What I’m Excited About

5 Things I’m Excited About:

  1. Time off the next few days without the expectation of going to work, a class or a meeting. I have days off but I regularly schedule appointments, meetings and errands. The only thing I am committed to is posting here until the end of the month.

2. Time to read. Octavia Butler’s “The Parable of the Sower” and “The Parable of the Talents” have been on tables and nightstands throughout my home. Started and put back down to write, sleep, work and binge watch to unwind. I am a better writer when I read and also far more inspired.

3. Taking a few more bike rides before it gets too cold. We haven’t out on our bikes in a while and I want to get back out there. I don’t believe I have ridden my bike through fall leaves since I was a little girl. I am looking forward to doing that again.

4. My upcoming workshop “Get Lifted: Using Music and Poetry to Find Your Light.” I keep finding songs and poems that seem perfect for it. I am hopeful listening, writing and reading aloud together will produce an experience that actually leaves us lighter and ready to try it again.

5. Seeing my family over Zoom tomorrow. It’s been a few months since we have all seen each other at the same time virtually and in person, years. COVID-19 has taken away so much but it cannot take this.

Boundaries

I took a couple of days to rest so today was my first day back to Miracle Mornings. There was a lot of talk about boundaries. Who we let in our inner circle. Who pours into us? Who drains us? Is there a balance?

I have had this conversation with myself several times over the years. I knew when it was time to slip away or when I simply didn’t have the energy anymore. Sometimes it happened rather quickly or it took years because of my refusal to see what was in front of me. Because I refused to acknowledge the dread or panic I felt when I saw a particular name on the phone. It was easier to be there to listen or lean on than admit it was mostly one-sided and I was tired.

In those situations, I can only point the finger at myself. Asking for what I need in any relationship is my job. It is also my job to discern where people fit in and how my energy is invested. Please understand I know people are doing the same with me. People have disappeared, grown distant and drawn closer over the years and sometimes one person has done all three. That is OK. I may never know why relationships develop or weaken in my life and to be honest, I don’t always want to know. If I hurt someone, I want the opportunity to talk it through. If that person just has outgrown me or we feel each other drifting with no animosity, no words need to be spoken.

This has been the hardest for me to go through as an adult. It challenged my courage, my honesty, my ability to communicate, how I viewed myself as a source of support and my value as a friend, daughter, sister, cousin and wife.

Establishing boundaries, how we choose to protect ourselves and energy is ever evolving. I believe I will be working through it whether or not I am open to growth, open to trust or open to the love people are trying to give.

Word of the Day

My word of the day is rest. My idea of raucous activity today is stretching, sipping everything hot I can find and sleeping. Typically, when I get rundown and the coughing ramps up, I know it’s time to be still. I had to learn the hard way (a few times) if I keep pushing, convincing myself “it’s nothing”, I end up in a worse place, physically and emotionally.

The bed calls on mornings like these and I listen. I have a big day coming next week. The last thing I need is to be ushering in a milestone birthday, sniffling and exhausted. But even while feeling like this, I find myself rolling over, reaching for a pen and notebook on my bedside table. I jotted down thoughts about a possible song to use for my upcoming class and I am writing this post. It was comforting to have my creativity running even while I rest and recover.

It still feels like I am choosing myself.

Winning?

I had a conversation yesterday. Let me be real. A therapy session yesterday.

I talked.

About lots of issues. Family. My own marriage. A need for me to let go of the things I cannot or should not always control. My lack of trust and faith in others. I am not sleeping full nights.

And I kept talking.

About all the “shoulding” I have done during the quarantine these last couple of months. I should have written more and read more than 4 books. Did I watch all of the revolutionary interviews and experience all of these mind-blowing Verzus battles live? Did I watch all the shows? How about getting back into perfecting burpees to return back to the shape I was in at Strongman competition time? Shouldn’t I take more than just the one writing class? What about daily walks? All of those people in this motivational FB group are going live, talking about their insecurities and constantly interviewing for podcasts… should I be in this mix? Did I donate enough? Did I contact everyone for Mother’s Day? How about starting an indoor garden? But oh wait!  I did learn to play poker and I am working with Hubby on this 1000-piece puzzle and I continue to work from home.

