t here” or “I want out”
  • Talking about suicide (killing one’s self)
  • Visiting or calling people one cares about
  • Recent trauma or life crisis

Resources:

Printable Suicide Assessment ~ Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS)

Peer-reviewed Article ~ Psychiatric Times, c.2009

Online Informal Assessment & Resources for the Suicidal~Physc Central

Immediate help hotlines:

Anybody who expresses suicidal thoughts or intentions should be taken very, very seriously. Do not hesitate to call your local suicide hotline immediately. Call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) — or the deaf hotline at 1-800-799-4TTY (1-800-799-4889).

*** If need be, you can also take them to emergency to get diagnosed. ***

Other risk factors for suicide include:

  • One or more prior suicide attempts
  • Family history of mental disorder or substance abuse
  • Family history of suicide
  • Family violence
  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Keeping firearms in the home
  • Chronic physical illness, including chronic pain
  • Incarceration
  • Exposure to the suicidal behavior of others
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Metro Meditations

I pay attention to some things
that are nothing to most passers by.
Their lives are passing them by
and they don’t see you
in the midst of the hustle and bustle,
trying to get from point A to point B.

Open blinded eyes
to observe, silhouettes
of majestic mountain highs,
as you keep us in the valleys.
Little miracles walking all around me…
“Goodmorning miracle,
pleasure to make your acquaintance.”

How can I represent you today?
Surely, where I am there you are.
In the wind that blows dew upon my face
and wraps around me, a cool embrace.
Sunlight breaks through the clouds
Highlighting the heart of Los Angeles downtown.

Time has stopped.
I am suspended over my day.
I’ve slowed down just enough to sip lemon tea
and pause atop the Metro station,
not too far from my parked car.
I feel you, I see you, I breathe you…
there you are.

 

Latice Devonne 2015

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Alpha Female; The Secret of Submission

This article is directed at the alpha females, like the title states, and the men who love them.  What I mean by alpha is the dominant type of woman.  I took a horseback riding class about a year ago and it proved to be very eye-opening about the order of things in the natural realm.  Amidst the animal world there is one clear and dominant leader of the group. There is a pecking order too so, when the dominant one leaves the group, a second in command sort of takes over that alpha role. That leader can be a female horse at certain times but more often than not, it is the biggest and baddest of the bunch…usually a male horse, thus the term alpha male.  When that alpha male is present everyone is acting in the submission to his will. They are free to move about as they please for the most part but, they do not want to bear the consequences of being outside of the will of the leader.  They stay within the boundaries that have been set in the relationship.  Our society has bred a different type of woman.  She is the alpha female.  She often finds it difficult to come under the authority of someone else because she is used to being the boss.  This is not always out of her choosing but sometimes it’s out of pure necessity.  She is college educated, she is physically strong, she is independent, and she is in charge…a leader.

 

Looking back it’s sort of ironic that a group of my college-educated girlfriends and I got together to read, a few popular books at the time, about dating and finding Mr. Right.  Some of the books had terrible advice so, I will not even mention the titles of those.  However, one of the books we read, “Knight in Shining Armor,” by P.B. Wilson, proved to be very insightful.  The book was more about a lady preparing herself to be ready when this guy came around rather than some of the other books which spoke of how to manipulate men into doing what she desires them to do. Honestly ladies, the manipulation tactics work!  However, in the end, your life and relationship will be a mess because the principles of manipulation are not enough to sustain a relationship.  There is no character development in manipulation.  God is all about developing my character.  I say that the Wilson book is the better book for us to read and soak in it’s principles because, it is solely focused on character development.  In this book, she refers to the perplexing concept of submission.  In fact, she declares that we are “liberated by submission.”  Wow!  Liberated as in freedom?  I could not believe what I was reading because in my limited frame of mind, I thought to be submissive meant that I didn’t get a voice and someone else gets to walk all over me basically. My poor view of submission truthfully is the very thing that had me bound. What is a healthy view of submission then?  And, how do I walk in it?

 

Submission is not being weak.  In fact, true submission requires that a strong person willfully submitting themselves unto another person.  The only way two leaders can coexist is for one of them to be submissive to the other at any given point in time. It takes an amazing guy for a strong woman, an alpha female, to submit herself unto him.  Honestly guys, the alpha female wants desires leadership.  That’s why the recent movie about submission, although twisted, was popular among many women.  There is an underlying truth to it. Deep down inside, we crave the leadership of a man.  That doesn’t mean we desire to be handled harshly nor, does it mean we want our mates not to value our opinions.  It just means that the guy that we choose to submit to must be submitted to the will of God.  That’s right! I am proposing that submission is not just for women.  The powerful, alpha male has to be in tune with the wisdom and direction of God regarding how to handle this woman.  We can be a bit much to handle and confusing to understand sometimes.  The man who does not have divine revelation about things can become withdrawn, abusive, insecure or some combination of the three.

All people benefit from practicing submission to earthly authority, submission to the will of God in one’s personal life and ultimately submission to one another within the context of marriage.  A healthy, dynamic relationship is one where the man and the woman willfully submit to the will of the other.  However, if there is an impasse, where no agreement can be arrived at and neither wants to yield, the woman should trust the leadership and love of her husband.  This must not be simply a formula for her but, also done out of divine revelation and trust for God as well. It’s like she yields to his decision knowing that he has considered all things before making the move and that he has consulted with the Most High for direction as well.  (Side note for those dating: It is oh so important while courting that you observe his decision making capabilities, how he treats people in general and if he has connection with or is willing to submit to authority or higher power.) If we were at a stop sign and both parties decide to go at once, they will crash.  Instead of letting the relationship crash, someone must yield. Sometimes it will be him that yields, sometimes it will be her however, at a major impasse, the natural order of things is that she should yield.

 

I hope that this article causes the enhancement of some dynamic, power couples and a greater understanding of the beauty of submission for men and for women. If you happen to be in a committed relationship with someone who is withdrawn or insecure, I suggest marital counseling with someone who has been married for some years and believes in the leadership or connection with a higher power. That’s critical. If you are in an abusive scenario, please get to a safe place and reassess your options but keep yourself and your children safe. In a perfect world, all relationships are worth salvaging however, as alluded to in this article you have got to have two willing submissives.

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