Grateful

I woke up this morning determined to set the tone for my day. I woke up with the idea to start my day doing something that I love.

So guess what?

We outsiiiiiiiiiiide!

I took my 50mm on an early morning stroll. Like 7am early. On the beach.

I’m just out here. Clearly a visitor since there are MANY camps already set up to fish, write, talk, exercise, etc.

I found this rock. Please don’t judge my beach sneakers, man. It’s still too cold to walk barefoot.

This scene is….amazing. And just what I need to start a great day. This is me….actively trying to stay out of the dark.

I’m grateful for all of the things that I have. My health. My support system. Thankful for all the people and things I’ve been blessed with.

I lack nothing.

I am enough.

Happy Sunday, everybody!

My Say

3/29/2021

I’m tired.

Mentally.

Physically.

Emotionally.

Tired.

I woke up at 3:30am this morning.  

I laid in bed and cried until I couldn’t take it anymore.  

I got up at 5:30am and showered.  Nevermind the fact that I’d just showered a few hours earlier.

In my mind, the shower would wash away all of the…heavy.  

I’ve been at work since 7:45am.  

Work has become the most comfortable area of my life.  

And that’s sad.

Never in a million years….or at least since I started this blog…would you have gotten me to believe that I’d be here….in another sexless…communication-lacking….more of a chore than a pleasure…type of relationship. 

But here I am.

I thought long gone were the days of me quietly weeping into my pillow so as not to divulge how unhappy I am to my significant other.

I thought I was finished with not wanting to or feeling safe enough to share what I’m going through with my support system. 

Truth of the matter is, I would rather type my feelings and emotions into this space to be read by people that I have never met, than to tell people that I actually know.

I keep explaining my current state to people around me.  I don’t know if they think I’m just bullshitting.  Or wanting attention.  Or….whatever.  But I’m obviously not being taken seriously.  

I don’t know what else to do to impress upon people how fragile I am. 

I hate it!  By the way. Being so easily effected by outside influences.  

I’m disappointed in myself. 

I should be stronger than this.

But this is my reality right now.

I have lived the life where I just internalized everything.  Where I kept my emotions to myself because who really gave a fuck anyway.

You know what that got me?

Intracranial hypertension.  

I have a permanent blind spot in my right eye because I allowed myself to get SO stressed out…that my body rebelled against me.

Never again.

These days, I would rather be left alone than to feel the way that I’ve been feeling for the past few months.  

Past year.

Past….long time.

I’m not asking anybody for anything.  Not asking for attention, or help, or support.  Hell, when I DO ask, I don’t get it anyway!!!

I just want to be left alone.  

I don’t want anybody to ask me for anything just like I can’t ask anybody for anything. 

I spend a lot of time hyping myself up to move around and function as a person.

It takes a lot of work to NOT lay in bed crying all day!

I work constantly to keep busy and NOT feel like a piece of shit during my day so that I can actually get things done.

It’s so unfair that an unsolicited interaction with someone IN MY CIRCLE…can undo all that I worked so hard for during the day.

That someone can just insert themselves into my day and send me spiraling into the dark that I’ve been physically fighting against since I opened my eyes that morning.

I don’t know how to fight that.  

I haven’t been successful.

And my thoughts at 3:30am aren’t any good to anyone.  Mainly me.

And then, when I let it be known that my interaction with them is putting a damper on my mood, I get some selfish response and a weak assed apology.  

But I’m good on the apologies.  

I straight up call bullshit.

Because the most sincere apology is changed behavior.   

How can I believe that you’re truly sorry when you constantly do the same shit over and over again?  

The cycle must be broken.  

And I’m perfectly fine only having myself in my circle if that means that I don’t have to deal with dumb shit. 

While I am a complex individual.  Rocket Science this shit aint.  

All you really need to do is listen…and pay attention.  

But then again, you’d have to WANT to.

And if you DON’T want to, what are we even doing?

Why are you here?

Am I Good Enough?

