Number 20

For my 20th post, I’m going to talk about something that I’ve only ever mentioned in therapy; until yesterday. For the first time in my life, someone took the time to sit down, and ask me real questions about how I feel about my immediate family, and how certain things in my past have shaped me; well, someone outside of a therapist. I was uncomfortable at first, I didn’t know what I could say. But her energy was welcoming, and I didn’t have it in me to lie.

The day started off difficult. My parents and brother had made plans for them to go to my dads half of the family first. It was a paid event, but for whatever reason, I wasn’t invited. To me, the excuses that were given to me for me not being included were garbage, and even if they weren’t, nothing would’ve made sense to me anyway. So I slept in, I didn’t really want to go anywhere because I felt like I wouldn’t fit. I’m so used to being criticized, and talking myself into some sort of issue that I rather just be alone half the time. But Bear pretty much told me to go and enjoy my holiday regardless of everything else. Those weren’t his exact words, but I think it got his point across.

Now, I’ve always been a bit different and I’ve come to love it. So when my cousin asked me a question, I popped right out with the answer which led to another conversation. The point here, is that this one question opened a vast door to what has been going on with me for the last decade. After my cousin had left, my aunt and I got into some deep truths about my life. I haven’t told my friends the depth of my pain when it comes to my family, and how they have impacted me to be the person I am now. So it was difficult to feel and talk about those things with my aunt. The only person who had really witnessed a couple of these altering events was my best friend, now sister Cherelle.

Cherelle probably has a good idea about done of my changes, at least since high school because she’s been on the other end of the phone on nights where I’ve cried myself to sleep. She’s been there to pray with me on the phone, and listen while I hyperventilated and passed out from emotional exhaustion. Those moments are as imbedded in my mental as runes on a pyramid. I’m sure those nights were hard for her, I never actually thought about how it was for her to hear me like that until just now. It just makes me appreciate her so much more than I already do. Outside of her, I’ve never leaned on someone to really get my feelings out on this particular subject. Most of the time when I vent, I vent like a regular teenager, and that’s how I wanted people to see me. I didn’t want them to really know how badly I was hurting. Until last night.

I don’t think my aunt will ever understand the door she opened for me. Although I didn’t cry, I felt some healing take place in speaking the words I’d never said out loud. It felt good to speak on my real feelings and memories that have continued to torment me from my present. For a few moments, I thought I would lose my composure, my insides at those times felt like rolled over dung. Thick, stinky, heavily deposited, and spreading over parts that weren’t related. My feelings were just open, infected, sores. But she took the time to look at those sores, to say ‘let’s clean these up’, and bandage them.

Maybe when I’m more comfortable I’ll go more into what we talked about, but for now, I really just appreciate her caring. For the first time in my life someone who wasn’t paid to hear about my deepest pains cared to listen to them. Cared enough to ask questions and not just brush them off, and cared enough to say ‘I’m sorry you went through that’. I’ve often felt alone. Not because people don’t care for me, but because those crevices hold a lot of who I am. Only select people have seen that deep into me, have been able to handle it, and it’s a huge weight off my shoulder to know I don’t have to act around her. That I have someone who has more of an understanding on why I’ve become who I am now.

To cap the night off, my grandmother, who I only call Granna, did something I didn’t expect. When she told me to go lay down in her room, she walked me to the steps, looked me straight in my eyes and said, “are you happy”. I didn’t answer her at first, it sounded more like a statement, like she could feel it on me, but when I did reply she nodded and walked back to the kitchen. Before Granna, and promptly after my aunt, is my great aunt Itsey. (God had to have known that this night would be one of those nights where I could choose progress or stagnation) We had been talking about my health, it was my first time telling my family what my doctors diagnosed me with, when she looked at me and said stop stressing. She said, you’re right where you need to be, you have nothing to prove to anyone, you’ve accomplished so much already, why are you trying to push yourself so fast and so far.

When she said that, I thought I was going to lose it again. I don’t know exactly when I felt I had to be the star in my family, but she had hit the nail on the head. To hear her tell me she’s proud?… Those are moments that I’ve longed for. To hear those words, and for them to really mean it was invaluable. A lot that was said yesterday blessed me. Healed me. A lot of it opened my eyes to what I’m doing and where I want to be.  Most of it just filled in these holes that have accumulated in my heart.  It is a stamp of my families love for me. For them to feel my sadness, the ache in my heart, and for them to encourage me through it is what helps me understand what family is really meant for. I cry for the person I used to be, the things I’ve lost, but I’m looking forward to who I’m becoming, and the things I can get back.

