With Love, J. Sheppard

The Heart of Your Assignment

jelina sheppardComment

He asked me, “How’s your heart?”.`
What if I told you I know what your “purpose” is? Because I do and you should know too. 

In my latest book I talk about how every relationship you encounter and invest in should be one of purpose; and yield or show some evidence of a desirable return. Well, the same principle applies to the spiritual relationship you take on if you’re into that sort of thing. For instance, I love Jesus. He’s my savior..... When storms are raging..... he’s my shelt.... (sorry, sometimes I’m musically minded.) But anyway, Jesus is my guy of choice. (For my hearts out there, this piece is very biased, but truthful nonetheless.) 

When it comes to your relationship with him, you have what is called a greater purpose or “assignment”. So in the Christianity realm, everyone’s assignment is different.... to a certain extent. (Again, my own personal belief.) While God has given us all different things to do and accomplish while here on earth, at the heart of every assignment is worship. God created us to worship him... that’s really the foundation of why we were created.

Isaiah 43:21, “the people I made especially for myself, a people custom made to praise me.” (MSG).

I mean think about it, what is the one thing that every Christian is supposed to be able to do? What is the one “gift” we all have in common? Worshipping. (Sidebar: when we worship, it is a gift from God to us. Whose changed through worship? Not him... He’s God and needs nothing... but we are always changed for the better when we engage in worship and beautiful things happen for us when we do. So, there you have it. It’s a gift... or present. ) 

Worship is a gift, yes, but it’s also a gift in the sense of God-given ability... and it’s an ability every Christian has.  It is what unifies us as a body. Even though we have different talents, giftings, and even sin struggles... we all have one thing in common and that’s the ability to worship. We are equal in that area. Reason being, worship is based on relationship. I come so that you may have life more abundantly.... or For God so loved the world he gave his only son...whoever believes in him can have everlasting life.” God wants to have a relationship with every being he’s created. Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you..... Well if you know anything about being “known” in the Bible, it centers around intimacy, hence relationship, which brings me back to worship. The closer your relationship is with God, the better your ability to worship. So yeah. At the heart of everyone’s assignment in Christ, is worship. 

If when you go into the house of God, assemble yourself with the body for worship, or do anything for God’s glory; if you do everything that your assignment entails but don’t offer up sincere worship (whatever that looks like for you, just know it’s your relationship on display), you haven’t given God 100%.... you haven’t done everything you’re supposed to do in your assignment. I sing a lot... but that’s not why I was created... my singing is merely an avenue or tool he gave me to use in my worship. The number one priority for my vocal ability is not to entertain people or collect money. My number one use of the tool he gave me is to worship him. I’m to use my voice to show off my relationship with him and let it be known, God gave me this talent. And with this talent I’m going to “multiply” or use it in different ways to glorify him. The more I do that, my gift begins making room for me to do more, including meet my needs as long as I seek ye first the kingdom of God... then ALL things will be added unto me. What things are added? Whatever is going to increase you and make your time here on earth a better expression of relationship with him. Anyway, I’m starting to ramble so let me wrap it up. 

I gave that example of me singing, but the truth is, it applies to anyone and every ability or talent and skill we have. When we come together as “believers”, the way we show unity or demonstrate we are one body with different functions, is through our heart. You only have one and without it, your body doesn’t work. Yeah the brain is important and needed, but you can be brain dead and still be considered “alive”. However, if your heart dies, nothing else will function or work. 

I said all that to say, at the heart of every assignment is worship. How well you worship represents the health of your “heart” which is directly linked to your well being. You are a worshipper first before all else, so when you get caught up in “serving” and being busy in life or ministry and you start to get sidetracked and flustered by the logistics... get back to the heart of your assignment.

If you want eternal life, build perpetual worship.

Ridiculed and Unprotected.

jelina sheppardComment

You know why I’m most times reluctant about giving love a chance? Because somehow I think most people have created an version of who I am but lack the capacity to love who I really am. I am an empath when it comes to those I love, so a disappointment for you becomes a disappointment for me. What happens when I’m not what or who you think I am? So often the sobering reality of what we create in our heads is lackluster compared to our imagination.

“Be open”, “Don’t be so defensive”, “If you’re not open then you become the problem”…. and after a week of trying to do just that, everything within me is screaming “BUMP THAT! DON’T DO IT, J”. It’s cumbersome not knowing how people really see you. People don’t have a deep relationship with you but they gather so much based on “what they see” and there’s a real fear for me that they’re all wrong.

I should just tell everyone where they can place their kisses and walk away. Throw the towel in before I gain 30lbs and overwhelm myself in stress. You know I don’t think it’s a relationship with Jesus that’s stressful. I think assignments from him is where it becomes stressful because he’s like that professor we all hate. The one who gives you as assignment with no clear directions… and then with the vaugity of directions its up you to interpret and you are just praying God (go figure) that you do the assignment right. So yeah. That’s what God is like right now, and I’m not afraid of failing. That has never been my stumbling block. I’m afraid of disappointing people by discovering who I am. Another weighty question I have with people is, do you have patience?

Right now what my self care wants me to say is “Stop. Please don’t come any closer.” Some relationships need boundaries because the closer they get, the more they hurt and I’ve said it before but I’ll iterate again. I’m not ready to be open to hurt again. I don’t want to lose sight of who I’m serving. Approval is one hell of a threat and yet, Lord no matter what happens, don’t let me care about my relationships more than you. Please send clear signs that I’m doing what you ask and require of me. Now is not a time to be silent or busy on me. I’ll die if you don’t hold my hand and walk with me. I don’t want to rely on anything or anyone, I want my dependency to be on you. Please don’t disappoint me because I don’t live up to you. “Made in your image” is not “made to be you.” We were in a solid place last week and now I’m ready to tell you “I’m not with the shits”…. (and yes I have to say it that way because it adds color to the conversation). I’m really confused what the new guy wants from me.

Trust is so expensive and a heart is so fragile.

While the two should work well most times they’re like oil and water, they don’t mix. And I’m starting to feel like “this not gone work” so before we get too caught up in it, let’s reconsider. I never wanted to be great, famous, or known… and now I’m starting to regret wanting to be effective. Still at the heart, I just want to be loved, cared for, safe, and protected. All this extra is whatever. I’m needy and I feel like you’re not right next to me. I need to feel you at all times, since you’re everywhere at all times. I need to feel… and I don’t feel good things at all.

