Today, it makes 3 weeks into the #bloglikecrazychallege. I am remembering where I was the night before Thanksgiving last year and I am filled with nothing but gratitude. Pneumonia struck and Hubby was in the hospital. We spent several days there and missed time with our family. Although I despise the origins of the holiday, I treasure time spent with family eating and talking.
Here are some other things I am currently grateful for:
1. Having a place to call home.
2. A healthy family. Even though things could be going better in that department, no one is hospitalized and I am grateful for that.
3. Friends who pray for me, love me and let me know they are still here if I need them.
4. Creative expression. Writing, dance, film, cooking, fashion, painting, sculpting, crafting, music… I need to know it’s in the world. It is a blessing I know it’s in the world and I am humbled to be able to contribute in any small way.
5. My freedom. Some may value it less or try to diminish it but it is my freedom. I am deserving of it and I claim it.
I charged up my old phone last night, an LG Razor Edge. It was the phone I used when Hubby and I were dating and when we were first married. I retrieved the text messages and looked at the photos. I still have the first text and photo we took together. Like many new couples, we often said we loved and missed each other. We were mushy and flirtatious.
When I first got engaged, a few women (married women) told me not to get married. They seemed sure I would be miserable and unfulfilled a few years later. It’s true–things did get harder. We have faced medical issues that have scared me and adjusting to living together, merging our lives and finances has not always been what I dreamed it would be.
But there are times when I look at him and know I couldn’t be anywhere else and there is really no grass that is greener.
What’s better is we still flirt, hold hands and say I love you. Six years of marriage and we look forward to seeing each other at the end of the day.
I have told some friends I (almost) wish more couples could go through trials where they fear they could lose the other person. Even for a moment. More people wouldn’t be so quick to throw it all away. Happy doesn’t always look and feel the way you think it will and no version of perfection actually exists.
I certainly don’t have all the answers to anyone’s relationship problems but I would ask anyone to not take the love they have at home for granted.
It may turn out to be the love you were supposed to fight for and the love you may never have again.
Today, I woke up excited for the new year. I know–it’s November and there are still holidays left to celebrate.
I can’t put my finger on why I was jubilant on this particular morning however I know there is so much to look forward to. Here are a few:
1. Going somewhere new. Hubby and I choose a different city/state and hopefully soon, country to go to for our anniversary in lieu of gifts.
2. I am going to a Broadway show in New York again and I am determined to see an Alvin Ailey show there in 2019, too.
3. My digital story, along with the other women who participated in the University of Alabama Digital Storytelling Workshop for Women of Color will have our work published in Liminalities.
4. 2019 will be the year I dance consistently as part of a class. I have never felt as strongly as I do now that I need to have something just for me, something I commit to, just for me.
5. Finishing my novel. I have talked about this at length before. This will be my year. That’s all there is to it.
What are you looking forward to in 2019?
I was reflecting on a time when a lot was happening but if you asked me back then, I would have told you it was a slow crawl to nowhere. I somehow knew I wouldn’t stay there but I didn’t know exactly how to get where I needed to be.. I was around 19.
During that time, one of my jobs was at a credit card company where I did data entry and scanning from 1pm to midnight. There were a lot of students or people like me who were taking time away from school.
One of the women I worked with seemed sad, anxious and then surprisingly bubbly at times. Let’s call her Pam. She was a full-figured bespectacled woman in her mid-30s with an 80’s pageboy haircut who only wore high-waisted tight stonewash jeans with plain, tucked in T-shirts. She seemed afraid of her own body, her own shadow and her curves.
I tried to befriend her. We bonded over books. I offered to help her shop and clean her apartment. It was littered with used snotty tissues and empty soda cans. One day, I was driving back to her place after a shopping trip. She took the opportunity to tell me something she believed.
Pam told me that she believed some people never get better. Some people never recover from depression and there is no amount of therapy, medication, diet or lifestyle change that will ever help them.
Then she told me she believed she was one of those people. I told her I hoped she wasn’t but I pretty much left the subject alone. Soon afterwards, I left the job and a couple of years later, I got my act together and went a couple hours away to finish college.
I was walking out of the library one afternoon and ran right into her! It was surreal. I was 23, about 75 pounds smaller living in the mountains but there she was, a random person from my past. She looked the same but there was something different about her. I approached her, reintroduced myself and she told me she was there on a tour for prospective freshmen.
Our reunion was short-lived but I walked away with hope. Maybe she believed she wasn’t one of those people anymore. Pam was clearly open to starting over or at least believed herself worthy of it.
