The Difference a Year Can Make

The Difference a Year Makes | The B WerdAround this time last year, I was getting ready to head to Cuba with a group of girlfriends to celebrate my birthday. I had been single for four years outside of dating people sporadically and didn’t have a problem with it one bit. I loved my life as is and didn’t question when I would settle down or with who. At that time, Nate and I had a completely platonic friendship and he was actually really sick with bronchitis prior to me leaving. I remember picking up some travel size toiletries from Target and getting him some cough drops and Vicks to drop off to him since I was out already. I stopped by his place really quickly to drop off his medicine and he had a wrapped gift for me sitting on the bar. Even as friends, he was so thoughtful. I opened my present, we laughed a little bit and I rushed out because I could not afford to get sick prior to my vacation! I had very little connectivity in Cuba and although we were used to talking daily, there were sometimes 12 hours in between my responses due to lack of wifi. It didn’t bother me, but I think secretly, it was killing him LOL.

As soon as I got back to Houston, I had to pack for a work conference in Dallas that I’d be at for two days. Nate asked to take me to dinner, which still wasn’t out of the ordinary for us, but I simply couldn’t fit it into my schedule. I was on a high from how much fun I had in Cuba and honestly, just with how much I was enjoying life entirely. I was ready to celebrate! My boss had stopped to buy me champagne and we had dinner reservations later that evening since it was my actual birthday. Once we checked into our room, I was stopped in my tracks. I had a bucket of champagne, chocolate covered strawberries and a small cake, balloons and a gigantic bouquet of flowers all set up. I was really feeling the love! Smiling from ear to ear, my boss says “open up the card, it’s from your sister!” and what was inside read “Happy birthday, love Nate”. What?!

I had so many questions! How did he know what hotel I was at? When did he arrange all of this? Were my boss and my sister in on it? But most importantly, that moment opened my eyes to how special Nate had made me feel from an entire different city without expecting a thing in return. It may have been a small gesture, but it spoke volumes – especially when I had dealt with men who’d text me happy birthday the day after it was over. I couldn’t get over the fact that he’d gone to the lengths he did to surprise me and make sure I knew he was thinking of me on my birthday even if I wasn’t sharing it with him and at that point, my feelings for him began to shift. Thinking back, I’m shocked at how long our friendship remained innocent allowing us to truly build a friendship and know one another beyond the expectations of dating.

Since this time last year, I agreed to be Nate’s girlfriend after being single since I was 23, became engaged after dating him for six months and signed off on the lot that we’ll be building our new home on. A year after his sweet initial birthday gesture, he surprised me with a birthday brunch and made sure my favorite people were there (not to mention, I complained the entire drive to the restaurant). As I was opening gifts, he surprised me again with a birthday trip to Hawaii! I’d be lying if I said Nate wasn’t exactly the man I hoped to end up with. I guess after being forced to miss me in Cuba, he wanted to be sure he wouldn’t miss out on the chance to celebrate me on my birthday ever again.

I can’t help but marvel at how vastly my life has shifted from only 12 months ago. I always thought I would need time to prepare myself for changes like this and accept them mentally first, but that wasn’t necessary. I couldn’t have bet that I would be engaged or even in a relationship last January, yet here I am about to get murrrrried to the perfect man for me. Nate doesn’t desire to be praised publicly, he doesn’t even know I wrote this. I’m only sharing this because my life’s a legitimate testament to not recognizing your forever with your eyes, but instead with your heart. A testament to not even expecting it.

God is real. He knows what you truly desire. When I began to quit trying to make sense of how everything would work together in my favor, things really began to flow in my life according to what He wanted, while in alignment with what I needed. You may not be able to make sense of how you’re going to get it, or why you haven’t gotten it yet – but when He sees fit to make it happen, you’re going to be floored at how He does it. We doubt what will happen for us because we can’t see it for ourselves but when it happens to you, you’ll understand exactly how much your world can do a 180 when you were least expecting it in business, in relationships or personally. Even when we thought we may not get it, we have to remind ourselves we deserve it.

Find solidity in exactly where you are today and know that your life is just a few months away from granting you what it is that you genuinely long for.

Another Surprise: An Engagement Party!

