Sunday, October 23, 2016

Don't Read The Comments

Over the past year or so I have learned a new mantra:  Don't read the comments!.  You see I for quite some time I have had this love/hate relationship with social media.  While it is a great tool for connecting and creating discourse it is also a lousy tool for everyone inserting their opinion when no one cares.  I tell you, if you want to see humans at their worst read the comments from a post or from an article.  It is as if people think that the stupid, hateful, mean, and ugly things that they say are ok because of the First Amendment or because we "live in America" and blah blah blah.  Have we always been a society filled with hate and rage or is this a new phenomenon created by the rise of a certain presidential candidate?

It shouldn't bother me right?  They are just words.  They are people I don't even know right?  Eh not always.  Sometimes they are former friends, classmates, and coworkers.  Reading some of the vile things that people post and comment on makes me sick to my stomach.  It makes me question the people who I thought that I knew and it makes me question my own judge in character.  It also makes me realize just because someone might know me does not mean that it will influence their thoughts or opinions on issues that directly effect me as a black woman.

But maybe is the worst when I read the comments of strangers.  It is in these incidents that I instantly feel the need to prove my point with logical statements and facts thinking that maybe, just maybe I can change one mind today.  Who am I kidding?  They don't want to change.  They are perfectly happen living in denial, ignorance, and/or filled with hate.  I always have told me that you can't change others you can only change you react to others, but why can't I follow my own advice?

So everyone save yourself the trouble and the energy by following my advice:  Don't read the comments!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Finding Happiness

This year has been quite the year.  My mom and I moved to an apartment and I got my first permanent job after many years of looking.  A few days ago I turned 35 (or thirty-fine has my waitress proclaimed it last night).  Yet, my spirit is still not settled.

The weight of being a caretaker is tough.  It was hard before we moved but now sometimes it feels impossible.  It is not just about scheduling appointments.  Now it is about making sure we always has meals ready, making sure she takes her medicine, teaching her how to use appliance and gadgets, and still today constant trying to get her to remember her new address.  I do all of this while craving quiet an alone time while my mother lives on constant attention.  It is tough.  I am tired and I never imagined I would be as drained as I am.  Sometimes I have flashes of thinking what will happen to my mom if I die prematurely.  I then have the small panic of feeling unprepared if that does happen.

I am doing a job that I love.  I am using my degree trying to make a difference in children who need help.  I like my colleagues.  I love the flexibility of my job.  Yet, over and over again I have trouble sleeping.  I find myself drifting somewhere between reality and the dream world and I can't discern whether that client who i am thinking about really exists or if I am stressing over a case that I have created in my dreams.  Having a permanent job is outstanding, but I find myself waiting for this job to disappear.  I keep anticipating when the shoe will drop again and I will figure out how to survive losing a job while maintaining a household.

At the end of the week I feel so exhausted.  I am exhausted with being a caretaker and I am exhausted with anxiety and worry.  On my days off I cram so much in that I don't even have the chance to decompress.

But today I decided I am going to find happiness again.  From now until the end of the year I am going to make a conscious effort to take care of myself, mind, body and spirit.  I am going to get back to doing things that bring me job.  I will not allow myself to feel guilty during those times when I practice self-care.  I also tell others that you have to make sure that you take care of yourself otherwise you will not be able to effectively help others.  But I never follow this.  I burn myself being everyone's everything all while I am being my nothing.  But today is the day that I stop that.  I am going to find happiness again and I will keep you posted on my progress.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Measure Up

Dating sucks ya'll.  The older I get the more I wonder if I should get comfortable with the idea that I will never get married.  I try to sometimes, but deep down I have hope, no matter how small.

So for right now I have decided to give dating a break.  The truth is I just am not meeting men who match what I am looking for.  And before you start to judge, I know my own flaws.  I am not saying that I am perfect, but I know that I have a lot to bring to any potential relationship.  I just haven't met someone who enough qualities to bring to the table.

This weekend I took a little road trip.  Since I was driving it gave me a lot of time to think, a lot.  And one of the thoughts that I had is that I have now lived longer than I have known my dad.  Between my own memories and the memories others I know he was a great father and a great man.  Not only was he the kind of person that I strive to be, but he is the kind of man who I am looking for in a partner.  He was not easily angered and remained pretty even keeled.  He was intelligent and had a dry sense of humor.  My dad worked hard and was dedicated to helping the community.  He was supportive and an encourager.  I keep wondering will there be a man who will measure up to him?