I know I won’t be sad forever, that I won’t be sick, or unhappy, or angry forever. So I’m riding through this time of transition. I’m learning from my mistakes, and learning what I can from the things I’m going through, as well as the things I’ve gone through. Overall, Thanksgiving was a day of healing for me. If nothing else, I’m thankful for that.

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Exploring

When you meet someone new. You usually know right off the bat whether you are interested in them or not. Usually, there are the exceptions where it takes a while and you realize you have feelings for that person. Me, if I didn’t find some sort of attraction to you up front, or had a piqued interest, I don’t push towards having interest. I did this once, and it was a mistake that I will never repeat again.

I dated someone who I had never been attracted to or even really liked. It just so happened that this person was rather persistent and after spending time with him, I found he made me laugh a lot. I’d had fun. I took this fun and continued to build and spend time with this guy. Long story short, it didn’t work out. Many of the reasons similar to why I was hesitant to date him in the first place, but saying no and meaning it is something I have a lot more confidence with now. Although we did like each other and did have fun, it should’ve been more important to me to stick by my initial decision to not date and continue getting to know each other. ANYWAY.

I haven’t met a lot of people who pique my dating interest, but I do crush a lot. I’m one of those people who wants to hug or kiss every pretty person I see. Not to be obnoxious, but because most of the time I’m told I’m pretty, but don’t believe it. With that being said, I figure there are more people out there like me. People who are complimented or get sought after who don’t really feel beautiful, so in my mind, if I hug and kiss each one, they have at least a little more proof that they are beautiful. Blame it on my inner flower child Nana; she’s friendly. When I mix her and my romantic side together, you get string after string of “he’s so purty” “she’s so purty” which I know annoys the life out of my friends; most of them have gotten used to it though. I’ve learned how to moderate over the last couple years, but I like that childish side of myself so I keep it alive.

My point is, when I meet someone who genuinely makes me want to get to know them better, I hardly know what to do with myself. I get nervous, I stutter, and I look like a goof. I used to ask my girlfriends for help because I really didn’t know how to handle a situation where I had adapted actual feelings for someone. Lately I haven’t talked much to anyone about my romantic life, and I find myself figuring it out. I didn’t not talk to my girls for any particular reason, except that I needed to learn to handle these things on my own. They can’t always tell me what to text, say, or do so at some point I have to venture out and fail-succeed in this area myself.

What I’ve learned is, I am shy. I am outgoing. I am: passive, aggressive, quiet, loud, focused, airy, and so many other contradictions. As I grow more comfortable with accepting my complexities as a human being, the better I get at addressing them and responding to them. At parties I have literally been both of each of those things. Whether it’s at someone I know house or not, I have been shy and outgoing. Passive and aggressive. Quiet and to myself, and loud, talking with a lot of people. At any given chance, on any given day I can be air headed and focused. I have also learned that other people feel these things as well. They can be all about something and excited one minute, and the next they could be completely nervous and ready to puke about the same thing.

Now when I meet someone, I don’t hide these things. I let them out as they come and I don’t try and overshadow or make them look less important than other traits. My weirdness, my moods, my mess, is mine, and I’m 100% comfortable with being moderately (getting to be completely) comfortable with them. Now I’m extra dorky when I meet someone. I blush a lot and my voice can get moderately high pitched. It drives me crazy, but it also lets me see the hopeless romantic in me.

That’s also a new discovery (probably only to me as I’m sure the people who know me are going to say). I am a HOPEFUL romantic. I mean it’s absolutely disgusting. Something else I’ve learned: balance. I have to coexist with these different parts of who I am. In order to do that, they each need their own time. If you repress parts of who you are for too long, you become lost and unfulfilled, so why not just be you? Right now, I’m in the practice of balancing. I’m not really sure how to do it, but it seems like I’m getting close to the secret formula. When I do get there, I’ll be sure to share the secret.