Courtney and Nate, Our Surprise Engagement | The B WerdCourtney and Nate, Our Surprise Engagement | The B WerdCourtney and Nate, Our Surprise Engagement | The B Werd

I honestly believe that Nate got me to fall in love with him through a series of surprises. When we were just friends, he surprised me with a tripod for my camera after I mentioned wanting to start a YouTube channel. Several months later, I marched into his place on a Wednesday evening after rehearsing what reasons I was going to give him for why I needed space (because….. commitment issues. I touch on them here) only to walk up the stairs to a cook preparing a lobster dinner for us, a bouquet of flowers, a card, and red wine to congratulate me on the launch of my first video. I was so taken back by his sweet gesture, I decided not to say everything I’d planned to. I thank God for that surprise. He knew I needed something that extreme to convince me otherwise. Dozens of surprises later, I realized I’m much better simply giving into them because he’d never lead me wrong. I am such a rebel that I truly believe the only way I’d ever be comfortable with the idea of most things is to be surprised into them, because if I have the chance to go against the grain, I’ll take it every single time. Knowing all of that, Nate still had the guts to ask me to marry him and he has the art of surprise to thank for my yes. He’s truly been more than I imagined I’d ever get because the realist in me (or maybe that movie about the 80/20 rule) had me convinced that we just don’t get it all when settling down. And he’s so fun y’all! We laugh sooo much. I think y’all may end up liking him more than y’all like me! LOL

Courtney and Nate, Our Surprise Engagement | The B WerdCourtney and Nate, Our Surprise Engagement | The B WerdCourtney and Nate, Our Surprise Engagement | The B WerdCourtney and Nate, Our Surprise Engagement | The B WerdCourtney and Nate, Our Surprise Engagement | The B Werd

The morning after our engagement, we couldn’t sleep past 7, even though we didn’t get to bed til after 3 am. We were anxious, excited and still in a bit of disbelief, so we got up and grabbed Starbucks then spent the morning reliving the night before while grinning from ear to ear. He told me I needed to be ready to leave the house by 1 pm to go and take photos. I figured that was a realistic thing for people to do after they get engaged, so I got myself ready and put on a decent outfit. Once we left the house, he said I needed to be blindfolded because he didn’t want me to see where we were taking the photos until it was time to take them. I start thinking, “are we taking photos on a helicopter? That’ll be cool.” or something else ridiculous. We stopped at a bar to take a shot. He was either nervous or trying to pass time LOL.

Courtney and Nate, Our Surprise Engagement | The B WerdCourtney and Nate, Our Surprise Engagement | The B WerdCourtney and Nate, Our Surprise Engagement | The B WerdCourtney and Nate, Our Surprise Engagement | The B WerdCourtney and Nate, Our Surprise Engagement | The B WerdCourtney and Nate, Our Surprise Engagement | The B WerdCourtney and Nate, Our Surprise Engagement | The B WerdCourtney and Nate, Our Surprise Engagement | The B WerdCourtney and Nate, Our Surprise Engagement | The B Werd

I thought it would be a good idea to allow my followers to watch along on Instagram Live, so I put on the blindfold and let Nate take it from there. We were only three minutes away from the surprise when we were at the bar, but it seemed like we drove around for a good 10 minutes. Then again, everything feels like an eternity when you can’t see what’s going on. Finally, we’d arrived and he walked me inside. I instantly recognize the smell. We were at the apartment complex where Nate lived when we first met. He tells me to take off the blindfold and I do, only to see so many of our family and friends in front of us with smiling faces. I was truly in awe! I thought the night before surely had been the climax, but no. He’d set it up so that we could celebrate with our loved ones and it was the best time, but I’ll let the footage speak for itself. I always told him I’d only post the person I was marrying on my social media so I’ve been teasing him, saying “you did all this just to get on my Instagram?!” LOL. I’m more grateful than ever for someone so thoughtful and such a loving circle! Matt did an incredible job of capturing photos that embody exactly who we are and DJ A Plus kept playing exactly what we wanted to hear. If you’re in Houston and looking for a photographer, I strongly recommend them! I’m looking forward to sharing what’s next with all of you, so be sure and subscribe to my YouTube to make sure you don’t miss out!