Then I stopped talking.

It was pointed out that I was listing goals, checking off imaginary boxes, obsessing over what the next few months may bring (financially and otherwise) and whether I am doing enough right now in order to do what?

She observed all these mental gymnastics I was performing were not just in order to keep up with family, friends, stay distracted, entertained and to make a living but I was acting as if any of these things were going to change what’s going on “out there.”

As if any of these things were going to make me “win the quarantine.”

As if I accomplish all of these things, come out on the other side with a stunning body, a thick and voluminous curly afro, a couple of manuscripts ready to pitch and new languages acquired, I will change the reality of what’s out there.

A scary pandemic, conflicting opinions, no answers as to when this will actually be over and a world where people who are Black like me and my husband are never quite safe. We never know if and when we will be confronted with the fear and hatred people have for us solely based on our race. I never know when we will be perceived as a threat: during a walk? driving? Sitting at home eating ice cream on our own couch?

My lists, my books, puzzles, card games, work, television, dancing to music, working out and social media engagement won’t change it.

It won’t make it all go away.

So what can be done?

I can write about it.

I can talk about it.

I can cry about it.

I can let myself fall into bed, let my mind find the peace it seeks and sleep.

I can sit in the sunshine on my balcony and pray.

I can build myself up enough emotionally to allow myself to engage authentically in the things I truly want to do, not what I think should be done.

I can relieve the pressure.

And let it be.

If some days look like a short walk outside before work, cooking, journaling and putting a puzzle together, I will let it be.

If somedays I need to sleep longer, eat and laugh at reruns of “The Office”, I will let it be.

Anything else doesn’t work for me.

Because it’s not about winning the distraction or achievement quarantine Olympics, it’s about finding a healthy and real way through it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Engaged

Last week Hubby and I went to Charleston, SC for vacation. We walked around the French Quarter including the City Market and talked to vendors. We lounged lazily in our beach chairs and splashed in the warm waves at Isle of Palms beach, visited a delightful farmer’s market in Mt. Pleasant and ate at a couple of delicious plant-based restaurants.

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When we came back to our room in the evenings, we made no apologies for simply wanting to power all the way down, connect with each other and fall asleep guessing who won Chopped. We slept late, let our skin drink in the sun and didn’t think of work.

On the way back, I knew I was going to miss being away on vacation but there was something else I was going to miss: how engaged I felt. 

While I was walking along the beach, I listened to nothing but the water, the conversation and laughter of passerbys. At one point, Hubby and I were standing in the ocean and it started to thunder. I waded out as far and as fast as I could to have one last moment before having to leave. That moment almost seems nondescript but there was a desperate quality to my run. Even as I sit here now, I can feel the weight of the water on my legs.

We talked and sang (badly) the entire way home. As much as I enjoyed Charleston, it was clear to me it could have been almost anywhere because I allowed myself to get lost in my time there. I allowed myself not to seek constant distraction.

I now know that anything less is cheating myself.

I won’t be doing that again.

Day 17

I started my day off at the doctor’s office for my follow-up appointment. I got the best news possible. I am getting better, no X-rays needed and my blood pressure completely normalized. As I was waiting for the doctor to come back with my blood test results, the difference of how I was feeling this morning compared to Tuesday afternoon washed over me. There was not a struggle for my next breath and it didn’t take effort to keep my eyes open. Over the last few days, I’ve reflected on how much I take for granted, even the ability to breathe easily. This 21-Day challenge has forced me to be mindful of how I go about my day, all of the little decisions. Being ill has made me mindful that even my next breath is not guaranteed. I don’t think I will ever forget it.

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Got good news today!

With only a few days left, I will resume light physical activity, continue drinking water and write every day. Thoughts of what will come next have already come knocking on this brain of mine. I have some ideas that need to be fleshed out but I know consistency has made a home here.