I’m the writer of the family. 

I am the one that’s called upon to write letters and fix resumes and write product reviews and birthday card content.  Eulogies and obituaries and such. 

I’ve been writing since elementary school.  Back when I just stapled a bunch of loose leaf paper together because I didn’t have access to a computer (yes, I am THAT old).  And notebooks could only be used for school. 

I started writing a horror story in the 6th grade.  Based in Germany.  More specifically, in the house that we moved into when my dad was stationed there.  The attic and the backyard provided GREAT material for a horror story. 

But then my bookbag was stolen out of the gym one day.  And the only copy of my story along with it.  This was before flash drives, laptops, cell phones, etc.  So it was GONE gone.

I’ve never finished a book.  Or a story for that matter.  But I can write.  I’m good at it.  Or so I’ve been told. 

I used to write poetry.

I used to win talent shows with my poetry.

Don’t get me wrong.  I wasn’t of Def Poetry Jam caliber.  But I was quite skilled for my age.  I remember winning first place in several talent shows and hearing my competitors complaining about the work that they put into their acts for me to come along and read a poem and win.

Lol!

I remember writing a poem for an English class.  When I got the poem back with my grade, the comment read “Great poem.  Too bad you didn’t write it.”

I immediately went to the teacher to ask for an explanation.  He proceeded to tell me that there was no way that I had written a poem containing the language and word play used at my age.  The teacher then quizzed me on words like “Junoesque” (it’s so crazy that I remember this…LOL) which I defined without a problem because, of course, I HAD in fact written the poem. AND…we were learning about Greek Mythology in another one of my classes, which is where I got the word from in the first place.  He had no choice but to change the grade. 

I have never told anyone that story.  I should have been offended.  I wasn’t at the time though.  I was most impressed with myself. 

All of this to say, I am still the go to guy for written works. 

The other day, a friend of mine sent me a link to a story about a young woman that makes six-figures writing content on Fiverr.  The text that followed the story suggested that I would “clean up” on a site like Fiverr because I write so well.

Of course, I ventured to the site and even started my profile.

Overwhelmed.  IMMEDIATELY!!

Just reading the profiles of the top sellers and the higher level participants, I automatically felt like I wasn’t good enough. 

Truth be told, this keeps me from doing a lot of things in my life. 

Attempting to get jobs.  Promoting my photography business.  Writing.  Etc.

I question everything.  I constantly second guess myself.  I always feel like I’m out of my league. 

I don’t get to see the finished product from the top sellers, so I have no way to gauge the quality of work being put out.

I’m also worried about my depression.  It wipes me out and makes me not want to do anything some times.  But I can’t be stuck in my black hole when someone is paying me for a job.  Or a “gig” as the Fiverr’s say.

So there’s that.

In order for me to know how great I could be though…I have to get out there.

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.  Right?

Should I do it?

“N*gga, I was burnt out” -AB

3/19/2021

Last week Friday, one of the members of my housing team woke up and chose violence.

She is a recent hire.  Joined the team last October.  

I was on the fence about hiring her.  It wasn’t an immediate yes for me.  My supervisor was tired of interviewing so she made the decision.  

Last Thursday morning I texted her to let her know that field days were cancelled until further notice.  Field days are days that the housing team spend out of the office obtaining new housing listings and landlord/broker contacts.  I suspended field days because they did not appear to be fruitful.  This particular staff member would return after field days and not have any new listings and/or contacts.  

So I texted her at 6:30am and asked her to report to the site.  Of course, she didn’t respond and she didn’t report to the office.  

I made up my mind that day that I was going to have a meeting with her on Friday.  I have been giving her a very wide berth.  She is going through a lot in her personal life.  I knew from the many phone calls that I had to tell her to take outside because they were inappropriate for the office.  She is trying to regain custody of her children and is at war with their father’s family.  She is on the outs with her own family.  She needed a break.  I tried to give her that break.  She was rough around the edges…but I wanted to work with her.  She had the passion.  She had the stamina.  She had the knowledge of how the system works.  