Courtney and Nate, Our Surprise Engagement | The B WerdCourtney and Nate, Our Surprise Engagement | The B WerdCourtney and Nate, Our Surprise Engagement | The B WerdCourtney and Nate, Our Surprise Engagement | The B WerdCourtney and Nate, Our Surprise Engagement | The B Werd Courtney and Nate, Our Surprise Engagement | The B Werd Courtney and Nate, Our Surprise Engagement | The B Werd Courtney and Nate, Our Surprise Engagement | The B WerdCourtney and Nate, Our Surprise Engagement | The B WerdCourtney and Nate, Our Surprise Engagement | The B WerdCourtney and Nate, Our Surprise Engagement | The B Werd Courtney and Nate, Our Surprise Engagement | The B WerdCourtney and Nate, Our Surprise Engagement | The B Werd

Watch the fun we had below:

 

Photos: @mattophotos | Caterer: EW Catering | Party Punch: @TheSimplePour | Music: @APlustheDJ

Why Like Outweighs Love

Why Like Outweighs Love | The B Werd

 

I’ve been in three relationships my entire life. The first one being my high school sweetheart, who wasn’t a sweetheart at all. We were just two very young kids who did indeed love each other, but didn’t know how to do it properly. My next relationship three years later, although premature, was with who I thought was the one meant for me. Our relationship was magnetic from our first interaction. An unexplainable kind of chemistry that simply just fit and because of that I figured that’s how things should be when they’re meant to be. Because things felt so perfect, I loved him quickly and easily without hesitation and that wasn’t a mistake, but it also wasn’t enough to build a solid foundation that a relationship requires in order to last.

Before our relationship ended, I saw it coming but didn’t want to believe it to be true. As time went on his characteristics I hadn’t had the chance to familiarize myself with just yet had began to surface. All the while I was fighting it, I knew we wouldn’t remain. Not happily at least. If I “loved” this person, why was I miserable? I was stuck in a space where I loved someone dearly, but did not like who they were. I tried convincing myself we were experiencing a “rough patch” that all couples must hit and it was normal, until we hit a tipping point. When our relationship ended I was devastated – as I should’ve been, I loved him. But the fact of the matter is, there was so much I truly disliked about him.

I’m convinced that a genuine liking for someone is what breeds longevity. Love doesn’t take much logic or reasoning. When you love someone, you just do. And because we convince ourselves that we love people who aren’t good to or for us, we end up wanting to stick out relationships that aren’t healthy, beneficial or going anywhere. To truly like someone and what they’re about, is meaningful. I loved my ex before I even really knew him only to find out I didn’t like who he was or what he would bring out of me. Women especially seem to rush men by asking the “what are we doing?” question after a short while when in reality, you don’t even know if you like that man yet. I mean really like him and how he treats strangers, what his plans are for the future and how he reacts when he’s angry. Get to know who someone really is and determine if you even like them enough to be open to loving them.

The space in between those two relationships were a few years a piece, so naturally I dated; and with dating comes a lot of trial and error as well as a lot of enlightenment. Some of them made me face my flaws, while others highlighted the magic in me I didn’t always recognize. Some I pressed too quickly to turn into more and others had me looking for an escape. But if there was one thing that my last relationship had taught me, it was to make sure I liked someone before loving them.

Where I’m at in my life, like outweighs love. Actually, it’s easier to love someone than it is to like them. God tells us to love our neighbor, He doesn’t say we have to like them. You can love people from a distance. You can love your father you haven’t seen since you were a child or a friend who hurt you. Love doesn’t always require a relationship. But when it comes to liking someone, you want to be in their presence and share time with them. You care about everything that concerns them. You openly communicate with them to resolve misunderstandings with the same end goal in mind. It would be more of an accomplishment for me to be able to say I actually still like my husband after 10 years than to say I still love him. Like first, love last.

The Importance of a Healthy Dose of Selfishness

The Importance of a Healthy Dose of Selfishness | The B Werd

I’ve always been a pretty selfish individual, which isn’t easy to openly admit nor is it something I’m necessarily proud of; but it is indeed a fact. Admitting I care most about myself isn’t a characteristic that easily flows out of my mouth simply because selfishness is accompanied by so many negative stereotypes. I’m a compassionate person and will happily help anyone in need, but I’ve always been this way – selfish. Even as a little girl I can recall thoughts of not wanting to play unless we could play what I wanted. My way or the highway type of gal. I’m the type of woman who wants things exactly how she imagines them and I can say because of that, I’ve been able to build things around me exactly how I wanted them based solely off of my unwillingness to budge.