Ok-off to chug this water and enjoy my Friday night!

Stay tuned for Day 18!

Day 16

Day 16 of my 21-Day Water-Workout-Write 21-Day Challenge

I am still at rest, hoping my breathing goes back to normal so I can resume my life. There are many times I love lying around the house, reading, catching up on new shows and movies, talking on the phone and chilling with hubby. But I have had my fill. That is probably because it’s not my choice. I feel grounded.

However, I can be grateful for the time that I do have to rest up because next week I will be on the road to go to the Summit of Greatness in Columbus, OH hosted by Lewis Howes. It’s strange how fast a year goes by. I went to the 1st annual event last year. I am looking forward to being energized by the sheer amount of goal-driven people from all over the planet converging together in one theater to listen to titans of industry in motivational speaking, sports, psychology and coaching. I wonder what take-aways I will come home with this year. Last year, I learned how vital it is to move forward, even if it’s limping forward from Fabio Viviani and courtesy of Stacy London, the thing that you think that you are trying to hide is the thing people notice the most.

I am also writing a guest blog post. I pitched an idea that was accepted and I am sending off my piece this weekend! I love the idea of contributing to another blogger and building each other’s platforms up. Even though I feel sidelined, I am still attacking my goals.

And not a soul can take that away from me.

Stay tuned for Day 17!

Day 15

It was a day of rest, for sure. I got a couple of nice messages from friends who read yesterday’s blog and offered help and well wishes. It’s moments like these that I know people outside of my hubby and family have my back.

I got a call with better news just a few minutes ago. My X-ray was sent out and now it seems that I have bronchitis and not pneumonia, like they originally thought. I am thankful that my breath is starting to come back and in a few days, I should feel like myself again. It may sound silly to some but when I called the nurse back to get the update on my X-Ray and was put on hold, I prayed and affirmed I was in perfect health. I was at peace by the time she came on the line. And I will keep that peace until and through my follow-up appointment on Friday. Tonight, I am looking forward to a hearty homemade vegetable noodle soup made by my hubby, reading and little bit of writing.

Even though I am tired, I know I am on the mend. My smile is coming back.

And I have my peace.

Day 14

Let me start by saying what I thought was a cough was not a cough. I know I have the tendency to push through but today I found myself trying to catch my breath while sitting down. And I knew something was wrong. I drove straight to the doctor’s office, trying to calm my nerves and fight tears back. Didn’t work. I know it’s best just to let them flow. It’s never healthy to pretend I am not feeling what I am feeling. Besides, what’s the point?

I underwent my first breathing treatment (completely uncomfortable for me). Hubby left work to be by my side. I know I can do things on my own however if I don’t have to, I don’t want to. I want the hand holding and the mindless chit-chat to keep my mind from roaming places it shouldn’t.

Like I said, it was not a cough. Turns out, I have been working and exercising and pushing through pneumonia. So, I am really going to use my inhaler, take my medicines and slow down. I promise you, through labored breath there is a part of me that wants to jump up and work out but that’s the part of myself I am shutting down. Staying rested and hydrated is my only job for as long as my body requires.

Stay tuned for Day 15!

Day 8

It started off well. About an hour after I woke up, I couldn’t stop coughing. My body was telling me to Shut. It. Down. I decided to listen and got back into the bed and let myself rest. I wish there was more to tell but I stayed down most of the day. I started to feel better towards the end of the day but the cough is still with me. My husband tried to tell me to not workout but and I promised I would just do a couple of low impact videos, maybe 15 minutes of walking per video.

And that’s how it began. At first, my eyes were closing and I found myself yawning. I tried to shake the fatigue loose. By the end of the second video, I was alert and ready to head into a third low-impact video. I hit my steps goals and this earned sweat feels better than any other workout thus far in this challenge. I still have a little bit of a cough and I am glad to take it easy for the rest of the evening. It would have been ok to say Day 8 is all about rest and to continue to sleep but I had a little bit left in me.

Stay tuned for Day 9 tomorrow!