What’s Keeping Me Up at 3 a.m.

1. Debt. How is that one can have more debt than ever and simultaneously the best credit they have ever had? The system that’s what.

2. Even plus sized models are airbrushed. I recently got to meet one of my faves in person, and although stunningly beautiful (like I’m jealous), she is clearly photoshopped quite a bit. This helps because I have been having a bad body image week, and seeing plus women with all flat tummies has not been helpful.

3. But then I just saw a “curvy” untouched model who says she is normal and is half my size with no stretch marks. Feeling a little terrible again.

4. My relationship with food is a nightmare, especially now with health concerns. I worry about everything I put in mouth, I feel out of control often even if I’m cutting something into thirds or fourths, and I make a lot of nutritious choices, but also a lot not so much. I envy people with no sweet tooth or wine craving. I should not be up worrying about meals ate yesterday and all the people with more self control than me. I am a therapist, I know this unhealthy. And yet, here we are.

5. Speaking of food and health conditions, I’m so afraid I’m going to die or become really sick young. And yet, making a lifestyle change is harder now than ever before.

6. For one, I’m tired of dieting. I’ve done it all my life. And now, I need that control more than ever.

7. I haven’t worked out in two weeks. Sure, I have walked miles most days, I can climb stairs with minimum effort now, but that seems to do little for my waistline or arms. I feel kinda huge compared to everyone. It’s not enough.

8. I’m ready for the snow today. That will help make it feel like the holidays.

9. Can’t believe NC got snow before I did!

10. I hope the mouse in my apartment is dead. Haven’t seen him since the super put out the poison. Living in the city is weird.

11. Will I ever find love? Am I even cut out for a relationship?

12. Plane flights. Coming back from NC after the holidays has not been planned yet. They are expensive right now. Ok, not awful, but the return flights were cheaper 6 weeks ago when I bought my outbound flight. Wasn’t ready to commit though.

13. Why am I always warm? I could use a little a/c and it is 30°F outside and my fan is on. Something might be wrong with me.

14. I think writing this all out helped clear my mind.

Back to sleep I go.

I’m Going Through A Growing Pain and It Hurts Like Hell

You haven’t heard much from me lately, but that’s what anxiety does (and perhaps a sprinkling of depressive symptoms) – it makes you feel very apprehensive and approach avoidant about sharing. And every time someone says to me, “you’re so honest,” I try to decode if that means I’m pitiful and burdensome or truly courageous and inspiring; and lately I’m not so sure.

You see, I’m going through a transformative period, a growing pain, if you will, and I’m only so sure about this because I’ve been here before and know that you go through hard things to get better, stronger, and more resilient. Or so, I have been made to believe. I think it is true, but it hurts. And it’s hard. And I’m tired.

One of my growing pains stems from my career. For a couple years now, I have felt I have been searching for meaning and growth in my professional journey. I left a job I loved because it was time to spread my wings, and honestly, I’ve had my wings clipped more than once since then. I also know that it is easy to look back on those days with wistful nostalgia, but during that time, especially towards the end, the growth began there too, and it was also painful.  You see, for me, my career is beyond simply a job or something I do. It is my calling, my only love for now, the yearning for my soul, and my purpose. This is a lot to put into a job. But it is more than a job to me, and for a single, sometimes, failing at other parts of adulting, gal, this calling is the love of my life. To serve others, to speak for the voiceless, to bring about real change with the work I do, even if I’m one piece of the puzzle, is so important. And not to mention, success and competence at work, growing in my career – these things give me great personal satisfaction and fuels my worth. Maybe this isn’t healthy, maybe it is selfish (the last part), but it is me. There are many reasons why this so that I have explored with a therapist in the past, but it’s still me nonetheless.