Starting this blog took me down a path I didn’t expect and while I’m so amazed with where it’s lead, it’s also opened up a new level of selfishness for me. I initially did not realize how much time I was going to have to commit to this brand in order to see results and experience growth. There are seven days in a week. I spend five of those committing eight hours to a company that leaves me a couple of hours every evening for myself, with two days left to either catch up on sleep or work my ass off before Monday comes again. Once I got serious about where I was going to take this, I had to get incredibly decisive about where my money, resources and even where my thoughts would be spent. Most importantly, I had to get even more selfish with how I spent my time.

I’ve had to selfishly choose my work over friends birthday brunches, or family vacations. I’ve had to choose putting together blog posts over weeknight dinner dates. I’ve had to put off dating in general because I didn’t have the time to give and didn’t want to offer any man less than what I felt he deserved from me (because ya know, the thought of half-assing anything makes me cringe). My time is so limited that I have no choice but to capitalize on it when it becomes available. Whether I’m using it to work on something new, shoot photos, or brainstorm content, the fact of the matter is, I need the time. I’ve never been afraid to tell anyone no, but even still, I’ve struggled with the guilt that comes with selfishness, often feeling like I’m a bad friend, a bad sister or a bad employee because I have to skip out of the office at 4:59 pm.

To better help myself,  I had to rearrange my thinking. Instead of feeling selfish for putting my priorities first, I began telling myself that I was respecting my time. Selfishness is putting your wants over the needs of others, while self-respect is putting your needs over the wants of others. I have an agenda that I need to fulfill and I can’t feel bad about that. It’s easy to feel condemned about your decisions when you’re attempting to better yourself. There are fathers who spend years away from their children serving in the military as a way to provide. There are teens who leave their single mothers alone to care for their siblings so they can go off to college and lead by example. What’s considered selfish to some is respectable to others.

The way I view it is that nothing I do is strictly for me. This blog is for you. All of the work that I do is for other young women who are walking the same path, wanting more and willing to go after it. Any product that I put together is to enhance another woman’s thinking and to put her one step closer to her goals. I’m becoming something that my future children will appreciate as an example; someone that will make my nephews think twice about who they bring home. You must first serve yourself in order to be of service to others. Respect yourself enough to make selfish decisions when it comes to your dreams.

Monday Motivation | Christina Rogers “Why I Left”

Christina Rogers "Why I Left" | The B Werd

As Christina revealed to all of us last week, she’s gone through some drastic changes in her personal life over the past month or so. I’ve been here to personally witness all of the transitions that she’s made going from an LA girl running her business, to moving her life to Houston to build a relationship, becoming a girlfriend, homeowner, fiancé and eventually almost a mother before everything came to an abrupt end. It’s without a doubt easy to understand why she’d want to keep all that she went through to herself, and as difficult as it is to relive the past year and a half of her life, I’m so grateful she understands the importance of sharing her story in hopes to not only raise awareness regarding unhealthy relationships, but most importantly to inspire another young lady who is potentially going through the same thing and may not have the courage that it takes to walk away.

In the beginning, what were things like? Can you tell us about how you two met and what the original dynamic of your relationship was? What were some of the things that made it easy to fall for him?

In the beginning of our relationship, things were exciting as ever. I was in a place where I needed what he offered and I felt like I was making the right decisions because it was “ok’d” by God. That reason was for a reason other than what I understood at that time. We moved so fast because it felt comfortable and we both wanted the same thing. He was so charismatic, had his career together, ambitious, competitive and he was so fine!

You decided to move back to your hometown, Houston Texas  to make things work a few months into your relationship. What prompted the move and what sacrifices did you have to make in order to be with him?

Man. Before I moved back to Houston I had everything I needed in life plus everything I could buy. I was so unhappy, though, because I wanted a relationship. I wanted it so bad that I was willing to gamble with everything I had built. At the time, however, my mother was bouncing in and out of sickness and so was my step father so I wanted to be closer to them as well.

