Power to Choose

Featured above are photos from my first book signing and reading (taken by my then 6yr old G-son). The very first photo is extremely special to me, not because of the accomplishment itself but more so the feedback I received from the audience. I hadn’t noticed until this particular photo was shared on social media where the majority of comments were regarding how intense the focus of the woman was in the picture as I responded to her questions. She asked, ” where do you get the courage to share your story” and “how did I overcome the trauma”? I had no idea those would be the most frequently asked questions from my audience all these years later. My response is, not only do I take back power growing stronger each time I speak my truth, but more importantly I “choose” to reflect on the good regardless of how far and few those moments may have been. It doesn’t benefit me physically or mentally to focus on the bad. It doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten those traumatic life events, only that I decided such events are not how I want to use my energy. Some have said to me, “I don’t have any good times” and my response is that I can understand because I felt the same way until I “choose” a different perspective. It all depends on how I view my situation. “Good times” has been as basic as a home cooked meal after a hospital stay or being released from jail. When I think about those moments, I’m able to still savor the flavors by being reminded my last meal could’ve been worse. I’m convinced that by me choosing to reflect on even the smallest occurrences in my life where the good out-weigh’s the bad!

To share an example of the power in choosing to recognize the good outweighing the bad during my childhood were days when my mother wasn’t battling with her depression. Not being subjected to the abuse and walking around the house on eggshells was one thing, but her being in good spirits and actually wanting to interact with the family are moments I treasure. These were the days when momma would pull out the board games and as I recall, we had all of them and she equally enjoyed each one. Sometimes she’d ask me to pick out one for she and I to play one on one. One of my favorites was Chinese checkers, for some reason I was fascinated with the marbles. Other times she’d plead with me to play Yahtzee. Then there were occasions the entire family would get involved deciding between Uno, Clue, or my all-time least favorite Monopoly. First of all, it takes entirely too long to finish, but momma was always determined. She’d say, “once you start something, ya gotta finish it”. That may apply to most things, but not Monopoly. My younger brothers and I would often fall asleep during the game and my stepdad would get bored after a few hours. Momma on the other hand, took the game so seriously. She loved being the “banker”, probably due to working as a teller previously. Even back then, the thought of going to jail freaked me out so I’d eagerly hope to pull the “get out of jail free card”. I could never seem to collect an entire group of properties to purchase hotels and would lose all my money by landing on the most expensive property, causing me to pay out. It was okay though because my fun came from watching my mother smiling and enjoying herself. Even through dreading the next day when we’d wake up to find the game neatly intact with our money and properties secured underneath the board sometimes with a thin tablecloth covering it because momma was afraid a breeze would disturb her hours of accomplishments. Plus, she intended for us to pick up where we left off.

As a child my mother NEVER celebrated my birthdays, gave me a hug or comfort. I desperately craved those three vital words children expect to hear from their mother’s, “I love you”, yet I didn’t. After spending the majority of my life thinking my mother hated me, it was easy to forgive her once I learned what Mental health is and how to recognize the patterns and behaviors in my mother. I’ve always known that she’s not a bad person so when people ask how or why I’m able to share, the answer eventually became very simple for me. I “choose” to reflect and hold on to the good days spent with my mother. For many years that was all I had. Instead of focusing on what I didn’t get from her, I’d rather stay mindful of the gifts she was able to give me. The life lessons I learned from our game nights that have carried me through rough patches in life. Balancing a check book along with the importance of excellent credit as well as how rewarding it can be in simply keeping your word and being honest. These are the gifts I received by watching her through struggle and overcoming obstacles. I’m fortunate to still have my mother and when she’s gone, I “choose” to remember her in good times as my momma instead of her as a person struggling with illness. Call me selfish but there’s too much anger and negativity in the world as it is, I simply prefer in any situation big or small to take notice in how the good out-weigh’s the bad!