The problem is that we want all of these qualities in a man but we settle if a guy has two or three or one, or has a nice body?  Sometimes we get so wrapped up in someone being interested in us that we ignore the fact that we are not really interested in them.  And we do this because we are scared.  Scared there might not be another opportunity out there if we turn down this guy.  Unfortunately, if this was not the right match this wasn't really an opportunity either was it?

So it hit me.  I am taking this break.  I am going to just let things be.  2016 has been my year.  Maybe instead of finding a boyfriend to make this year complete I can find myself instead.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


I woke up during the middle of the night with the theme to a poem called Waiting.  Of course I went back to sleep and never wrote that poem lol.  But I thought that I would write about it instead.

So I had been dating this guy for the past few months.  I decided to not write about it because there were so many more interesting things going on in my life.  No I'm lying.  The truth is I didn't want him to read what I had to say and that alone should have been a sign to me.

Things started off cool.  I was coming off of a self-imposed dating hiatus.  He seemed really into me which was nice.  And he seemed different, but I guess that they all do at first.  The first couple of months seemed cool.  It was the third month that seemed shaky.  We talked on the phone less.  We texted less.  We only had dates weeks apart.  It was in that third month where I started to question whether he was enough.  I pretty much thought that he wasn't, but I did like his company so I waited to see if things would change.

While I was waiting other little things started to irritate me.  He was always tardy.  He didn't seem to listen to me.  He couldn't remember my middle name much less my birthday.  The conversations were often one-sided.  He had a quick temper and was impatient.  I waited to have a discussion with him but it got harder and harder to reach him.  

Last week I was tired of waiting for things to get better.  I wanted out.  I wanted to start dating other people without the guilt.  I told him he we should be friends but I would be open to a discussion about it.  He told me he wanted to have the discussion but not while he was driving.  The discussion never happened.  He went MIA and when he was no longer a missing person I didn't hear a peep.  

Today I realized I was tired of waiting for him to be the friend/man/boyfriend/husband that I wanted because I didn't want to be associated with someone who has such little regard for others.  Turns out when I was waiting for him to get his act together I was really waiting on myself to let go.

He might call me.  They all come back.  But I'm not waiting for him anymore.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Another Father's Day (Without My Father)

Here it is, another Father's Day without my father.  My life looks so different than it did on the first Father's Day without him back in 1998.  Back then I was a rising senior in high school balancing my quirkiness with my intelligence.  Somewhere around Father's Day '98, I was figuring out how to adjust to a move from Illinois to Maryland.  I was going into my senior year into a vastly unfamiliar area.  I was essentially starting over at the end.  I had to navigate the world minus one parent and with a parent who was slowly declining.  I had to begin to adjust to having my grandparents, who I only saw a couple of times a year, now being my full-time roommates.  I had no time to dwell.  No time time imagine the what ifs and would could have beens.  I just had to live.

Now all these years later I have kept living.  Taking care of my mother, living together and managing all of our idiosyncrasies and doctors appointments together.  Now starting a new job that combines my degrees and supports my desire to help others, just like my dad.  Recently, my mom has told me many times how proud that my father would have been of me.  I hope to that it is true.  I hope that my life is a testament the sacrifices that were made on behalf of my mom and my dad.  I hope that I am a reflection of the kind of person that he would have wanted me to be.

My dad passed away 18 years ago, but while some memories fade other memories are always as if they happened just yesterday.  I tell my friends who have lost a loved one that it doesn't get easier but you just learn how to adjust.  And I will admit that sometimes it hurts more now than it did then.  But I keep going, i keep living because I am sure that is what my dad would have wanted.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Never Never Never Give Up

If you have been a long time reader of my blog you know that I have been on a journey.  I have been trying to figure out the point of it all and whatever that may entail.  I have been trying to navigate through a sea of hardships and difficulties while still being faithful and perserverant.   This year, 2016, I have finally seen it all come together and I have nothing but praise for God.

I started off 2016 knowing that this year was going to be different.  My aunt whom I lived with died last October.  I knew that my mom and I would have move out of our family house.  I knew that I now would be my mom's sole caregiver.  It was a scenario that scared me for many years.  But this year I was no longer scared.  This year was my year, and I knew that I was going to be able to do it.  This says a lot because I am a planner and a worrier.  Most of you probably have no idea how much I stress about the unknown and trying to achieve near perfection.  I try to plan for every possible roadblock with multiple back up plans.  This year I was able to let some of that go.  No, I didn't figure out everything that would happen with my mom and her care.  No, I did not worry about not having the stability of a permanent job.  Yet I forged ahead anyway.