Did you realize you were taking a huge risk by leaving your life in LA behind? Would you do it again?

I would never sacrifice everything I built to be with someone else. I didn’t realize my risks but I walked blindly into it because of the things he promised to me. I had so much hope (just as I do in a lot of things) and that made me fearless.

After moving home, you two purchased a house together. You’d found someone you were crazy about, fallen in love and now had a home. Did you feel you were living in a fairy tale?

I definitely didn’t feel like I was living in a fairytale because once we moved together I began to see the real deal in him. He and his immediate family would demean me because I wasn’t a housekeeper (to their standards). I was more of a money maker, go getter and hustler so I didn’t have time to stay at home all day and clean up. This made it hell to live in that house.

What red flags came up early on in your relationship that you feel like you ignored?

The first red flag was his anger outburst a few months into our relationship. I didn’t think it would be a normal occurance so I let it slide. After that, it worsened of course and after every outburst there was growth which made me believe that he was getting better as a man. This was only a cover up for what the real issue was though. Once again my hope in him masked the dangerous truth.

Your relationship eventually began to take a toll on your business, your personal relationships with friends and family and how you felt about yourself. Talk about the things that suffered because you put your relationship first.

Even though I was close to home,  I wasn’t able to live freely. I could rarely see my friends without an argument, he rarely let my mother come over because in the beginning of our relationship she let him know that he wasn’t accepted for his behavior. We argued so much about my friends and family because he was so disrespectful. I couldn’t post freely on social media without an argument. Keep in mind it was and continues to be my livelihood. If my picture was too “sexy” then he would say the strangest things like, “I see you out here showin’ your pussy.” Now that I look back at the situation I think, “IT’S MY BODY. I’LL SHOW IT IF I WANT!” Aside from all that, my self esteem was shattered.

About a year into your relationship, you two got engaged. Did you feel that it was fate, or a quick fix for the issues you all were having?

I felt like he truly changed when he asked me to be his wife. Before that, we had broken up and I had even moved out of the house and the trip we went on was an apology trip. The things he promised intrigued me to keep trying for the relationship.

All of your moments weren’t horrible and there were obvious things about your relationship that made you love him. What were some of the positives that overpowered the negative?

He was just like me business wise and that was attractive. I appreciated his willingness to try to be better whenever I had a problem with something and I loved the image of perfection that we had from the outside looking in. It was something I wanted but on the inside it was the total opposite.

Relationships consist of compromising, which you did a lot of. At what point did you begin to feel uncomfortable with the balance in your relationship?

When he was mean and had outbursts I realized how fucked up our relationship was. If every issue he had was taken away, we would be the perfect couple. I would be so head over hills in love and it would show. Before me he could talk to women however he wanted to and he tried to do that to me. I quickly told him it wouldn’t work for me. That’s when I realized the imbalance but I ignored it.

What was the difference between what we all know the road-bumps every relationship has and what you were experiencing with him?

When road bumps occur, the ability to actually change for the better is most important. He didn’t possess this quality in the areas that were detrimental to our success. Verbal abuse is never okay but he was used to it. Being mean and evil to people isn’t the way to live but he was used to treating people that way. The way he treated his friends and family were all questionable and the things that he said had me frustrated because I didn’t treat people that way.

Christina Rogers "Why I Left" | The B WerdThe evening of the break-up

In the blog post you wrote that opened up about your breakup, you mentioned some of the biggest issues in your relationship which were aggression, insecurity, immaturity, trust issues, controlling ways and jealousy, but very few people knew exactly what was really going on. Did you feel the need to mask those things in order to protect him?

I felt like we were working towards him being delivered from his issues so I felt the need to be quiet and to wait it out. He always told me not to tell our issues to people as well and it made sense. Looking back, I wouldn’t change that I hid it because I wasn’t ready to leave the relationship. I would have looked ignorant if I kept telling my business and going back to him.

He became very controlling. Him and his career came first, his wants, his family. Also controlling how you promoted your business, the time you spent with friends. Did it become difficult to remind yourself of your worth during the length of your relationship?