I want to feel good things.

Today, I actually heard the frustration, madness, and slight disappointment in his voice as if I’m not who he thought I was. As if I’m not who he thinks I am and that’s been difficult to process. All these thoughts, how deep is his patience for me before he throws me away? Isn’t that what King Henry did to most of his wives and “most humble servants”? Some beheaded, some cast away, and some just basic death. Nevertheless, what I wanted to say….

“I’m mad at you too and you getting on my nerves because you pissing me off. (Now that doesn’t even make sense ha, but it’s a real sentiment). Can’t you see I’m under a lot of freaking pressure trying not to disappoint you by being who I think God is calling me to be?! HAVE SOME FREAKING SYMPATHY. I love you a great deal and I’m trying but you haven’t exactly laid out the steps from A to Z on what to do and how to get us there. So, chill out a sec…. Ridiculed and Unprotected. Wow.”

I’m strecthed for the week, hashtag already over it. I still love you though and we gone be alright but at the same time, screw this.

The "Single Parent Insecurity"....

jelina sheppardComment

So, its been a minute but mind your business. I’ve been writing and will have so much to update you on soon. But… this one, I felt needed to be published. There are so many insecurities that come with having a baby outside of marriage when it doesn’t work out between yourself and the other parent. The number one thought I had in 2012, “J who’s gonna want you with a kid?” “Who’s gonna want your kid if his own father doesn’t?”… Those were my real sentiments. It’s a real insecurity and I dare to say other single parents develop the same fear. Maybe not the latter thought, but the one about who will want them with a kid is a UNIVERSAL thought at the very least.

It’s not that we don’t love our seeds because we do and it’s not that having kids is the worst thing ever, it’s just it’s a real responsibility and if there’s anything real adults shy away from… MORE RESPONSIBILITY. I say that because people who handle responsibility well understand the weight and pressure that comes with that. Responsibilties are sometimes taxing and so our fear, “our” being single parents, is “who in their right mind would want to take on the weight of a responsibility that is not their own?”….

So… we don’t do a lot of relationships. The single parents who parent well don’t do a lot of relationships. Reason being? When relationships don’t work out, it reinforces the insecurity. This is why I advise anyone who is trying to date or be in a relationship with a single parent, to really assess what you’re getting into and to approach him or her with their family being at the forefront. It’s not a “oh I wonder what it’s like being with a mom or dad”…. it’s not a fantasy or training ground to see if you have what it takes to be a parent… and I say this because when you walk away, the single parent is the one that has to deal with the damage. I’ll never forget a guy I dated early on in parenting after about 8 months told me he was dealing with the thought of “ I think I want my own kids” and “ if we never have kids in the long run, will he be enough for me?” and while I respected and understood his thoughts, it crushed me. I was young and inexperienced as a parent so that was…. heartbreaking. Needless to say, even with understanding sometimes it’s “understanding doesn’t mean progression.”

That is what happens when you leave a single parent relationship. You push the insecurity thorn deeper in their flesh. I personally have learned to put that thought at the back of my mind because, it’s really out of my control. I can’t control other people, I can’t control the paths my relationships take. I can only control the path I take and the decisions I make. Did I just go through a break up? No I didn’t lol. So don’t think this is a “oh she hurt” bc I’m not writing this for me. I’m writing this from experience to let others know where your headspace is is okay. I’m writing this to let them know that some of the darkest thoughts you think that scare you are okay…. you’re not wrong for thinking what or how you think. The issue comes in when you let those dark but honest thoughts control you. Insecurities are exposed so you can fix them or nuture them back to good health to the best of your ability.

Dating a single parent is not for the selfish.

"the other side of BLOCKED...."

jelina sheppard1 Comment

I asked, “why not just unblock him? It’s a big day, maybe he’ll use this moment to subtly show you he’s still holding on to you too”. She said, “if I unblock him that means a few different things:

  1. I open myself back up to something that may not have changed.

  2. If I unblock him now it’s because somehow I hope he’ll reach out and if he doesn’t, I’ll be disappointed.

  3. The block is my attempt to protect myself because I no longer trust I’m in good hands.

  4. When I unblock his number, it’ll be as an act of forgiveness and release.

But the thing is, I’m not ready to forgive him yet because what if to forgive and release what I’m holding, means I let go of him this time. I think I cared so much and saw so much value in our connection that I needed something to keep me tied to him.

I don’t get to harbor positive feelings anymore, but I care about you so much that I’d settle for the negative ones if it means staying connected to you.

The details don’t always matter as long as they include him and sometimes people don’t forgive out of fear".

My theory?…. People don’t always hold on to grudges because they’re upset or hurt. Sometimes they hold on to what happened because it is all that’s left of a relationship they never wanted to end. To “let it go” would hurt more than being upset and angry.

The person just wants to be free to love** and their holding on to offenses, grudges, or any other negative feeling, is really just love in a last resort kind of way.

I have all of this inside and I need to express it but clearly love is not an option. So what else does love do? Sometimes it’s channeled elsewhere, best case scenario. Most times it’s forced to be displayed in a different and maybe not so healthy way. To unblock you is to forgive and release the affect you had on me.

But I’m almost ready to let you go.... it’s optimisitic to wish.  

**(Used loosely because it’s not in a "to have and to hold" kinda way)

ALEXA play "Daughters" by John Mayer.

jelina sheppardComment

You ever think about real stuff? Like, what would’ve happen if Jesus had not rose in 3 days? We’d just be waiting lol. What would we have done while we waited? Some people would probably say we’d be on our way to hell. But… there’s people like me. *Smile*. 

Hypothetically speaking, I have a few opinions. If he would not have… let’s just say the cup was too much for him. I think we would have some how kept going… we would’ve found a way to pick up the pieces. Truly, we would have never found redemption or salvation and we would have never found our way back to God…. BUT, I don’t think we (those of the same heart) would have stopped searching and believing. I also think we would have understood the decision behind not rising or dying for that matter. I think He purposefully placed certain people in their eras of life. I examine my life and I wonder everyday why we require people to set themselves on fire to A) keep us warm and B) prove their love for us. 