Random Thoughts at Work

People like to make it sound like certain things people do, don’t make sense. One of those things is how men and women respond to the lack of attention. For example, men try to make women feel like trash when they move on from a poor relationship. Men go through this as well. Women have a horrible habit of not giving their man enough attention. To be clear, these things do not pertain to everyone, just the specific group in this conversation.

Now, why do people shame others for needing attention in their relationships? It’s no different than being married. No different than a friendship. If you’re not putting wood on the fire, which is supposed to feul your relationship, it will smolder and die. If you neglect your partner think of them like crops, a grapevine. Your attention is the rain and the shade. Without it, the vine withers, becomes sunken, and misshapen because it wasn’t taken care of.

As young adults, and even grown adults, we sometimes forget that romance, that caring for someone, is a skill. It is something you have to flex, and use to become good at, and become comfortable with. We’ve all seen how someone can glow and grow with the proper care, so it should make sense that without that care and they will do poorly.

I imagine that I shouldn’t be surprised about the responses I’ve received or heard others have received for leaving someone who neglects us of what we need. Are we to stay? To be sucked dry, while gaining no nourishment in return… If not, why continue to shame people for leaving those situations, where is the sense in that?

Can’t Sleep Series: 1

Every once in awhile, more frequently lately, I allow myself to see, knowing it will never be, I tease myself, with the possibility, I lie awake at night, imagining, missing the heat, the pain of what could be.

Moving ?

Atlanta has been on my mind for a while, I’m not quite ready to move yet, but in the next year or two I’m uprooting. I’m nervous though. All my life I’ve lived with someone, family or friends. Although some of those experiences were complete garbage, some were amazing. I wouldn’t mind living alone, but living alone somewhere new is a bucket load of anxiety. New city, New state? But, again, God is working in my favor. My brother is moving to Atlanta, so even if I live alone, I have attachments to my Maryland life. Even if he doesn’t, my Godmother lives relatively close to Atlanta, so I’ll still have family there to support me.

I can be a loner, but in my heart I’m a person of passion; just not with all people. Intimacy is a driving force for me. It’s what has led me to each and every one of my passions. And most of my relationships. When I took the time to get to know myself, and reflect on some things, I realized I am run by intimacy, or at least my want of it. It resides in every aspect of my life, especially my relationships. Knowing this about myself now helps me understand why I respond and react to most things the way I do. It’s one of the reasons why I’ve spent time deciding where to live. Because on those days or those times when touch is pivotal and absolutely necessary for my survival, I’ll be able to obtain it .

Other than that, I’ve never been in the city except for once to visit, what I call, an adopted cousin. I’m pretty sure that I won’t be anywhere near the heart of it though. I find that I don’t like driving in cities. People are lunatics! This weekend I spent some time in New York, and I thought we were going to get into an accident every five minutes. Thought I was gonna have a daggone panic attack riding with this dude. Traffic, traffic makes me nervous. Wide, multi lane crossings make me nervous. Lol maybe it was just his driving lol. Right outside the city or the suburbs seem like just the right spots for me.

Regardless, I’m excited. For the first time in my life, I have begun the road of financial stability. But it’s just the beginning, and it’s exciting for me. For the third week, maybe even the fourth, maybe even the fifth, I’ll have money left from each check, had savings, my bills are paid, I brought all my Christmas presents for friends and family, had an emergency and didn’t have to touch my savings, and I can eat every single day without worrying about my bank account! All of my college and young adults understand exactly where I’m coming from on this one. You guys know how hard it is.

Anyway, I figured with the progress I’ve made, and my determination, in the next year too, I will be living in a different state and I will be moving forward with my life in a very different way. Or maybe just moving forward period.

Refugees

What I’m not understanding is how people are holding an entire nation responsible for the terrorist attacks of ISIS. To me, it’s just another opportunity for people to allow their fear to create hatred, racism, and prejudice against human beings they know nothing about. Let’s be honest, if we take this back, Europeans are the reason the world is swinging from its axis the way that it is. If you refuse to believe that, you’re most likely a part of the problem. I’ll get back to why later.