Today I am currently writing you from MY bed.  In MY apartment.  Yes MY apartment.  My mom and I moved into our own space a few weeks ago.  Am I happy? Absolutely. There is nothing like the feeling of coming home to a place that is my own.  It has not been without a few hiccups, but they are only hiccups not setbacks.  I have noticed how much my mom likes to talk and how much I like to be quiet.  I have also done more cooking the past two weeks than I have done probably in the past two years.

Having my own place has also helped me to get back on the healthy lifestyle path.  I have been going to the fitness center in my complex multiple times a week.  I was able to cancel my gym membership and save a few dollars.  I am careful about which foods that I am bringing in not only for myself but for my mom.  I have been making green smoothies for breakfast.  Eating out less.  Eating in more.  And I have been packing my lunch almost over day.  I have even started to drop some pounds as a result.

But the ending of this story might be the biggest.  Today was the first day at my new job!  Yes, my new permanent job.  This comes after  years of applying for jobs, sending resumes, going on interviews, going on second interviews, and rejection letter after rejection letter.  And it is position is going back to my roots.  Once again I will able to fulfill my spirit by representing children in child abuse and neglect cases.

Even though it is only June it feels like my year is complete, but it isn't.  I know this is just the beginning of more amazing opportunities.  I fully intend to both testify about my blessings but to be a blessing to others. My friends and family have been amazing over the years.  They have encouraged me when I felt down.  They have supported me when I needed help.  They have been my happiness when I have been down.  And I just can't imagine having done it all without them.  So thank you!!!!

And let this be a testament to others.  I thank the Lord for my mustard seed of faith.  I praise God for whom all blessings flow.  Sometimes when I volunteer with the organization #HashtagLunchBag (which I highly recommend) I decorate bags with the quote by Winston Churchill that says, "Never never never give up."  After a received a text message from a friend I realized that I didn't.  If you feel that you are at the end of your rope hold on keep going because God has more in store for you.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

My Heroes

Ya know, there is a lot going on in the world right now.  Many people are looking for leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, or even President Obama to solve both our personal problems and our global ones.  But the truth is that there are unsung heroes right under our noses.  They are family, friends, neighbors teachers, etc.  It doesn't take fancy title or massive notoriety to make an far reach impact on the masses.
Today I realized that I have been blessed with the opportunity to know many such leaders in my life.

Early in the day I attended the funeral of one of my aunts.  While she technically wasn't my aunt by blood, I always considered her family.  She was that type of aunt who was sassy and spoke her mind.  She always looked like a superstar.  She was funny and considerate.  And she cared for others like it was second nature.  Every time that I saw her at a family function she brought a smile to my face.  

While I was sitting in my chair in the overflow room (I had to go to overflow room because so many people came out for her service) I thought about how she is the type of woman that I strive to be.  Between her, my other aunt, my dad, my grandparents, and countless others I have always had this example of the kind of person who I want to be. They are my heroes.  They are my leaders.  

So today, I give thanks to the heroes in my life.  I hope that someday I too can be someone else's hero.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Christian Politics

I have been watching this Presidential election cycle for months.  I have been watching with laughter, disgust, dismay, fear, anger, and ultimately tears in my eyes.  To hear candidates spew such hateful rhetoric, to see supporters taunt and assault those who may not carry ther same views, it is hard to watch, it is hard to stomach.  But through it all it is harder to watch this behavior from self-titled Christians.

I love politics.  For those who have known me for a few years you will know that I was inspired to become President after watching the film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington in my ninth grade civics class.  It is that film, that sparked my desire to help others on a grand scale.  To hold the office, I thought, would be the way to really make a difference while restoring America's faith in politics.  I wanted to be the candidate that made people think that some people really do care about making the world a better place. Over the years this desire has shifted.  I did not want to put my friends and family through the vetting process. But I have never quite given up the idea of running for an office.  In fact someday I plan to.

As I have grown more seasoned (not older but wiser lol) I have learned a lot about the politics process.  Being a government and politics major at the University of Maryland (GO TERPS!) helped me to understand the basis behind the decisions of politicians.  Growing in my faith has caused me to assess potential candidates through a spiritual lens, and what I see is far from the teachings of Christ.