Real love is running to grab your shotgun because some boy broke her heart. But mutual love is her never asking you to pull the trigger because she’d never require you to sacrifice your life or assignment as her dad for that matter. 

On the other hand…. I imagine the depth of love Jesus had to have to follow through with his assignment. I wonder, did Jesus die and rise with us in mind or was it his love for the father that kept him going? Like, yeah Jesus loves us but… who did he love more? Do you ever wonder if Jesus’ motivation to accomplish his father’s will was the love he had for his father? Imagine that…. willing to sacrifice and experience all that agony for “love”. For confirmation of love… acceptance maybe…. I don’t really know. Everybody’s toxic. Lol. I’m addicted but… still. I could go so deeper with the questions I have but I think I’d rather just let it be. You can imagine why Jesus was the end all be all. No one since has had the capacity to love the way Jesus loves… 

“Why has thou forsaken me”…. That was in the final stage before he received rest followed by resurrection and power. If you’ve ever felt forsaken or I.E “let down” by your father, I imagine you’re amongst great company. I don’t think Jesus wanted God to do much in that moment other than hear him out…. I think Jesus wanted to be transparent with him and have it acknowledged that this shit is hard. Bear my pain, hold my hand, and walk me through it. I don’t want you to avenge me just don’t abandon me for these people… these very flawed, inconsistent, and I only follow you for what you can do for me people. At the very least, if I’m going to serve the people you love, the least you could do is hear me. 

SIDEBAR: Jesus had to know “lo I am with you always”. He had to know God would never leave, but (yeah ima go there because there’s no disrespect with it…) it was uncool that God was just expecting Jesus to know he was still riding for him. He went through all of that… lol you could’ve sent my man a thunder bolt in the sky or something to reassure he was still your first choice… or was he? ANYWAY. WE BACK.

Now let me close this out with something positive and up-lifting. That’s why you’re here. “Like lives depend on it”…. is a business owned by a lady named Trinity Anderson but it has so much weight. To do anything in excellence like lives depend on it, is to be like Jesus. Stepping away from my cynicism, I do believe (whether motivated by his heart or his Father’s), that Jesus decided to follow through with death and rising because he understood lives depended on it. Whatever your assignment is and when it becomes agonizing, struggle past it. There are lives that depend on you accomplishing your father’s will for your life. It’s so easy to be selfish and quit but to stay and struggle because of the love you have for others is Jesus. Toxic lol…. But Jesus. He’s so addictive. And also… 

Don’t make him have to die again. Live like his life depended on it. 


jelina sheppardComment

I met this guy, you know... and he reminds me of you. Rather the you I would’ve gotten to know if you were available. Not gonna categorize it because was there any part of you that was available? I think I would’ve settled for that... or did I settle on it? (Nostalgic Colours). 

Either way... I think I’ve met two different versions of you. Each guy a little more positive than the last but it’s never quite you... the real you. I don’t go looking for you but every time I come across a reminder, there’s this doggy, ear-perk-like experience with my heart. As if Scooby Doo oorgh???? And I get uncomfortable because I don’t want you, but the fact there’s this interest anytime I come across “you”, makes me think there’s still pieces of you left in me... residue. 

Anyway. I met this guy. He has hidden art on the place I love so much... made me think of layers. We have layers.... really cool people. Mysteries, a story, depth. He could fit you know. I always wonder what you’re like on the other side of “unavailable” and sometimes I think God tries to answer my questions with these people.... he even stays where you stayed. Imagine the discomfort and nostalgia. Lol, I can’t wrap my heart around it. He even loves Jesus!!!!! He has one up on you... I don’t have to listen to that “god and energy talk.... he’s narrowed it down to Jesus... (but somehow, and I know God is behind the disconnect, but somehow I’d still rather listen to your god and energy talk. You give me something to believe for in my prayers. I still think you’re a walking miracle. Not to say you don’t believe in Jesus… just the details with you, didn’t matter to me, but maybe they should’ve.)

I was just a kid when Usher said “you remind me of a girl that I once knew” and the older I get, the more it makes sense. I get it. Not being able to be with someone that constantly reminds you what you could’ve had with someone else... I worry I’ll never be able to fully enjoy what he has to offer. How is it that a pure and available version of you still can’t compete with the asshole you? Jigsaw pieces that don’t fit. 

Nomadic Bubbles.

jelina sheppardComment

It’s a thing you know... being in a space of uncertainty within yourself when nothing external matches. It’s a real thing. Two things about it. 

One.... leave your bubble. Then when people and circumstances remind you you’re safer in your bubble, go back until you feel like coming out again. That’s your right. 

Two.... it’s easy to find yourself open to the manipulation of someone that could take what you have and create something better. Filter through that and pray to God what he has is what’s left standing.... then trust in him enough that no matter what mistakes are made or no matter what opportunities come, that he’s still controlling the strings and running the show. In my own little bubble, I’m open. 

Some people are made for opportunities to find them... and some are made to create their way to them. 

To Love Me, Is To Know Me...

jelina sheppardComment

Spent days of my life hearing “You’re vain” instead of “you’re beautiful”.... not realizing every day I struggled with what I saw because my identifier wrongly identified and the world wasn’t much consolation either. I understand now, it was the best they could offer because they weren’t accustomed to positive affirmations. Their love language wasn’t wrapped in pretty paper and decorated bows.

“I didn’t choose you for this because I thought you were arrogant” when really the level of excellence seen was passion that exudes it’s own level of confidence. After years of coach trying to deny the humility that was already present, the truth set us all free and we soared as a team. The thing is, humility accompanied by excellence isn’t what people want when they tell you to be humble. When the two are paired, if the person observing lacks excellence of their own, they’ll make their insecurity your arrogance.... The newest wave is “you gotta stop being addicted to accolades” instead of “I believe you can be who you want to be and do what you want to do..... there is no limit”. What is it with people trying to starve me of what I deserve?

To know me is to know, I don’t move with people in mind. I don’t live for “oh you’re this and you’re that....” because a lot of people can only give that. Compliments. They don’t carry you far because most words are empty... like a car with no gas and they darn sure don’t secure a bag. At the center is me and my happiness. The different accolades and accomplishments come from me digging to discover the pieces of me.... the “talents” if you will, that God predestined me. People who have not invested in getting to my core don’t understand what is at the center and that’s my heart. Why would their words be able to penetrate something they don’t possess? The numbers, the comments, the accomplishments.... I appreciate because I know there are people that wish for those very things.... I’d much rather have that one person who is able to pour something into me that can produce the level of effectiveness and purpose I desire.... or at least affirm what I’m constantly searching to find....