That was the meeting that I wanted to have with her on Friday.  I wanted to address the weaknesses and strategize on how to improve.  Offer any assistance that I could.  Encourage her to keep going.  To keep learning.  Keep improving herself.  

But.

She woke up on Friday and chose violence.

When I walked into the office on Friday morning, she was in the room alone.  She was on the phone with someone and the conversation was heated.  She was talking about the job and how she was unhappy with the way things were going and the environment.  She was yelling and using profanity, so I walked to her cubicle, tapped on the glass and motioned for her to bring it down because we were in the office.  I didn’t tell her to leave because it was just the two of us here.  Maybe that wasn’t the right thing to do but…fuck it.  We’re all going through shit.  Most days, I spend a portion of my day crying in my office.  The world is fucked right now.  So I let her rock.  But then she started getting louder.  And more upset.  The content of the conversation told me that she’d had a run in with someone at work and it didn’t go well.  I went back to her cubicle and asked her to come talk to me.  She told me that she couldn’t because the way she felt emotionally would probably result in her saying something that she would regret.  That’s the nice way to put what she actually said.  She said that it would be best for her to leave.  I stood out of the way as she stormed through the door because as understanding as I am, had she lashed out and hit me, I’d have been posting this from jail.  Happily.  

That’s the way MY emotions are set up nowadays.

Anyway, she left and I immediately contacted the Business Manager to ask what my next steps were since she did walk off the job.  I was instructed to contact Human Resources.  I contacted Human Resources and a brief conversation with a guy.  I explained that the staff member was having a rough day and that she was going through something.  I told him I wasn’t trying to get her into any trouble and would like a chance to talk with her to find out what’s going on before making it an HR matter.  I did need to address the fact that she walked off because her time sheet will reflect the missing hours.  He said he understood and told me to document her leaving the site and then try to engage her when she returned on Monday.  

After speaking with HR, I texted the staff member these words:

“Ms. B…I know you’re going through personal things right now and I understand that completely.  Please do give me a call when you calm down and are able to talk.  We all fall victim to the weight of personal issues sometimes.  Even me.  You have to take care of you first.  I know you’re planning on sending this big email and whatnot but lets have a conversation first.  I may be able to offer assistance without all of the bells and whistles.”

I sent that to her at 10:56am.

No response.  

I was finally able to go to the restroom at about 3pm that day.  I took both my phones because the bathroom is situated so far from my office, I tend to make a list of things to do once I travel that way before I return to my office. While I was in the bathroom, my phones started going crazy.  

The first call came from the Business Manager.

“Girl, did you see your email?”

I hung up with the Business Manager and went to my email.  Standing in the bathroom, I started the email.  All was well until I got to the line that read “Nigga, I was burnt out!”  I scrolled line after cringe-worthy line of the email from the housing staff member that went on and on with allegations, blame, foul language, etc, etc, etc.  This email went to the ENTIRE main office…CEO included.   It went to my entire building…from the Executive Director to the Porters. 

The next call came from the new Executive Director.

“Uhhhhhhh….have you read your email?”

As I’m standing in the bathroom, I can hear the building buzzing.  Staff is going in and out of the Safety Director’s office with the general greeting:

“YOOOOOOOOOO…did you see that email?!”

I stood in the bathroom and waited.  Waited as staff continued to talk about the email and to ask where I was so that they could see my reaction.  Waited while the Safety Director tried multiple times to reach me in my office.   

The third call came from the previous Executive Director.

“MY girl….what the hell is going on over there?!”

She informed me that the IT Department was trying frantically to delete the email and to shut the housing staff’s email.

I waited in the bathroom until there was silence.  Then I crept into the Safety Director’s office.  Just to breathe.

I got back to my office and started to panic.  