I knew my worth but I put him first. I believed in him and I was so hopeful that he would change for the better. I argued a lot with him because I knew my worth. I would literally fight for it so much that I would be exhausted by the end of the day from arguing and exerting energy towards our issues and his issues. I often tried to make my office my positive place and told everyone who walked in it to be positive or leave.

Before the abuse became physical, there was several instances of emotional and verbal abuse. Were you ever afraid that things would get physical?

I never in 100 years could guess that he would have become abusive. When it happened, I was in shock. I had to ask myself if it really happened. I had to ask his assistant if it really happened. I had to ask him if it really happened. I was in disbelief and I was terrified at the same time. Right before it happened I told him that he was going to ruin himself.

You found out you were pregnant, how did you feel? Was it planned, were you frightened, was there excitement, was it made out of love?

We planned the pregnancy and when the test was positive I was happy, but scared. I began mentally preparing for it and I told my mother and of course friends and family. We both were happy about it but things went downhill once I began experiencing normal first trimester symptoms. He stressed me out, he wasn’t understanding, he was angry, upset, disliked that I was tired as hell and  I couldn’t confide in him. When I heard the heartbeat at the doctors office I cried because I had never heard anything like it. When the nurse left he was angry and asked why I was crying. His inability to have a heart in certain situations was horrible. I felt alone and like I was doing it all alone.

As women we naturally want to keep things in order and keep our relationships in tact. It’s difficult to expose the harsh realities of the situations we’re often in. Did what people thought of you stop you from walking away?

I knew I had to walk away for ME. If anyone had a different opinion I blocked them from my life. It was that easy. I’m stubborn when my mind, body and soul are connected and I knew immediately what needed to be done. People will be people and they will have opinions but we have to always do what’s best for us.

The night of the incident that caused your split, tell us what happened.

The night of the incident he became extremely belligerent and unable to identify with why he was even angry in the first place. He was rambling and making accusations and we began to argue. When I stopped arguing it made him even angrier. By the time we reached home he was screaming in my ear. His assistant finally spoke up but did nothing else to help me. When he got out the car to take my wallet, keys and phone I tried to stop him which led to him punching me in the face. He also burst my lip which drew blood. After the incident he felt no remorse and was even still angry.

You had to pick up what you could and relocate back to Los Angeles in less than 24 hours. Describe the shock and difficulty that accompanied that decision.

When I woke up in the morning I was so numb that I was wandering around the house not knowing what to do. I left the house with no intentions of coming back but also no plan. I left with my wallet, keys and phone. That’s it. I called my sister and we bought a flight for 6 pm. At 3 pm I went back to the house with police and friends and grabbed everything important that I could fit in my car. From there I went to the airport and never returned. It was the hardest thing I’ve done but I didn’t feel it because I put aside all my emotions.

What’s been the most difficult part of your healing process since moving back to LA?

Having to end my pregnancy was the hardest thing to heal from because I had a connection with my kid and even named “her”. I’m still dealing with emotions from it. Everything else is just there lingering in the air for now. I will deal with it just how I know… prayer has been my best friend and God has been my everything through this.

How has starting all over again made you feel? Empty or invincible?

I felt empty in the beginning because I literally lost everything I had except my life and immediate important things but now I feel invincible and like I need to speak up and be the person God put me here to be. I know there’s a female out there who needs me and it’s been my passion to motivate and encourage women because we are not treated well on this earth. Woman is strong and woman needs to know that.

What do you want women to take from what you’ve gone through?

I want my situation to help women understand how powerful they are. We don’t need to depend on a man because sometimes they have their best interest at heart. We love hard and we fall harder but when we get back up it’s gonna be a problem for everyone who’s involved.

Christina Rogers "Why I Left" | The B Werd

Christina and I have been friends for almost a decade and she’s without a doubt the definition of resilient. I’ve watched her overcome things that would’ve broken anyone else so it’s no surprise to me that she’s now back, better than ever. No one wants to see someone they care about go through heartbreak or the pain of loss, but I will say I’m so happy that she’s moving forward. Her willingness to be transparent about her experience is so valuable because these are real life issues that women are living through daily behind closed doors. Let this be a lesson to the many women out there who are feeling alone in what they’re experiencing in their relationship; if it costs you your peace, it’s too expensive.