Waiting on someone whose DNA can speak into and identify with what’s inside of me. To love me, is to know me.

Lo-debar. Nostalgia. Genesis. (What's it like being a Christian?)

jelina sheppardComment

4:37…… these four walls SMELL like you. Every breath in…. nostalgia. Every exhale…. nausea. This window…. How wide the blinds extend…reminds me how open I was every time I’d lay on this bed. This bed…. if more so to the right of the room, I’d swear this was 2013. It doesn’t even really look like your room but in the dark is my present Lo-debar. I. Can. Not. Sleep. How many breaths do you think I’ve wasted tonight? 4:50….. the right hand of god, reach wayyyyy down…. Maybe a little “pick me up”… thinking if I’m drunk or high enough I’ll become so drowsy that I’ll pass out…. Stop girl. That’s not what you want… more nausea.

On one hand it’s nice to remember, on the other hand I’m aching in several places…. I’m tempted to unblock you and tell you, “I don’t miss you, but you’re in my body”. Layers of me. This is in no way, a soul tie. That’s been broken.

Yes there’s temptation but the slightest thought of sin is the carnal’s way of remedying.

Spiritually…. 40 days and 40 nights… joy comes with the morning light….. trouble don’t last always…. Present yourself as a living sacrifice…. Reasonable service… resist the devil and he will flee…. All of the above….. it’s a choice of spiritual maturity. Mentally, I AM sober and know I can wait it out. No more sleeping… just intentional meditation. Ever wanted to know what it’s like being a Christian. (Period because I don’t care if you’re wondering, I’m going to answer). Sometimes it is joy but everyday is a war. At first he fights for you and then after a while, you’re supposed to become “equipped” to fight your own battles with him being a strategy of war. 

I write and can feel the two of me battling. This must of been what it felt like in Genesis 25:22. Literally a side of me pressing against the other side…. The resistance and the overtaking. I wish I was making this up. Knowing if I lay down I’m giving it up. What’s it like being a Christian?…. This is only a moment. 5:09…. It’s almost time to get ready for church and someone’s up...

5:31….I made it. 

Pickled Ginger.

jelina sheppardComment

What’s something I want to accomplish that I haven’t been able to do? 

That’s a loaded question. I’ve been hiding under a rock lately and to be honest with you, that’s where I want to be for a while. Let’s see, people say the hardest year of a marriage is the second year.... or at least that’s what I’ve heard. I heard if you can survive year two you’re in it for the long haul. I don’t know how true that is but boy if project two hasn’t been rocky. I’ve been writing for yearssss.... like four going on five. Okay, maybe that’s not that long but in my almost 5 years, too many blog posts, even more unpublished journal entries, countless social media engagement, several journals, and two books. 

Who the hell am I to create such a powerful project and then decide “I’m done” after getting it all out? 

That’s where I am...In this really weird space. I think about the money I’ve invested, lost, made back, and have put back into running “With Love,  J. Sheppard”. I think about how many times I’ve had to “write it out”. I looked over all those tears, happy false moments, and epiphanies in my journals. And I’m laughing because you guys, I really feel like “quitting” and I use that word loosely because I’m not really “quitting” but I am looking at the bigger picture and it’s like “alright, you’ve had a great run and you’re at the top of your performance with this.... what’s next?” And nothing is coming. I look at the expenses, physical, emotional, and financial and the fact that I quit my job and I think “do I still want to be bothered with this financial commitment?” And not that I don’t have the money to keep it running, but just this avenue alone is enough for me to purchase a plane ticket to the west coast and maybe pay a utility bill.

What else is there for me to write about when it comes to “overcoming heartbreaks for your heart’s sake”? (In case you didn’t know, that was the initial purpose of all of this). I feel like I’ve been there and done it. I overcame (several times) and left a great piece of work to help you do it. Now what? I feel so aimless lol and I’m apologetic about it because, I feel like I’m disappointing y’all and if not y’all, maybe myself. I feel like Whitney is in the background singing “where do broken hearts go????” 

Ultimately, Im out of it guys. 2018 was a FABULOUS AND PRODUCTIVE year and we’ve had some realllllly great moments these last 5 years but as the visionary of all of this, I’m lost. What else is there for me to do with this? Becoming an author and writer was never something I wanted to do, it just sort of happened. Now that it’s happened, it can’t be undone. What else can I do? What do I write about now? Is this really who I’m supposed to focus on being or is there another area I need to pursue? What do I do next? (No freaking answers). 27 is creeping and I’m drawing blanks.

I look at everything I’ve accomplished and when it comes to the “list”, what’s something I want to accomplish that I haven’t been able to do? Love.

If it was happening, I think I would have a new perspective to write from. Like, I mean there are a lot of topics I could write on as far as heartbreak is concerned but guys, we’ve done that several times over, I mean come on. Definitely not trying to be stuck in that narrative for the rest of my life. I could tell y’all about the married guy that regrets letting me get away... I could tell you about the dating guy who is also having regrets... I could tell you about the one I sometimes worry I’ll never be able to exceed... hell I could tell you about the smug asshole who definitely didn’t deserve me and will be on the regret train sooner than later, or I could tell you about the guy who’s still a good friend but I worry I’d only entertain him because I’m lonely. But.... I’ve been there and expressed all of that at some point or another. I’ve encouraged, built up, and enhanced perspectives for a few individuals. For a while, this outlet has been my baby. What started off as a therapeutic relief and accountability partner has birthed into something really beautiful and dear to me.... but I worry if there’s anything more. 

I’ve never been good with “breaking up”, I usually stick around and force them to do it for me because I don’t like the notion of “giving up” on anything or anyone. So. Am I signing off? Shutting it down? Saying goodbye? Is this it for the writer side of J. Sheppard? It feels like it might be.

It's Not Going to Make Him Want You....

jelina sheppardComment

I stood in my closet and all of my clothes began talking to me. “Try me!” “You haven’t worn me in a minute” “He’s never seen me before” and after multiple trips to see what would be best, my mirror came strong and subtle.