And so, here I am in this career crisis. Nowhere near a beginner, but not quite sure if I’m a mid level professional, and feeling like a fish out of water lately. Feeling both plagued with incompetence and competence, a little too young, a little too old, and a lot lonely, I ask myself lots of questions here. And I’m sure these questions are beyond just my career. What is next? Where do I go? How do I go? Am I doing the right things? Do I make an impact? Do I do enough? Am I enough?

Am I enough?

AM I?

A thought that has never been absent in a growing period. A thought that haunts me all the time. A thought that can be both empowering and crippling. How does one ever measure up to enough? How do measure up to enough? And then comes another question that I have grappled with day in and out – am I too much? Are my flaws, my quirks, my voice, my being – too much? Is it me?

A long,soft sigh usually escapes my mouth at that point. These are the sharp pangs of a transformative experience. Other things include questioning your purpose, redefining and questioning relationships with friends and family, feeling hopeless at times, feeling joyous others, a roller coaster really, and really not wanting anyone to know or burden anyone. It means your quiet, but ever presents traumas, get louder to remind you that they too, are part of the process. Transformation means sometimes burrowing yourself into the cocoon of exploration, until you blossom into the butterfly of manifestation. It’s quite a beautiful, and yet, sobering process.

But with every growing pain, comes growth. And I have to remind myself constantly of what growth means, the benefits to be reaped. Increased self-confidence, opportunity, renewed energy, love, hope, and wisdom. You gain insight and will. You also often gain weight, but everything comes at a price. 🙂

I have no idea where this transformation will lead me, what brilliant colors will be displayed on my wings as battle scars, or what I will become. However, I’m comforted by an old saying, “just when the caterpillar thought its life was over, it became a butterfly and flew.”

30 Reasons Why I’m Probably Still Single.

I will be 30 in two weeks. Minus a recent blip on the radar, I have spent the majority of my adult life single.

As 30 quickly approaches, and I enter another year of attempting to embrace my singleness, I have been trying to think of some logical reasons as to why I’m still single.

Here’s what I’ve got so far:

1. I didn’t forward quite a few of those chain letters in middle school that said do this or you will never find love.

2. I’m not a huge sports fan.

3. I’m too tall

4. I’m not an amazing dancer which makes me not appealing at clubs

5. Resting bitch face

6. My love of Harry Potter (this one I don’t understand)

7. Social awkwardness

8. I have been cursed

9. People get explosive diarrhea when they think about talking to me and therefore run to the bathroom. When they come out I’ve disappeared.

10. I am too good of a wing woman

11. I’m a super hero. My super power is scaring people away.

12. I blink really hard sometimes. It makes people think I’m crazy.

13. I’m a therapist. This scares people.

14. People realize how awesome I am. Realize they don’t deserve me. So they go find someone less awesome to love instead.

15. My cooking/baking is so amazing it causes them to fear that they will gain a bunch of weight being with me so they run (figuratively that is).

16. Mama ain’t raise no fool.

17. Neither did my dad.

18. The older I get, the lower my tolerance for bullshit becomes.

19. My hip to waist ratio is not correct.

20. I look bougie

21. I was meant to be a military wife. My entire childhood prepared me for it. I do not live near a military base.

22. I’m intimidating

23. The idea of meeting people scares me.

24. I have briefly met, fallen in loved, and planned weddings with so many people that God is just like “look here. You need to stop.”

25. I’m convinced most people are serial killers.

26. I am not ordering pizza at the right time, therefore the really hot pizza delivery man has not shown up at my house yet.

27. Luke Kuechly is just really nervous.

28. This is some sort of test. I am failing miserably.

29. My introverted nature makes me hate chit chat and small talk. These things appear to me integral parts of meeting people and getting to know them and making them fall in love.

30. Pretty sure it’s those stupid chain letters.

So…if you to are approaching an age where you never imagined you would still be single but alas here you are…what are the logical explanations you have come up with for this phenomenon?!?!