Published by 5thgenerationgirl

Tammy Wynette is a mother of three and a β€œG-MA” (grandma). Born in Warren, Arkansas, she currently resides in Sacramento, CA and is pursuing an AA degree in English at American River College, with plans to transfer to California State University, Sacramento (Sac State). She is an active leader and role model in her community, she works with teens sharing and teaching poetry, as well as providing insight for young parents to prosper. She has certificate from NAMI (The National Alliance on Mental Illness) and is a trailblazer & Griot, keeper of stories/traditions passed down from her ancestors. As an Author and motivational speaker it’d be an honor to present at your events to inspire, encourage & let our VOICES be heard! She has short stories and poems published in Our Black Mothers Brave, Bold and Beautiful!

62 thoughts on “Power to Choose

  1. These are wonderful photos and a nice memory of a time when we can gather for such meaningful conversations! πŸ™

    Your memories of your mother are wonderful. I love that you choose to focus on the good rather than the negative that we can’t change. You are right that it is always the small things, such as the board game nights, that always end up being the biggest in hindsight. And I hear you on the Monopoly never ending games. πŸ˜†

    Mental health is such an awful thing. We have an individual in our family who suffers from related illnesses and it’s debilitated their life for over a decade.

    Lastly dumb question: Have I been calling you the wrong name this entire time? πŸ˜† I’m just asking cuz of the two names on the book signing poster.

    Have a great rest of your weekend!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Lol, I cant recall what’s on the poster. The book is an anthology where much of my work is featured so my name isn’t on the cover only my daughter’s face in the top right corner.
      I was married when that book was published and because I still hold that name I now write under my first & middle name (Tammy Wynette).

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow, thanks so much my dear. That was back in 2015 before my life storm, but I believe that storm was necessary in finding my purpose. I learned valuable lessons & connected with people I may not have if not for those hardships.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful read. I admire your ability to focus on the positive. Our relationships with our mothers can be complicated. I don’t always like mine. I know there were positives, but at times the negatives weighed heavy. These days my feelings have have become more neutral but it doesn’t take much to push them over the edge so I chose to keep my distance and try to keep my mouth shut when in close proximity. The key word is try.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally understand my dear. I love my mother yet we live in different states because Cali isn’t big enough for both of us, lol. I call her from time to time, but it’s still a trigger to hear her voice & at times I try to bare it, but others I simply can’t which is when my brother or children will check in on her for me. I took me a long time to get this far so I know what you mean.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations on your first book signing. What a great accomplishment. I loved this post as choice is so important, choosing what to focus on. I’ve kept a gratitude journal for years and the listings are often just simple stuff…..hot showers, sunshine, clean sheets, a yummy meal, the energy and breath to go for a walk, the beauty I see on my walks.

    I went through several deep depressions and understand how it affects those around you. I’m glad you have some fond memories of playing board games with your Mom. I never liked monopoly as my brother would always bend the rules and wipe me out, plus consumerism and acquiring has never been my focus, making money to make more money never a goal. I loved other board games though. I don’t remember my parents being affectionate or saying “I love you”, but after learning about love languages, I understand that everyone has a different way of showing or stating their love. Perhaps your Mom’s was quality time (when she could rise through the fog of depression) and sharing time with you all via board games.

    Take care of yourself, katelon

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my, I’m actually in tears because you just sparked a great thought. I never thought about it before, but my daughter is constantly talking about how her “love language” is cooking. She finally shared with me how it hurts her feelings a bit when she’d cook & I didn’t eat it & she’s actually a great cook. I simply don’t care for fancy foreign foods I can’t pronounce, lol. I never thought about my mom having a “love language” though & now looking back, I can see where those moments were. Thank you so much for bringing that all as I’m always searching for ways that lead to healing & forgiveness when it comes to my mother.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m glad my comment helped. It sounds like your daughter’s favored way of expressing love is through service.