“It doesn’t matter what you wear, it’s not going to make him want you”.

Isn’t that something? Your mirror is perhaps the most honest thing in your house and in my house, it isn’t just some ten dollar, dorm style, Walmart mirror. Like every other relationship in my life, I’ve invested in it. I wanted something that would reflect all of me…. And unlike the relationships I’ve ended, this one is made for all of me, both the good and bad.

When I heard it, “it doesn’t matter what you wear… it’s not going to make him want you”, I thought it’s the truth. It didn’t shake me initially…. It was a hard pill to swallow but I didn’t realize how hard it hit until 2 hours later while I was standing in my closet still trying to find something to wear that screamed “I’m a great choice and too good for your stupid ass”. (I’m not that vain but when you’re afflicted… you feel the need to put your best foot forward so the affliction isn’t so noticeable.)

Anyway. In my closet for the 50th time in three hours, it hit. Anxiety… attacked. I was calmly flustered and quietly crying. Truth be told, everything I tried on would’ve worked but nothing seemed to be good enough in the mirror. The betrayal lol. The hurt, the bruised feelings, the time wasted in creating something that was “right” only to end up with it not working… I’m still talking about the outfit, but relationships as well.

It wasn’t about us not working out or the other girl he swears wasn’t a factor but it is about how I was handled and it has everything to do with what he represents. It’s always about that and that’s what stings. How you’re handled and what it means. The way I was handled is irrelevant detail wise. All you need to know is that it was VERYYYYYYYYY disheartening and I felt he handled me as if I was common. In regards to what it means? It means he’s not it and for the tired heart, that fact is always disappointing. Not only is he not it, you’re back at square one and have to start over the process of building “the one”. Not building the one as in the right person, but the one as in building the relationship with the right one. Dating at 26 is draining.

So…. Yeah. I’m back. “Overcoming My Breakup”…

I released a new book. Grab your copy if you haven’t already. *Face palm* 

not in my right mind.

jelina sheppardComment

I think sometimes you know when you’re not in your right mind. When you’re in tune, you just know. You know because some of the thoughts you think are creatively outlandish. You know you’re out of it when you start feeling things like, I can do more than what I see around me. When you adopt the thought of “I don’t live under the same restrictions everyone else does”…. Better yet when you make a decision to not live under the same restrictions everyone else does. 

Is this it? Is this the beginning of me losing my mind?

Is there a brain tumor pressing against my cranium impacting the portion that controls my decisions? Shoutout to Shepherd in Seattle Washington.

jump. Jump. JUMP. If I could accurately describe it, I’m on the edge of a building looking down… it’s a long way down and at the bottom could very well be a death, worst case scenario. But! What if I jump and we fly? Best case scenario. I did the calculations and the probability of landing somewhere in between are pretty high…. So reasoning says go for it. 

Can I tell you I’m not concerned about dying. I mean, if I die I die… somehow the possibility of flying makes taking the jump seem worth it. Actually, I am scared to die but… in the end I’ll always have a home so, if I die at least I can say I was trusting the whole way through. Not halfway either… anyone that knows me knows, if I’m going to do something, why not go all out. If I’m going to exhaust myself in trusting, trust all the way. 

If I’m unhappy, I have the right to do whatever to be happy…. Understanding that I need to be realistic as well. And I think I am. I’m on the edge.

I’m not in my right mind. I’m scared. I’m risking. I’m ready to trust because I’m tired of doing it on my own. Spinning and I think I’m losing it… somehow it feels…. right. 

“Damn J, you’re losing your fucking mind…” 

Possibly, but it’s exhilarating. I am crazy. I’ve heard it before and maybe those people were right. Crazy enough to think I don’t have to live fearfully like most. I got more than enough time to get back under societal control. For now, let’s just see where He takes us. 

I’m not in my right mind…

I Wanted To Call

jelina sheppardComment

I’m not nosy… like I promise. (If this was a face to face, we’d both be laughing right now.) 

But yeah… I’m not nosy. However, if I miss you, I go looking for you. Sooo, I looked….. and I saw it. Why didn’t you tell me? Then again, why would you tell me? I mean, it is me but on the other hand I’m just me, so I guess I could understand why that wasn’t one of the talking points per our last conversation. 

I want to call you. That’s not our norm but in this moment it feels right. It’s almost like if I call you, I’ll hear that you sound well and I won’t feel like a jerk for not staying in place…or accessible rather. This time, I moved. You left and I moved not caring if you found me again. I feel a little selfish… and I shouldn't but I do. People go through real things that they aren’t always vocal about. Not that I dismissed that in deciding how to respond, but I never took my feelings into consideration which is why I always stayed put. I think this last time, I had enough and I moved. 

You had life happen and not that I was naive to that, but I was clueless on that missing piece of information. I want to call you. I wanna hear your thoughts again and this time not feel like I’m missing anything. I listened to you the last time we talked. You sounded out of this world almost and not in a bad way, just celestial-like. It was refreshing as always, but now I want to talk to you again. Knowing what I know today, I want to pick up on it… the allusions you gave without mentioning the experience you encountered. 

I won’t pretend to know you well enough to feel at ease about how you processed and are still processing. Putting how I felt and how you reacted to the side, I want to call you. Why does it have the ability to hide at the back of mind how you’re doing? How are you processing? How are you emotionally? Are you happy? How’s life? Should I be worried? What do you need? It could be embarrassing but you're still human and we're all flawed... 

It’s not that serious though right? It’s a contained case of Mac Miller G Wagon. Still…. I want to call you. I don’t want to miss a moment to be there for you and you can’t find me. Talk about a double standard. 

So why don’t I call you? Pride… embarrassment… bruised feelings… stubbornness… feeling a lack of choice yet again to whether or not I should considering your last response, when you forced me to move. There are a lot of reasons I shouldn’t and only one reason I would… 

I thought about you today and I wanted to call. I pray that everything works out your way. You always said life has a way of working itself out and I’m sure with this experience that’ll hold true. Still, it’s hard not to worry about you… 

I wanted to call but I just prayed instead.