A Magical Holiday in NYC Bucket List – 2017 Edition

Anyone who knows me, knows about my slight (in the most gigantic of terms) obsession with the holidays. I have already started binge watching Hallmark Christmas love movies this year enough so that I’m seeing reruns and it’s not even Turkey day yet. I’ve been known to call myself an elf, and argue with people who try to tell me Santa isn’t real. The change of the weather to brisk, cold nights, fills my heart with joy and warmth. My home is usually decked out by 8 p.m. the day after Thanksgiving with Christmas joy and love.

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But this year, instead of Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas”, all I can hear in my head is “what do the lonely do at Christmas (the most depressing and hated Christmas song in my repository)?” I’m seriously missing living closer to my friends and family. Even though I’ve been away from home for 5 years now in other states, this is the first time I’m not surrounded by my framily (friends that are like family, that it is not a typo), to bestow my Christmas joy on before traveling to NC closer to Christmas day. And I’m kind of tired of missing all the celebrations.  I’ve considered not making myself a Thanksgiving meal or even putting up a tree this year, and for me, that is blasphemy. I want to, but holidays aren’t the same when there’s no one to share your Christmas joy with. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been a little lonely lately.

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However, this is my FAVORITE time of year and I just can’t turn scrooge. And NYC, in all of its grandeur and magic, becomes even more magical in the winter and holiday months, so I can’t waste this season. No bah-humbug here folks, nope!

So, I’ve come with a 2017 NYC Holiday Bucket list. I was inspired by one of my beloved Hallmark movies where this woman goes to a small town and creates a bucket list for her and her asshole boyfriend. Of course she falls in love with her childhood prom date or something and they kissed in the snow. I can’t predict that part, but I totally can the other things!! So I’ve created my own list and I am excited to share my journey with you all in this blog! So here goes in no particular order…

Holiday Bucket List

  • Christmas Tree Lighting at Rockefeller
  • Ice Skating
  • Going to all major department stores and looking at window displays
  • Ugly sweater cookie decorating
  • Create a holiday cocktail
  • Try a new cookie recipe
  • Do something kind to help a family/person with the holidays
  • Gift something to a stranger
  • Dress up in holiday cheer
  • Make a Gingerbread House with a new friend

I am really, really excited and feel this will make my Christmas heart grow 10 times its size, so watch out Grinch!!!

I want to invite you all to try a couple, all or make up your own list. And share in the comments. I love talking to you all, but you don’t talk to me!! Let’s all have some holiday cheer.

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I am Not My Hair or My Edges

I love being Black. I love being Woman. The two together make me feel strong and powerful AF, and I feel great joy and pride to think about my ancestors and who they may be and what they fought for. I feel a strong sense of connection to other Black people, giving a nod, or smile as if I belong to a secret society of magical melanin. I  love all people, but I love my people in a unique way. We are a people of triumph. And black women, well, we come in shades, sizes, and shapes of wonder. We have learned to celebrate our beauty.

Well, kind of.

Like any group of people on this planet, we have adopted some oppressive beauty standards and use those to ostracize others, and promote unrealistic and unhealthy ideals of beauty. Two of these include hair and ass. Both of which I personally struggle with.

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This is an extremely difficult meme, as funny as it may be to some, because honestly, these both are hard for me, and one time, this may have made me feel depressed for days.

Today, I will discuss hair, in particular, edges.. Edges seem to be the holy grail of beauty in our community or the foundation of endless humiliation. For those of you not familiar with this seemingly very important issue, it is when you don’t have much hair or have some loss of fullness around your temple, sometimes even a little further back, often due to tight braids or hairstyles (especially when young), but also due to, and often complicated by, nutritional issues, genetics, medications, and stress. This can result in alopecia, specifically traction alopecia, but also often in combination with other types, if any of the factors are involved. You scalp may easily scar and this can kill the follicle, making it difficult for hair to regrow. Some women can do whatever they want to their hair and never experience hair loss, and some may have one hair style, med, or accident, that causes this to happen. Many times, it isn’t our fault, or we didn’t know better, or a well meaning hair stylist, over relaxed, too tightly braided, or over-styled our hair. And we all know how hard it is to sometimes correct a hair stylist, especially if you’re shy like me (I tend to just go home and cry when I hate my hair lol).