What saddens me, breaks my heart is that Syria is getting bombed from all sides. People are saying the French have the right, but who deems that to be the case. It’s murder. They are murdering innocent men, women, and children. They are destroying people’s lives who had nothing to do with what happened at ANY of the terrorist attacks that have been happening. Yet people are justifying their behavior. You are a part of the problem. This is exactly how the cycle continues. It breeds more hate, more distrust, and you are giving these terrorist groups ammo as you continue to needlessly murder innocent human beings.

What’s irritating and infuriating are the individuals on Facebook, who are mostly white, that are posting meme after meme about not accepting Syrian refugees. They are justifying this ignorance by saying that the refugees should prove their religion in order to be granted entry, that they are going to murder Americans, and that there are Americans already suffering so the United States doesn’t have the resources.

Let’s start at the first piece of horsedung. People have been shoving Christianity out of this country like garbage. By all means necessary. Debunking the fact that this country was even founded on Christianity, so why now are they using it as a method to predict if someone is capable of suicidal bombings, or terrorist attacks? It’s hilarious to me how the media and our government uses religion as a means of control all the while turning people against it. Think on that.

Second load of dung. The refugees may kill Americans. Baltimore’s death toll has hit 300 and is rising. You care? I haven’t seen any social theories or any critical social analysis on why or how to stop what’s happening. American police have killed more people than those that were killed in the Paris bombing. You care? Because many of you say the officers had the right to kill another human being who was unarmed regardless of what evidence shows otherwise. So while you have this bogus self righteous worry about Americans losing their lives, remember that Americans are killing Americans and you’re not even batting an eye. 

Lastly, let’s talk about the lack of resources. Name a time where this wasn’t the case. And I’m done. See how easy that was. But just to add some flavor. Where have you donated? What letters have you written for social reform? How do you feel about raising minimum wage, how do you feel about outsourcing American jobs so that children and women can slave for less than soda machine change in order to make your goods? How do you feel about free healthcare,  preventative healthcare? What have you done?

When I really sit back and look at the dominant group of people who are posting these memes they’re white. So that means, you’re a descendant of an immigrant, a descendant of a European destroyer, a descendant of a refugee, or a descendant of an illegal immigrant. Overall, you’re an unwanted settler. Let’s talk about. If you weren’t of European blood, most likely your ancestors were viewed the way Mexicans are viewed now. Your people were bottom feeders, unwanted, less than, and were treated as such. That’s what’s so funny about it.

We take/took history classes to learn about the things we shouldn’t repeat. We learn so we don’t make the same mistakes but here we are. The same ones who cried about the Holocaust are saying to turn Syrian refugees away. The same people who questioned “what was the US doing when the Jew’s were being annihilated” are the same people saying to turn Syrians away. NONE of you would be here, exactly here the way you are now, if the Natives of this land hadn’t welcomed, and helped the first settlers. But you’re right… Let them die, turn them away, and when your children and grandchildren ask you “What was the US doing when the Syrians were being annihilated” you can tell them you helped.

The Help

Watching this and a lot of what the movie represents, is still relevant. Black mothers still are telling their Black daughters to watch their mouths, not to sass, not to be outspoken. When we go to school, we’re told we have to try harder, we have to be better than everyone else to get the same recognition, and that we can’t act the way the other kids act. You can believe this or you cannot. Be the problem or acknowledge it.

When I was in college, I took Sociology of gender, and racial and cultural minorities. Often times, both classes would be speaking on similar issues. I specifically remember reading a dissertation about Black children. The teachers, even black ones, would tell their Black students they couldn’t have fun the way white children could. One specific story was about a black girl who was having a bad day and yelled, her teacher told her she didn’t have the luxury of expressing herself that way.

Why is it, that these messages are still being passed down. Why is it when you see a group of black students you want to tell them they can’t stand around, that they need to be productive? Don’t they know everyone is watching them? Waiting for them to mess up? That’s a deep seeded sociological and social issue. Whether black or white, we have to stop thinking this way and putting it, forcing it, on our kids. We should teach them to be the best, so that they can be proud, so they can say they did their best, not because they need to prove anything to anyone.

I look back at who I used to be. I’ve lost the brave girl, she never took any bull, now I take a good bit. The more I acknowledge it, the closer I get to getting her back. That’s the beauty of our time. Even with the rampant racist, sexist, and ignorant bs, we can do better. We can acknowledge our flaws and change them. Instead of focusing on changing everyone else, we change, we don’t take an eye for an eye (even when it feels like the most relieving thing to do), we give love even when it hurts.