Moving On. Moving Forward. Residue.

jelina sheppardComment

He knew I was upset, and maybe he just assumed I was upset with him… which wasn't true. I was upset with myself honestly. Mad because I wasn’t over him and it showed. You know when you spend time working on something and it doesn’t yield the outcome you thought it would, you get a little tight. I thought I was really doing the work. Does it not count if it’s not what you want to do? Like, blocking numbers, deleting text threads, not entertaining BS conversations, and anything else that falls under “moving on”….

Do those things not yield the desired result of moving on if in your heart initially, that was never what you wanted to do?

You’ve seen it happen so many times. You know people that go months without talking to someone and then out of the blue, they run into them or have a conversation and they’re forced to see that there is still something there. I call it residue. So again, does the work you’ve invested not yield the desired result of moving on if it was never your decision to do so? 

I’m convinced (because I’ve experienced it enough for myself to know how it works for me), if you don’t want to move on, taking the necessary steps to do so, is not going to put you where you want to be. You’ll be moving but “on” is not where you’ll end up. It’ll be more like move to the left, move to the right, move diagonally, heck maybe even move forward. But, forward and on, I’m learning are two different locations. 

You can move forward to a new person, but still be entertaining your “ex” in the most simplest ways… but when you’ve moved on, there’s no reason to entertain them. You’re not having those conversations filled with emotional psychodrama. (Yes, I used it figuratively. You know those conversations, the ones that are filled with emotions, you might seem a little psycho, and before you know it, you two are going back and forth creating drama.)

 I’ve moved on from people and literally, we don’t talk. If we do, it’s brief and random. So… a lot of people move forward. Forward from what happened, but

When you go forward it leaves a path you can always go back to.

I think that was the break through line I was hoping would come as I wrote this. We move forward but have you ever noticed how we’re still able to revisit some old situations and wounds when triggered by something? 

Moving on is different. It’s not a direction… maybe it’s more so a state of being. When you move on, what’s the other way you can go? Off? Yeah I’ve tried that too, but it usually doesn’t end well. If you’re going off that means you still care, which means you haven’t moved on. So. Yeah.

Does the work you’ve invested not yield the desired result of moving on if within your heart it was never your decision to do so?

Imprint. Organ Transplant. Sex...

jelina sheppardComment

Have you ever known someone that needed a heart transplant and when the time came for them to get the new heart, their body rejected it? Even if the transplant was good for some time, a year or two later, it gave out again? With all the compatibility tests checking out and the heart being in good condition, the body can still reject it. That has to be one of the most disappointing things ever to happen in life. I’m unsure how rare that is, but I know it happens enough. The heart can actually be a perfect fit or a perfect match, and for some undiscovered reason, the body can still reject it. 

When the body rejects the organ, what happens? Some people die. Some people continue living in the state that they’re in, never reaching full health, waiting for another heart. J, why are we talking about heart transplants? Well… heart wise I think I’m okay, but there’s something I’ve discovered about myself. I’m gonna shift and when I’m done, it’ll all come together. 

Sex. Ever had it? If you have then you know how enjoyable it can be. That is what sin is designed to be. Enjoyable. Well, in the past, I’ve fornicated. (It’s 2018, who hasn’t right?) That’s not the point. I was dealing in sin, fornicating, and while Brian Mcknight had more reasons than I had bodies, it only took one to jack mine up. In contrasting my thoughts and feelings, I realized I want to connect with the right one. I look forward to dating someone new, communicating with someone new, praying with someone new, trips, family meetings, LOVING… everything you can think of, I’m looking forward to doing it. 

However, there is one area that I don’t want to explore and that’s the sexual. I came to the understanding that I don’t want to be intimate with someone new. Not because I don’t want to, but because I don’t want to. Lol… Does that make sense? It's like, I would like to, but at the heart of the matter, I don’t really want to and if I had a choice, I wouldn’t. Thinking about having to be sexually intimate with someone else, makes me sad, agitated, nervous, anxious, and extremely disappointed. 

You’re probably thinking when you meet someone new J, it’ll come and with the right one, you’ll be ready. Yeah, well maybe you’re wrong. I know physically I can make myself do it, maybe I’ll even enjoy it, but I don’t want to. I wish I didn’t have to. I used to know one guy that was right enough in that area and honestly, I don’t want to have to experience anyone else other than him. (I told you this was gonna be bad.)

When sin is done right and executed the way it’s supposed to be, the lasting affects are hard to break free of. So yeah, I’ve been on this journey of no sex for the past few years but…. Am I holding out for the right one? Sure. Have I been successful because it’s easy? No. I’ve been able to hold out because truthfully,

I haven't wanted anyone else other than him.

My body doesn’t want anyone sexually but him. I think that and LOTS of prayer, have been the reason I’ve been able to hold out for so long. He and I are okay even though we've disconnected; but the last time we saw each other and caught up on life, I remembered the imprint he left on me. He isn't the only person I’ve been with in life, but he’s the only imprint. My skin, my body, my mind… just about every piece of me, he’s imprinted. I wouldn't be surprised if in the DNA registry, when you pull up my finger print, his face pops up. I could be sensitive because I’m hormonal this week, but I’m almost sure if we were in a place, where we could at the very least see each other…. letting go all control, we’d know each other once more. 

That’s where I got screwed by sin, both literally and figuratively. I gambled with fornication because I didn’t understand the principle behind God telling me not to. Now that I understand why we should wait, I do wonder if it’s too late. (Of course not, God can fix anything but still…) I can have a perfectly good heart waiting to love me and give me everything I’ve ever wanted, and because of that one piece that’s unyielding, I could unknowingly reject him. 

I don’t even view men the same. I see them but in a way that doesn’t arouse me… like mentally uninterested. NO I’M NOT INTO WOMEN AT ALL, but just men… they lack something to make me sincerely interested. I can be interested for a minute, but not seriously to the point where I’ll consider “promise”. At first I thought, maybe God is just shifting my focus and I’m not interested because there’s something else I need to be doing, instead of considering a relationship, but now I’m not so sure. 

Could sin have done me so well, that even though I’ve been forgiven and have repented, I still carry his imprint?

Surely there is someone out there that will touch me in a way that makes what I’ve known obsolete, but… my body doesn’t want to be touched unless its's being touched by him. A lot of the time I don't like being touched in any way by any one, unless they carry something I need or if they feel safe. Isn’t that completely crazy? 