It’s not a fun thing to have. Trust me, I know. I have some hair loss in my temples. Additionally, if my hair does not remain braided or put up, I begin to lose hair in the middle of my head. I have been ashamed since day 1, when it started happening around ages 10-12. I wore styles to hide it (making it worse over time), I used sprays to make my edges look fuller, I cried every time I thought about it. Every blog, every joke, every rant about edges made me feel like a personal failure. Like I should have known better, prevented it, etc. I wouldn’t (still won’t) go to new hair stylists for fear of being judged (I had a wonderful stylist once in Charlotte who was so kind and actually helped stop future hair loss and now designs wigs for me). I would be scared to show my friends my hair. I wouldn’t look at myself in the mirror. And even though I realized there was treatment for this, I did not seek treatment until 4 months ago, because of the intense amount of shame I carried about my temples.

Why was I so ashamed? Well, men (who are going bald, which is baffling to me) would make jokes and comments on the web. Stylists put things about hair loss and who they won’t serve on their website. Websites talk about how Black women are losing their hair and edges because of their vanity. Everyone has a topical solution or a vitamin that will restore your hair, and every time it fails, you feel like you fail. And well, a quick Google search  shows the feelings about hair loss in our community, as we joke about anyone struggling with this.

 

These seem funny… I have laughed to hide my pain when these are posted or people joke, and I’ve learned to not take them so seriously, but they are emotionally damaging to many people.

One thing that really gets to me is the way other Black women talk about one another in this situation. We tear each other down about it. We humiliate one another. We act like this is the worst thing that can possibly happen to a person. It also seems that Black women are made to feel that this is wholly our own doing and we are failures because of it. What’s interesting, is when other women of different races have hair loss, there is a different take on hair loss. It seems to me that it is looked at as more of a medical issue; something to get treatment for, embarrassing, maybe, but not a telltale sign of your worth. I am guessing this stems from the complicated relationship Black women with have hair, which I believe pre-dates me and results from historical racial trauma and many years of internalized oppression. We have come to see our worth in physical terms and beauty as very one dimensional. Along with hair, comes the natural versus relaxed, weave versus non weave, the right way to be natural versus the not right way to be natural. I’ve been judged by all of these things – not natural enough, wearing wigs, too kinky of hair, all while dealing with this shame – it is difficult to be a woman.

As I mentioned, 4 months ago, I ventured for the first time to see a dermatologist after trying every remedy ever; a beautiful, smart black woman doctor, who had excellent reviews. And I muttered those words that I have been scared to tell anyone, “I have hair loss.” She took a look and I wasn’t sure what I thought she’d say, but prepared myself for a lecture as I’d received from so many other women. Instead she was the most reassuring human being I had ever met about this. She was compassionate, she didn’t blame me, and she didn’t make it seem like a big deal.  I was so ashamed I didn’t even once consider this as a medical condition, that would be covered by insurance. She assured me that it was, and that this was as real of a medical condition as any condition. She made me believe I deserved treatment. I didn’t realize that up until then, I truly believed I didn’t deserve treatment for my hair loss. It was another thing that I used to validate the idea that I wasn’t worthy or good enough. And so, I began injections, the standard treatment for alopecia of all sorts. The rest of my hair is luckily a big full kinky afro (mainly because I keep it braided – like I said, I lose my hair in the center of my hair easily), but I know that is just luck. It’s early, but the prognosis of my hair recovery is good, but slow, and I can see a little improvement. Had I not let my shame stop me, I might could have had better results faster.