I still struggle to continue being a loving person. I struggle not to turn into a cold person. Every time someone hurts me, it gets easier to want to be cold, but harder to actually do it. So, be honest with yourself. If you know you’re a liar, fess it up, and do better. If you know you’re a nasty manipulator, stop using your ability negatively. Manipulate people to be happy, to love more, don’t hurt them. We all have gifts, use them to help others and maybe we can finally get some progress that isn’t just face value.

Negation

I never saw myself as the marrying type, but it seems like lately I think about settling down. I have surmised, with the help of my friend and mentor, that I feel behind the curve. Like everyone has children and are getting married, and I’m over here chilling, and figuring out a solid budget. Sadly, I think I’ve been in something of a baby fever. I didn’t want to admit it to myself, but I am feeling the tug on my uterus. I’m only 24. My mentor gut checked me today when we talked about this. I needed to regain focus, I’m too young to lose all of this glorious freedom that I have, there was absolutely no reason for me to rush myself into even more responsibility.

The more we talked, the more in depth we got. One of the things she’d brought up was my stagnant living concerning my passions. She’d noticed that all my talk of graduate school, moving, hanging out with friends (quality time), and making music stopped. When she said it, my eyes opened so wide. I could really feel the skin tighten. She was right. I hadn’t even realized that I’d shut down pretty much all of my passions. I’ve been stagnant. I imagine this also has something to do with my desire to settle down. I’m incomplete.

Without my passions, there are all these holes growing the more I don’t fill them. They connect and a bigger hole forms, and next thing you know, I feel like a robot. Wake up, eat, work, work, eat, go home, shower, sleep, and repeat. It doesn’t take much thought, much passion, or much of anything really to keep going the way that I am; it’s easier without wanting other things. In fact, I’ve been more at peace by negating my passions. But I realized, it’s not really peace, it’s just the absence of. I can do better though, and talking to her lit me back to life. Although I realize there are things I need to be myself that are missing, I know it’s temporary, and that there are smaller things I can do to nourish those needs.

Random Thoughts

The last couple weeks I’ve been having a hard time. Health wise, the fatigue has been overwhelming, my mind has been foggy, and I’m frustrated. I’ve noticed that even when I talk about basic things now a days, I can’t find certain words, or I can’t focus enough to get what I’m saying across. As someone who likes to be articulate, I find it to be embarrassing that I have to take time to construct a thought. I know it’s temporary, so I try not to be overly upset about it. The last week or so I have been beating myself up a lot though. Questioning my motives, my moves, and what I’m doing with my life and time. I have no direction right now. For a little while, I was at peace with this, but lately I find myself to be overwhelmed with the infinite possibilities available.

Why don’t I know what I want to do? Or do I know what I want and I just don’t know how to do it? Because if I could, I’d write all day and make a living that way. I’d travel and write about the places I’ve ventured too. I’d take beautiful photos and try to figure out ways for others to have or enjoy those experiences. That’s what I would love to do, but is that feasible? How can I make that happen? I also love to edit. I mean really love it. I like reading people’s work and marking it up, making suggestions, and asking questions about the text. It’s one of the main reasons why I worked at TRiO Learning Center. So I could edit people’s papers (although they are a bit different from fiction works). How can I make this happen for a career?

I made a list for what I want for a job. The different options or interests that I have. I’ll be taking the time to meditate on that until a clear picture is formed in my mind. I often wonder if anybody else has it all together or if I’m in the minority here. The traveling a road and not knowing where I’m going seems to be the way I’ve gone through my whole life, but how do you plan? I ask this because people often say, “I have a plan” “You need to make a plan”, but me, how do you do that? Life is so uncertain. How can I say in 5 years, this is where I will be, I have NO idea. Is the plan supposed to tell me? Is trying to plan supposed to give me an idea? Am I supposed to go make this plan based on what I want in life? I wasted 25k to go to college because it’s what you’re supposed to do. 25k but owe 31k. The additional money is money I didn’t even spend, but let me not even go into the conspiracy of college and why it costs so much.

Anyway, I don’t think I’m lost. But I also don’t know where I’m going. I know I want more. I want to have the job of my dreams, I just need to figure out what that is!

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