But it’s real. I don’t want to have to “know” someone else. I don’t even want to “know” him, because that part of my life, I feel has been transformed. I don’t necessarily long for him, but at the same time… if I have to be known again… I don’t want to be known by anyone else. I don't want to have to make that exchange again… 

You can never really gage the consequences of your sin. I used to consider as much as I could... the outcomes, possible consequences and scenarios and I would try to consider if I could handle it, but never would I have imagined this one. I’m happy to have acknowledged it before making it to the top of the transplant list, but… how do I fix it? With time having passed since we last knew one another, how do I become completely open and ready for the new heart that I’m waiting for? Here it is I thought my promise was out here wilding…. but maybe I’m the hold up. Maybe the Doctor knows that when he brings this new heart to the table and attempts to make this merger, that my body won’t be able to fully accept it. It’s crazy to wonder if you’re the reason your promise is on hold.  

"Don't Change, Squirrel..."

jelina sheppardComment

I don’t understand why we feel the need to compromise ourselves for love, when the ideal love allows us to be loved as we are… or at least I thought. 

Perhaps a lot of people have been doing it wrong. By it, I mean relationships built on love. I don’t for one moment, think people stay the same in a relationship. I do believe they should become better and the love you have for them should grow as they grow. The right love inspires growth. 

How is it possible that people grow apart? My theory is that they don’t. I could be wrong, but I can’t think of anything that grows apart…. Not even in nature. (Then again, I’m not that smart to just know everything). However, if you’re growing, everything grows collectively. My arm didn’t grow apart from my body, it grew with my body. My thoughts are, if it grows separately (to justify growing apart), it was never together to begin with… (that’s a whole new bag of burritos under the hood). 

When people say “oh we grew apart”, what that means to me is, neither of you knew who the other person was and never envisioned who the other would become. If the person you’re with after a certain amount of time, doesn’t do the things they once did before you got together, my belief is that you never knew who they truly were to begin with. Chances are they compromised who they were to have you. 

For example, a woman that cooked for her man while they were dating but after being married for some time, rarely cooks at all… that’s because she was never really a cooker. She only did that because that’s what the man liked and she wanted to “bag” him. Cooking was not apart of her character. Consider a man that talks to a woman all day while he’s courting her, or takes her out on dates while they’re dating but doesn’t do any of that after they’ve said “I do”…. It’s not that they’ve gotten comfortable, it is that the person they presented in the trial stages was not who they really were. (Again, this is my theory.) 

The flip side is why do we feel the need to present the “best version” of ourselves or what we feel the other person wants, knowing that’s not what they deserve? They don’t deserve a presentation. They don’t deserve what we think they want. They deserve the real us because that is the best person we’ve committed to being at that stage of our lives. They deserve the truth FROM JUMP.

The real “us” is what a person needs and as a result, sometimes the real us isn’t what the other person wants.

We owe people the chance to make that decision for themselves with all the cards on the table. We need to be okay with people not wanting us once they get to know us. At least you aren’t robbing someone of the best years of their life.

No one wants to feel like they’ve wasted their investment on someone that was never going to produce the product of relationship they were looking for.

I’m getting to the place where I’ve decided I don’t like to cook. I can cook very well, but I don’t want to so I don’t. I get no enjoyment being in the kitchen for reasons the person I’ll end up with will be privy to know. I’ve been that person that cooked and prepared some banging meals only for the boy to go be with someone else at the end of the day. So at 26, now I’m like, I might as well just be me. Someone will vibe with it, and if they don’t at least I’m not stuck in a relationship being someone I’m not. I imagine that’s exhausting. 

Just be yourself… but in order to be yourself, you have to do the work to really know yourself. Know who you are and don’t compromise that relationship for the sake of a relationship with someone else. Trust me, it’s not worth it in the long run. You just end up unhappy… or settling, forcing yourself to be content. 

I don’t understand why we feel the need to compromise ourselves for love, when the ideal love allows us to be loved as we are… or at least I thought. 

*cues "Hello" by Erykah Badu*....

The Fear of Being "Needy"...

jelina sheppardComment

I’m not at all needy. I’ve never been the “I need this, and I want that… come do this…” type. I’m not one to blow your phone up when I really want or need to see you. I’m not the one to demand or even ask you to drop everything when something is wrong…. or not wrong. Maybe “demanding” is the word I’m looking for. I’m not that either, but sometimes I wish I could be. 

I wish I had the opportunity to be needy at times. It’s hard always being the strong one, because when you’re strong, people forget to every now and then avail themselves to you. I don’t know what it’s like to be demanding, but

 I can tell you how disheartening it is to always be “accommodating”. 

That’s me. "Accommodating Jill". I do consider this to be a character flaw for me. In all my intimate relationships I’ve been the accommodating one which is why I’ve never ONCE had what I really wanted. I grew up being accommodating because my lifestyle and family dynamic required it (Church brat). My first example in life was to be accommodating in every way possible. Now I’m 26 and I want to experience a relationship of some form (not limited to an intimate one) where I have the freedom to be needy or demanding at times. There's a strong chance I won't be needy even when it’s okay, but to know I have the freedom or choice, and when I take the opportunity I won’t be rejected is dire for me. 

I want to know what it’s like to have someone drop everything just to make sure I’m okay. A list full of things to do but they’ll automatically move me to the top because to accommodate me is important to them. Now because I’m not needy and demanding, the need to be accommodated is few and far between… but I want to be right now. Per usual I’ll do without it, but I wish someone would just make the world stop to avail themselves to me. Truth is, I do need emotional support, affirmation, attention, “I’m proud of you”, “I want to know what’s happening in this area, the good and the bad”. 

Ultimately, I want to be a Priority….

I want to know what that feels like from the other side. I’ve noticed being a priority is also a learned behavior. Self love is where you learn how to be treated by the way you treat yourself. (Invasive questions that I can’t answer: Why do I wish I had this opportunity with a male? Why is this where it matters to me? What do men offer that makes being a priority so important?)

I know I possess the vulnerability to be needy, but I need the relationship where it’s okay to exhibit that type of vulnerability. I hate that I feel like I don’t have that, when the truth is, I do. (Shoutout to Auntie). 

However, the other side to this self transparency is knowing what distraction to watch for. Knowing what I need and want in this moment, I have to be extra discerning and vigilant for individuals that will come and play on this insecurity. When you notice your weak areas, be accountable and strategize proactivity. Weak days are necessary to build your endurance and strength… 

Still. I just need to be needy for a sec. Why haven't you noticed that? 