Many women, especially Black women, probably know how hard it is to write a post this vulnerable and transparent about hair. I’m putting myself at huge risk of being ostracized and criticized. Maybe my future boyfriend will read this and decide to not be my future boyfriend. But I want others to know that those seemingly harmless and “funny to you” jokes might be hurting someone. It may be reminding them that they are not worthy for yet another reason. It may be reinforcing stereotypes of beauty. Also, really, is losing your hair the worst thing that can happen to you? I mean why is that even a thing? Men get to go bald and look debonair or distinguished (I admit to loving me a bald man). Wigs and extensions exist for a reason (for both fun and functional reasons – which I use them for both and probably always will, I don’t care what you think about me). For heaven’s sake it is JUST HAIR.

There is an amazing online website for women with hair loss. I don’t ever comment (yet, anyway), but listening to women – both in treatment and others just accepting it and rocking their hair bald or with extensions and wigs – has been eye opening for me. I remember one woman saying, after many failed treatments, said something like “fuck it, it’s not that serious, I’m just going to rock my fabulous wigs, because I am still beautiful. Life goes on. This isn’t the most important thing in life.”

Her stance is what I’m coming to adopt and accept in my life.  Do you think my courageous ancestors that walk with me are concerned about my edges as part of my life purpose? Do you think Harriet Tubman worried about her edges while trying to free slaves? I think not. She had a purpose to fulfill, a great life to live, people to help. And no one ever doubted her impact on the world. People write about her heart, her bravery, her convictions, but never her hair. And I’m sure men and women fell in love with her soul. And I’d rather have a full soul, than full edges. And maybe I can have both. And if not, that’s ok too.

So please, stop shaming other women about a medical condition. We’re all beautiful. Edges or not.

 

 

Knit With Love

I’ve gone back and forth in my head and heart about two things since “the breakup.” What to do with this damned scarf and what to title this blog post.

Options for the scarf:

Burn it

Unravel it in a fit of rage

Cut it into shreds

Hide it somewhere and pretend it never existed

Throw it in the trash

Send it with the most epic passive petty note ever written.

Finish it and donate it.

Don’t finish it and donate it.

Options for the title of this post:

What it’s actually titled or

Knit with (unrequited)Love

So first things first, I am well aware that knitting is about the most grandma hobby an almost 30 year old woman can have. Go ahead and get your jokes out of the way now. I’ve probably heard them all. I’m okay with it. While you’re laughing you should know that I thoroughly enjoy it. It’s therapeutic. And there’s just something about creating something out of nothing that gives me great satisfaction. It’s the same feeling I get whenever I grow a vegetable garden. “Look I made a thing!”

Long story short. Before I came to my senses and ended a terrible relationship that was sucking the life out of me, I was working on a scarf for the male counterpart in said relationship. I began this scarf despite his jokes about my knitting. I worked on the scarf despite him saying multiple times he would never wear it. I secretly wanted to finish the scarf in hopes of it being a way for him to see how much I cared and prayed that maybe, finally, he would believe it. I had a lot of hopes and dreams put into this scarf. Poor scarf!

About halfway through the making of the scarf the relationship ended. And then the question immediately presented itself. What to do with the scarf? I hid it in the compartment in my couch where I keep all my current knitting supplies. (Side note: if you’re reading this and wondering what to get me for my upcoming 30th birthday, some sort of knitting supply storage container or bag would be a lovely idea). I began and finished other projects. More than once I looked into the compartment and seriously considered unraveling the scarf. More than once I tried to throw it away. I tried to pretend the blasted scarf did not exist.

But, alas, the scarf is still here. But I have a plan. Thanks to an old friend who does great work every fall/winter collecting coats for the homeless people of Charlotte, this scarf will soon have a new home. I decided to just bind it off and send it away as is. Half finished, random hearts, spots that were planned for more patterns, and full of hopes, dreams and unrequited love.

But then…I still had the decision of what to name this post. I assumed there would always be a post about the scarf as soon as the decision to make a blog began. Knit with (unrequited)Love was always my go to title. Just seemed to fit. But then, as time has gone by, as my heart as healed, and as I have decided every thing happens for a reason and there is something to be learned from every seemingly terrible situation, I decided on the title we have. Knit With Love.