The biggest principle that I stand on in my walk with Christ is love.  Everyday I attempt to become a better person and to do that is to practice love toward myself and to others.  I truly believe that if we all focused on this concept (no matter the religion or lack of religion) the world would be a radically different place.  (As an aside, I thought about not using the word radical in this post.  It is funny how radical has been used with a negative connotation.  I thought that it was important to use it in a positive connotation for this purpose.)  Yet, the rhetoric and the video that I see of the candidates looks far from love.  In fact it looks a lot more like fear, hate, anger, racism, homophobia, and misogyny. How can any candidate who calls themselves a Christian act this way?  How can any candidate who is a self-titled follower of Christ allow their supporters to treat others this way?  And how can we, as Christians, be complacent in these actions that are far from the teachings of Jesus?  Does that not make us just as culpable?

All I know is that Jesus didn't want us to build walls between us because he was a bridge builder.  Jesus did not want us to shun people who were different than us, he embraced them.  Jesus preached about caring for the children and the sick.  Jesus is love.  And love is not what I have seen for the past few months.

To me what is just as scary as people punching each other at candidate rallies is people turning away from the church because they see the awful things that those so-called Christians do.  The spiritual repercussions are already extending internationally and could have a lasting effect for years to come.  So this year when you go to the polls please ask yourself if the person for who you are voting is in line with your own moral and spiritual compass, because I know that I will.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

My year of change

It's been awhile since I have last written and it is not for a lack of material.  For the first time in a few years I have felt more focused than I have ever felt.  When 2016 started I knew that it would difference and so far it has.

I'm focused man!  Yes that's right.  At the beginning of the year I made a list of goals.  I have yet to look back at said goals.  However, there have been two main objectives so far.  The first is to get my finances in order.  And the second has been to focus more on my relationship with God.  Since I made those two goals my priority, everything else has fallen into place.

I have been working like crazy.  Long days, long weeks, long months.  I have been working while still making sure my mom gets to all of her doctors appointments.  I have been working while having a few job interviews.  And with all of this I am happy to announce that my mom and I will be moving out into our own apartment in May!  It isn't fancy.  But it will be our own.  I am excited.  I think my mom is a little scared and a little sad.  She keeps telling me that she should be taking care of me and not the other way around.  And here I am wishing that we could live in the lap of luxury when we are living in a place that mostly completes both of our needs.  No, I haven't figured out every worst case scenario.  But I trust that God will help me as I go along because I am doing the right thing by him by honoring my mother.

So that brings to the man upstairs.  This year I decided that my focus has to be on God.  Mom and I have started to go to a women's bible study once a month.  I have been praying more than I ever have before. I have made it a priority to do more community service.  My friends and I created a volunteer club where we volunteer together once a month.  And yes I still have a long road ahead of me in my spiritual walk but I know that I am getting there. I truly believe that by making God my priority that my blessings have been flowing.

I know this isn't my most thought provoking post.  That's ok. There will be more time for that.  Today is just the goal is just to give you an update and to show you how blessed I feel right now.  I pray that it continues.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Welcome to 2016

Welcome to 2016.  Looking back on 2015 I realized why I had so few blog posts.  My life was boring, uneventful, and pretty uninspired, disappointing even.  Yes, I made it through another year, which is nothing to be taken lightly.  But the question I have been asking myself is did I really live?

The past few months have been a blur.  Jumping to the aide of sick family members and playing a support role during grieving is a selfless act.  At times like that you just go into automatic pilot.  You wouldn't believe how easily your instincts kick in.  But there is a downside with selflessness, you forget about your self.

When my aunt got sick and later passed away I tried to be as supportive for my grieving family as possible.  Having lost my own dad to cancer years ago I know the pain to lose a parent.  I tried to make things easier for my family.   I also had to make sure acknowledge my mother's feelings and loss with losing her only living sibling.  At the same time I still had to make sure that my mother's needs were met.  And in all of this, I managed to lose myself.

I lost sight of my visions.  I lost track of my goals.  I stopped going to the gym.  Suddenly things that used to be fun didn't even seem fun anymore.  I didn't feel like I knew myself anymore.  I kind of felt like I was going through the motions like a robot, a robot stuck in a corner.  But I have to WAKE UP.  I need to move on.  I have go to get myself together.  I tell other people all the time that you can't help others if you don't take the time to focus on yourself.  Such an easy concept to say and to never follow through with...

But it is 2016.  A fresh start.  A new year to try to correct what I got wrong last year.  I don't have resolutions per se.  I call mine "goals".  Usually my goals consist of the major aspects of my life.  For each theme I then write steps that I can do to achieve my goals.  To be honest though, I always have a few big overarching themes.  I really just want to be happy and be a better person.

The answer to the question did I really live is no.  But in 2016 it is time to start living!