        I got introduced to love languages many years ago but what brought it into more relevance for me was a massage therapist pointing out my complaint about a current boyfriend as him not being attentive to me. She asked me what that looked for me, giving the example that I might be looking for flowers and chocolate from him when he might be outside changing the oil in my car feeling like he was really demonstrating his care for me by doing that.
        I receive a newsletter each week from the author of the love language books. He has an online quiz you can take that helps you understand what are your main love languages, or preferred ones. Mine are words of affirmation and quality time. I realized that my parents didn’t do words of affirmation and they mostly expressed words of criticism. But they did quality time and acts of service. Gifts were a big one from my Mom as well. So I kept looking for words of affirmation and didn’t receive that. We even have preferred ways of dealing with conflict and preferred ways of someone showing remorse/apologies. In realizing our differences we can be more conscious of meeting others needs in all those areas, just like others can show their love to us more by understanding how it is we feel loved and cared for.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Thanks for the info, I didn’t realize there is a market for the concept of love language. Then again maybe I did & forgot like I do many things I’ve learned since my seizures began. I’ll surely look into the other to find out more.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations on such a milestoneπŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘ And how lovely your story was, very inspiring. I love the lines “Instead of focusing on what I didn’t get from her, I’d rather stay mindful of the gifts she was able to give me”. These lines teach a good lesson to be grateful of what we actually experience and have in life for one day, we can only savor the memories but they will never be as sweet as they once were.πŸ™ŒπŸ‘

    Like

  5. πŸ’œ Self-Ish is Good EveryOne; it’s by Setting Boundaries We Best Assist and Help Others EveryBody

    β€¦πŸ’›πŸ’šπŸ’™β€¦

    Like

      1. πŸ’Ž – Diamond Hard – πŸ’Ž

        πŸ’Ž Right Back atcha SupaSoulSis; more Power to YOUR!!! Elbow

        πŸ’Ž – Diamond Hard – πŸ’Ž

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        Liked by 1 person

  6. First of all QT, congratulations on your book signing. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌ It is a public confirmation of your message but a personal confirmation of you serving your divine purpose. So proud of you girl. πŸ™πŸΌ Your personal experiences, no matter how harrowing or traumatic they were, are wonderful teaching opportunities and awareness enhancers. You can receive some life altering experiences from some of the most unexpected adversities. Carry on my friend! πŸ˜‰πŸ¦‹πŸŒžπŸ’πŸ˜˜πŸ’–

    Liked by 2 people

      1. AMEN Tammy! Halle-lu-yer! πŸ˜„ Yeah, you know I had to get my inner Madea on! LMBO πŸ€£πŸ˜†πŸ˜‚
        There’s so much in our society right now that can push us in a corner, and tell us to give up, but girlfriend, not today, and tomorrow ain’t lookin’ too good either! Keep pressing onward my Queen! You got this!!!πŸ‘ΈπŸ½πŸ‘‘πŸ€΄πŸ½

        Liked by 1 person

  7. You’re a strong person! When I was growing up, I thought my father was the meanest SOB on the planet. It wasn’t until I started working in mental health as a nurse that I realized he suffered big-time from depression and feelings of low self-esteem, and that he had been verbally and emotionally abused as a child. I think it’s difficult for children to realize that their parents are not perfect – that they’re human – and to come to terms with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It wasn’t until around 2012, 13 when I was told by someone with lived mental health experience that my mom exhibited symptoms. That’s when I began my research & realized she didn’t hate me or there was nothing wrong with me. I’d think back to specific moments where the signs were so clear, but as children & culture being a factor, we knew nothing about M.H. nor did our family discuss such things back then.
      By the way, you are just as strong my dear because you’re still here & you inspire and provide hope to others while working in this field. Kudos to you❣️

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This is a beautiful write, Tammy. This here resonates deeply, β€œnot only do I take back power growing stronger each time I speak my truth, but more importantly I β€œchoose” to reflect on the good regardless of how far and few those moments may have been.” A wonderful perspective. The strength you showcase in this is enormous. Thank you for sharing. πŸ’•

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, thanks Jeff I sincerely appreciate your encouragement. It’s not always easy for me to share, but for some reason at times I feel obligated. If my truth helps even one then I’m fulfilling my purpose here on earth. 😘

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for this heartfelt post and congratulations. I also suffer from a dysfunctional childhood and after reading your post, asked God to flood me with good memories. Thank you. What is the name of your book please?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s an anthology featuring a few short stories & poems I’ve actually shared on my blog.
      “Our Black Mothers: Brave, Bold & Bautiful”. There are photo’s of the book throughout my blog I believe still w/ my daughter on the cover. I’m actually working on my book now, but it’s tough to get through, lots of triggers. Thanks dear!

      Liked by 1 person

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