I knew that HR would be on a hunt for answers.  This level of decompensation would need an explanation.  I was worried because I hadn’t done the 3 month evaluation for this staff member as instructed because….I didn’t want to fire her.  I didn’t want to discourage her with a negative evaluation.  That’s not the type of supervisor I am.  If I told the truth in my evaluation, I would have been forced to terminate.  If I lied on the evaluation and then it didn’t work out with the staff member, HR would give me hell trying to separate from her.  

But then I relaxed.  I had extended every courtesy to this staff member.  If anything, I coddled her.  Let HR come for me.  I’m ready.

Facing the rest of my staff was hard though.  The Case Managers were offended by the email as she stated that they weren’t doing any work.  It caused a divide in the team in that the Case Managers now feel unappreciated and the other members of the housing team feel like they’re doing all of the work.  They must be, right?  If this one staff member was so overwhelmed that she sent this email to everyone?

She was terminated on Monday.  She texted me last night stating that she’d just gotten out of the hospital and wanted to know the status of her position at the agency.  I directed her to HR.  That’s above my pay grade now.  

I wish she had just waited to send the email.  I know she had to have gotten my text.  I sent it a whole FOUR HOURS before her message.  We could have talked.  We could have come to a middle ground.

But.

She woke up that morning and chose violence.

What Part of the Game is This?

I just walked in on one of the Safety Supervisors in the bathroom at work.  

The door was unlocked.  Her fault.

I didn’t knock first.  My fault.

She wasn’t undressed or anything.  It was just an awkward second.  You guys are my witnesses though.  If they try to get me on sexual harassment or anything like that….it was an accident.  I don’t want that woman.  Not attracted in the LEAST!   I immediately went to tell the Business Manager, who handles such complaints from staff.  Just in case they try to jam me up!  She just laughed at me.  Apparently, it happens often.  But still, I need y’all to hold me down if they ever try to say.

Anyway, that wasn’t my reason for opening this page.

What is it called when a person says things to take away from something that you’re proud of or excited about?

For example, I orchestrated and documented (as the photographer and videographer) my sister’s proposal.  It was a BIG to do.  Something of which I am really proud!!!  As I was organizing my photography catalog yesterday (another HUGE and intimidating task, but I’ll speak more on that later), I came across the pictures and videos of that day.  I still can’t watch the video without tearing up.  I shared this moment with JO today while on a video call.  Told her I still can’t see my sister’s reaction, once she figured out what was actually happening,  without getting misty eyed.  Her response?  “I feel like she knew the whole time”.  I gave her the “what-the-fuck-are-you-talking-about” face and asked “You didn’t even know her at the time, what makes you say that?”  She gave me some non-sense reason and I just shook it off.  

But….why?

If I’m telling you something that I think is really special…why try to ruin it by saying you think it wasn’t authentic?

Is that gaslighting?

Another example.  

I was interviewing for a promotion at my job.  To fill my boss’ position after she was promoted.  In the weeks and months that I went through that process, I had spells of self-doubt which I expressed to JO.  She always got on me about it, telling me that I was overthinking and that I was selling myself short.  Basically not allowing me to entertain the thoughts that I wasn’t good enough for the position.  So one day, on an “up” day, we’re in the car and I’m telling her about my plans for the new position and how I would revamp some things that are currently not working.  Her response was to tell me to wait at first before making any changes.  I pointed out that I can already see that this particular area is being mismanaged and that fixing it would cause other things to run more smoothly.  Her response “Well, if ‘My Boss’ couldn’t fix it, what makes you think you can?”  So I asked if what she was saying was that I should continue to allow something to be dysfunctional because the person before me couldn’t rectify it?  Then it became “I never said that….If that’s how you took it, I have no control over that…..that wasn’t what I meant”.

Most times, I feel like I need a third party when I’m speaking to JO.  She is the Queen of Contradiction and “I never said that”.  I feel like I need a 3rd party to confirm that she DOES say the things that she “never” says.  Once she convinces herself that a conversation never happened or she didn’t say something that I KNOW AND REMEMBER she said, that’s the end of the conversation.