I haven’t thought about her in years but this afternoon she crossed my mind. Maybe it’s because of my college visit this past weekend or because of this new trial Hubby and I are going through.
I want to remain open to fresh starts, rewrites, unexplored paths no matter where they may take me or where I am beginning from.
After all, aren’t I worthy enough?
I was listening to a podcast in which the woman, a fellow psoriasis sufferer, said after years of using biologics (injectable medicinal treatment), she took a break. After a while, she said she spoke to her scales. She told her scales that it was ok for them to be there. She invited her scales to stay if they wanted to. I suppose she wanted to take away the stress that comes with their arrival.
After the invite, her scales began to disappear. Her story made me question the power I give to the scales when they come to visit. I have gotten used to the coming and going, the scars, the blood, the itchy sensations and the constant leaving behind of my skin everywhere especially during drier seasons.
I am trying to imagine a world where I see a new plaque and find a peaceful way to say it’s ok for it to be here. A way to not give power to the stress.
Maybe releasing the stress will be the most important effective tactic for the scales not to feel at home in this body, especially since stress is a trigger. Maybe after inviting them to stay, they will no longer feel the need to overstay their welcome.
I don’t know how I will do this but the part that attracted me the most was the stress release. I am open to the results that may come but I am more excited about what I am going to do just for me that will enable its release.
Today is my birthday and I spent it doing some of my favorite things plus taking a brief look back. I walked around with Hubby, spent ample time in a bookstore and ate delicious food. My brief look back was because I did it at my college Alma mater.
I hadn’t been in 12 years. It was surreal to drive by old dorms and regale Jeff with stories of a time gone by. It was strange to see everything new and comforting to see how some things never change. I almost wanted all of my friends to be here with me so we could laugh at all the same memories.
But the loveliest part was it felt like I was properly introducing an old segment of my life, of me to my husband. A place where I started to grow into the woman he married.
Of all of the places we could have chosen to celebrate this new year, I am glad we chose this one.
It warms my whole heart to look into the past without being stuck there.
I am at the halfway point of my #bloglikecrazy challenge. Here are three ways it’s already different from last year:
1. It has not been as hard to come up with topics. I am not sure if it’s because I set the intention from Day 1 that I wanted to explore more topics besides writing and plant-based health but it works!
2. While I’m writing, the words flow more freely and I believe it’s because of the consistent practice of blogging in the last year.
3. Because it’s no longer a new challenge, I look forward to not only hitting my goal of completing it but seeing how my focus shifts afterwards.
I am grateful to be halfway and look forward to other takeaways as bloglikecrazy comes to a close.
I was having a conversation with a co-worker today about your house looking exactly the way you want it to.
Neither of us are in that position. We both talked about taking steps to get it and keep it that way including organizers and repairs and adding small things like a house plant.
In the midst of our talk, she stated something profound:
“I don’t want to come home to a second job.”
That was deep for me! I have come home more times than I care to admit to clothes not put away, a cluttered kitchen table or spying something broken that we’ve been “meaning to fix”.
I have given away clothes, books and thrown away broken or dilapidated items we no longer use but I know there is more to be done to reach my minimalism goals.
The older I get the more I realize I want my home to be a reflection of my ideal mental state: tranquil and balanced with an appreciation for beauty.
I have had good days but no days where every room looks, feels and smells the way I want all at the same time.
I don’t know if it’s completely attainable without pretending like it’s an open house every day but I certainly intend to consistently try.
On Sunday, I watched the Michelle Obama interview with Robin Roberts. She is promoting her new book “Becoming” and I couldn’t have been more excited to watch her open up about her life.
I don’t know if this is a hard process for her or if she’s been waiting awhile to get some things off of her chest. I tried to imagine what that would feel like…leaving such a bright spotlight and then easing back in even for a book tour.
And I couldn’t.
My imagination is limited because I lack the “all eyes on me” experience. There was a time in my life when words was all I wanted to represent me and I didn’t share very many of those and definitely not too many pictures. The thought of prying (and judging) eyes horrified me. Writing on this platform obviously changed things as did my decision to join social media two years ago.
The fear I held was due to insecurities, the lack of intimate connection I witnessed with the progression of technology and my all-around comfort with being alone. But experience is a teacher.
It has taught me my story should be shared. That if I don’t, I wilt. If I don’t, the pieces of me affected by psoriasis, plants, marriage, being Haitian-American, reading, family, Christ, doubt, joy, depression, unexplained connection, frustration, curiosity, Blackness…all of it dies with me.
I want it to be very much alive.
I want to pass it to you.