Perfectly Imperfect...

jelina sheppardComment

"You look so beautiful.... your smile is perfect”. Six twenty-three and you can finally see the light. He was right, it was beautiful the way the light hit the waves while simultaneously enhancing the shadow of his beard. Looking over the balcony with the city on one side and an ocean view on the other. It was peaceful and imperfectly perfect... just like a scene out of a movie. Nicholas Sparks himself couldn’t create my realities.

Two smiles laughing, respectful and pure embraces, light conversation highlighted in blush... He had it. Extremely sweet and adoring, tall and handsome. Just right for a surface interaction. He even complimented my curls and the softness of their coils. I laughed nervously praying he didn’t pull it off while running his finger through my hair. He could tell though, he hit a tangle in the curls and I panicked to shift her back to perfection.

We laughed some more, we talked some more, we misunderstood languages and then comprehended some more. His language was fluent enough... where it mattered. I mean, dreamy and kind. That’s the thing you should want right? Still, in a crowded room, I’d find a way to chose something else. Why? I have no clue.

Maybe mature adults understand surface interactions aren’t enough. They’re nice for the moment but fleeting. That type of adoration is flattering but, it’s not enough... at least not for me. Do I want someone to adore me? Worship the ground I walk on? A willing heart to watch the sunrise with me because it’s what I want, not pushing for anything in return?

Do I want a sweet someone or was I subconsciously wishing a certain someone could’ve been sweet?

The point is, romance is a heavily sedative art. Definitely one I can always appreciate but it isn’t holistically it. I’ll need more of it, more often than not but I’m preferring it in balance. I want what I want and I know what that is... still imperfectly perfect wasn’t it. (That’s what we’ll call this). I don’t want imperfectly perfect moments with someone sweet. I want perfectly imperfect moments with someone who balances me.

But, thank you imperfectly perfect for a movie scene romance. However, you can’t be the right fit for this role. I wonder if in the end love will play out like a final fantasy...

The Girlfriend Gene

jelina sheppardComment

The girlfriend gene, is it a thing we lack or is it that we’re trying to infuse ourselves with the wrong people? 

Blood type O is compatible with every blood type. I’m type O but… I rarely gel with a lot of men out here. It’s weird. Somedays I get vulnerable you know. I take a break from my superhuman complex, and I experience what I consider a “weak” day. Today’s been pretty awesome so don’t ask me why after a great day, I’m letting this question boggle me, but we’re here now so let’s write it out.

Some women just got it… the girlfriend gene. (Laughing) I know women who’ve rarely been single and not that that’s a good thing but its a thing you know? It’s like every 15, another man came… heck, probably my man too. If you happen to see him, send him my way. I’m tired of waiting on him. But we've all seen these women. It's the woman you see with her boyfriend on those instagram pictures... the one that makes you think "aww I could do that if....".

Her... the girl that ended up with the guy you wanted because of the way the universe is set up.

(ouchhhhhhuhhhhhhhhh, ugh. I'm mad lol) 

Then I know other women who’ve never had a healthy relationship… in our 20s/30s and no not one. It’s weird. I can definitely say it’s not about looks because… well I’m not gonna go into that because you know. You see the world just like I do. It has nothing to do with goals, ambition, socioeconomic status, appearance, mindsets, environment… none of those things matter because it’s an array of people experiencing relationships and whatnot. So what is it? 

Is it a gene God forgot to put in the pot when creating this particular group of individuals? It’s inevitable to ask yourself why am I never the girlfriend when you never get to be the girlfriend. I mean, logically speaking, you’re probably missing out on a level of stress you’re not really ready to commit to, but humanely speaking, I understand. 

It’s not about the “boyfriend”… They’re aggravating. It’s about the person you want to share life with. The person you want to hide behind after a long day. The arms you want to fall in when everything and everyone has drained you of your energy. When you’re weak, another set of arms to be your strength… I get it. 

I’m sure my deep readers are thinking “J, why aren’t you telling your readers to lean on the everlasting arms of Jesus, he sticks closer than a brother, he’s everything you need…” 

OH GIVE ME A BREAK JAN. We don’t want to hear that right now. He is more than enough, but he hasn’t manifested himself in human form and right now darn it, we want a human. Some warmth. Some tangibility. Jesus. I got him… for real for real. I’ve literally been with him all day. Sunrise 630 am to Night time 11:06 pm. So… yeah we’re good in that area today. It’s about balance. Anyway… for my honest hearts, I get it. 

Maybe it’s not that other women have something we lack, maybe it’s really the people we want to play a role aren’t compatible for the position and God is our human resource department screening out applicants that don’t fit the description he has for our lives. (If that doesn’t comfort you, I totally understand because it didn’t comfort me either but I’m just saying, it could be an explanation.)

Which would you rather cling to? “I’m lacking something within” or “The people I want just aren’t a true fit”? It’s one of those half empty half full mindsets. Either way… I just wish I wasn’t so exposed internally to even consider the thought. 

The girlfriend gene, is it a thing I lack or is it that I’ve tried to connect my type with others that aren’t compatible? 


jelina sheppardComment

You keep me patient. This isn’t a thing. We won’t spend the rest of our lives drinking whisky on a Friday night. You won’t hold my hand or hold me for that matter. You won’t kiss me goodnight and stroke my face to say good morning. We won’t do I do, but, you’ll keep me patient. You’ll be the reason I won’t settle, and if for some reason I do, you’ll prolong me. Doses of you will keep the impatient, “I want my person” moments medicated. You’ll keep me sober for now and perhaps that's better than any man who’ll come along to make me feel drunk in love. My feet don’t leave the ground for you. You keep me logical. You keep me from reaching, unless it’s to reach for you. 

One day, I do want to know how it feels to fly, but for now, keeping the fear of settling too soon eased is bringing me some kind of peace. Is it real peace? I’m not sure, but it’s calming. Doses of you tie me over until it’s time to do love for real. I can climb a little higher and work a little longer. The reality of you keeps me focused. I truly believe the man I’m working towards will appreciate you for keeping me company and keeping me patient while I wait for him. You’re such a stand up guy, coddling me until he comes.