We had an argument around Thanksgiving and I was so happy that it was via text.  She was on her “you never told me that” shit and I was able to go back to the text conversation and screenshot and circle IN RED where I DID tell her EVERYTHING that I said I told her.  The same things she swears up and down I never told her.  Multiple times and in different ways. She usually shuts down after I give her facts that she can’t argue.  Then the conversation is over.  She either tells me she misunderstood what I said or she says nothing and asks me if I’m hungry (her way of apologizing).

But what part of the game is this?

What IS this?

In my therapy sessions, my therapist told me things about my relationships with people that I would never have thought on my own.  Hell, in my FIRST session, she straight up told me that she couldn’t promise that I would come through therapy with my relationship still intact.  

She called JO emotionally abusive.  I couldn’t see it.  Not after the pain that JO has been through in her past.  Why would she in turn put that on someone else? 

But she kept saying it.  The more I revealed, the more it seemed like I needed to get away from JO.  It was too much at one point.  It was like my whole world was turning upside down.  Relationships that I’d endured all of my life, I learned that they were toxic and it explained why I felt the way that I felt about being around my family sometimes.  It justified the feelings that I had toward certain family members.

I always explained it as “I love my *fill in the blank* but I have my shit with them sometimes”.

Therapy opened my eyes to a lot of things.  It validated a lot of feelings that I didn’t understand and was ashamed to feel.  Explained why I am the way that I am in relationships and in general.

The thought was scary.  

Alienating myself from the toxicity in my life.  That meant being without A LOT of MAJOR people.  And my therapist understood that.  She gave me grace when dealing with my family because of the complexity of the situation.  But with JO, she was like nah, do away with that.  You don’t need that in your life.  I was too scared though.  To be questioning my “Pillars” AND THEN be without my “Person”?  Or….who I thought to be my “Person”?  The person who SHOULD HAVE been my “Person”?

I think that’s low-key why I stopped therapy.

Shit got too real and I wasn’t ready to make the changes.  

At the time. 

I know this post is all over the place.  But…thank you for listening. 

2021: January 1st

First day of the year and already I’ve been admonished about my attitude towards 2021.

I don’t know. I’m hearing people waiting, wanting, and praying for 2021. Because “2020 has to go”. As if the stroke of midnight that pushes us into 2021 will miraculously negate and erase the clusterfuck that was 2020.

That’s not what happened at all. The stroke of midnight rolled us from 2020 into 2021. Yes. But in reality….it rolled us from Thursday into Friday.

Same shit that was happening on Thursday is still happening on Friday.

Same shit that plagued us in 2020 is still wreaking havoc in 2021.

I’m sitting in my car right now…..in line for what will be my 9th covid test.

For a stranger to touch my brain via a pipe cleaner connected to a very long q-tip in my nose through my barely cracked car window.

What’s changed? With another tick of a year? What is different?

I don’t have the energy to pretend that I actually believe that 2021 will save us from the damage of 2020. Or that changing my mindset is going to “make things better”. Still scared as shit and feeling helpless. The “think happy thoughts” thing is still not working for me in 2021. Go figure.

I am grateful though. I’m still here. The majority of my family is still here. We lost some big ones last year. And this virus is hitting closer and closer to home as the days pass. But….so far so good.

Is it crazy though….that I’m more concerned about what it would do to my family if I became ill? Not so much myself. But my family not being able to get to me and care for me the way they normally would. That bothers me the most. What it would do to them. Especially my mom.

I hope this vaccine is the answer.

I hope it gets to us before….well….you know.

I hope 2021 really delivers on all the faith people have in it.

Happy New Year.

Holiday Blues 2020

I really thought I had it, guys.

I thought that the new kick-ass-and-take-names attitude that I’ve acquired recently would make me impervious to the holidays and all that comes along with.

Maaaaaaannnnn…I was flying so high that I was even thinking about posting in some of the mental health groups that I joined on social media to ask if anyone needed a holiday buddy.