No matter what, this scarf was knit with love. Whether returned or not. I invested time, energy and a piece of myself into this scarf as I like to believe I do in all relationships, friendships and other areas of my life. Whether those things are returned or not I can not control. I can only decide to love. To love fully. To love completely. To love despite the times that it hasn’t been returned. I have decided not to let those moments of unrequited love ruin my outlook on life. I have decided not to become bitter. I have decided to learn from it and not let it ruin me. I have decided that if for the rest of my life I put out love and it is unrequited that at the end of it all I will not be mad that I loved without boundary and without fear. Okay there’s a little fear but that’s only normal.

So tomorrow the scarf will be handed off to my friend. Not completed but bound off with love. Filled with the hope that whoever receives it will, if even for a moment, feel loved.

The plan is to continue to knit things. Scarves. Fingerless gloves. Ear warmers. Etc. to donate next year, and for years to come or to give to people I like or love. Because even if it’s the lamest of all hobbies…there’s nothing wrong with knitting with love.

Oh, and Incase you didn’t know:

“Hey, Stranger” Season

As the weather tries to get cooler (we are struggling here in NC for some reason), as the colors on the leaves change to their beautiful oranges and golds, and as Christmas music and decorations seem to have exploded onto the shelves and radio stations, I have been quickly reminded that “hey, stranger” season has arrived as well. 

Like ghosts of semi relationships past, i have received four “hey, stranger” text or direct messages this week. Actually five but one was from an actual friend just checking in so I don’t hold it against him. 


So what is a “hey, stranger” text you ask? Well first off, if you have to ask, consider yourself blessed since you’ve never received one! Side note before we get started, if Ruby Rose ever sent me a “hey, stranger” text any advice or thoughts that follow this sentence go out the window! So back to the matter at hand. A “hey, stranger” text is any message you get randomly  from any person you may have once been even the slightest bit interested in whether romantically or otherwise but for what ever reason it didn’t work out. Maybe they ran off and found someone else and got married. Maybe they ghosted you only to pop up now because they realize you’re amazing. Maybe they are currently married and failed to mention that before flirting with you. Maybe they snored so bad you slept in your car the last time you saw them and for that and several other reasons it would never work but now that they are getting old they realize they were an idiot and want to try again. Maybe these are true stories, maybe they aren’t. Either way, these relationships, or semi-relationships, did not work out for one reason or another but for some reason as the whether changes so do peoples feelings and memories so they think it’s a good idea to contact you out of the blue. 


And that’s the issue. It’s totally random and out of the blue. You’ve been minding your business for weeks, months, years and they’ve decided that’s a good indicator that you want to hear from them. 


If you’re anything like me a few things happen when the text appears or  the DM comes through. 1. You are slightly confused as to who the person is because you have either deleted their number or erased them from your memory. 2. An epic battle takes place between being a bitch or politely telling them to go back from whence they came. 


If you’re also like me you usually try to politely tell them to go away which always ends badly. They don’t understand politeness. They see it as weakness and they still try to sneak in. So then you ultimately have to be a bitch anyways to get them to go away. 


So I’ve written this as a warning. To my kindred spirits who find that each year as cuffin’ season approaches you receive an onslaught of unwanted “hey, stranger” text, I say to you: stay strong! It’s not worth it! They will disappear as quickly as they came once it starts to warm up again. You deserve better. You are better. Say it like a mantra every morning in the mirror until you believe it if you don’t. 


And for those of you who are considering sending a “hey, stranger” text. 


You had your chance. You blew it. It’s okay. We most likely aren’t mad (or maybe we are so consider that before texting) but we don’t want to hear from you. Go find someone new and live your best life, just leave us out of it!!!! 



I don’t know how else to say it. People who send any version of the “hey, stranger” text are some of the worst kind of people.