I thought that I had finally figured everything out.

I thought that I had actually learned how to correctly manage my emotions.

I thought that.

Until today.

Granted, I wasn’t the normal emotional clusterfuck that I usually am. But there was a very noticeable descent into this….thing.

I fought.

Am still fighting.

But I certainly don’t have the upper hand.

I’m not looking forward to this.

I have a lot to be thankful for.

And I love my family.

But….the holidays SUCK!

A Dream…?

I rarely have nightmares.

Well….any that I can remember when I wake up.

A few days ago, I had a nightmare.

It wasn’t scary or anything.  

Wait….can you have a nightmare that isn’t scary?

It was….unpleasant. Unsettling.

I dreamt about my four year old nephew.

He and I were corresponding.  

I gave him a card that I had written for him.

He gave me a drawing of Stitch from Lilo and Stitch that he had colored in.

It was one of those Pre-K assignments where he had to color in the picture and then write three things about it.

It was my prize possession in the dream.  

I took great care of it.  Always made sure it was safe.

So one day, a terrible wind swept through the house and blew the picture into the street. 

I screamed and ran out to chase it.  

At first I was running…then I was in my car. 

Chasing the drawing as it blew away from me.

I cried.

Wailed.

Wept.

So much so that I woke up crying.

I still don’t understand the dream.  And I’m scared to allow myself to think about it too hard.

Do I have any dream interpreters here?

I spoke to Missy about it.  She looked up the movie.  The main message of the movie is of course: Ohana.

Ohana means Family…nobody gets left behind or forgotten.

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?!

And why my nephew? The youngest member of the family?

AND WHY COULDN’T I CATCH THE DRAWING?!

Why was the drawing of Stitch?

WHY WAS I SO DISTRAUGHT?!

HELP!!!!!

Three Things

I don’t know why people think I’m dumb….and that I will just believe their lies.

Like….the lack of effort put into the falsehoods is insulting!

First of all….I don’t give enough of a fuck about a situation to be lied to about anything.

Second….why do I have to listen to the same bullshit on repeat when we both know….you’re going to go and do exactly the SAME shit that you’re preaching you’re not going to do?

I’m not stupid.

By anyone’s definition.

And no one has anything to gain by lying to me.

Why?

Because I’m no longer giving shit freely.

I’m very guarded. Because I have to be. Because all people are not inherently good.

THAT was a hard lesson for me. But….learned nonetheless.

Lastly, WHO THE FUCK AM I that one would think they needed to lie to ME?!

I’m tired of words. And false proclamations.

Do the fucking work. Stop being fake about the shit.

Can’t speak on any journey but my own. But I will no longer allow anyone to utilize pieces of me to repair their own brokenness.

I’m good.

Even when I’m not good….I’m good.

Reciprocity is the word of the day, folks.

I give what I hope to receive.

And until that happens….I’m good.

Time…is NOT on my side!

I don’t know when I wrote this post below. It was in the drafts on my computer. Still relevant today. I’m just a little better at handling it:

My timing is always off.

It never seems to be the right time for me to….feel…experience….go through.

Whenever I do….it’s never the right time for anybody else.  My support system.  Our….”shit”….always occurs at the same time.

So my “shit”….it just….it’s always…..inconvenience.

That’s what I feel like.  

I feel like I am convenient.

I am great to have around…to help everybody else get through their shit.  But….the moment that I step out of my norm…the moment that I need someone to fill in the gap for me…there is a problem.

People RUN!  

And hide behind the justification that they “got a lot going on….too much on the plate” shit.

How can you ever “go through shit” when everyone around you is always going through shit.  

My timing is always off.

I don’t believe in burdening other people with my shit.  Even on normal days.  It’s not something I do.  I DEFINITELY don’t want to burden anybody else when they’re going through shit too.  

But when do I get to go through shit?

When is it my turn to have a me when I need a me?

Never!

I am convinced that I’m not supposed to have somebody like me when I need it.