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November 2020

Post #14: Uncomfortable vulnerability

I have tried to avoid being vulnerable like the plague. All of my life, I have never had the luxury of being “soft”. The world does not allow girls (women) like me to be soft. Oftentimes, we aren’t the ones who get rescued. There aren’t fathers who are functional enough to protect us and shield us from the world. They are battling their own demons. We have to fight tooth and nail to rescue ourselves. This fact leads to the building of lifelong walls that are almost impossible to tear down.

However, I am opening up to the idea of being vulnerable. Losing my mom forced me to open up a level of vulnerability that exposed my emotions for the world to see. I’ve always believed that grief should not be for public consumption. At my mom’s funeral, I fought with everything in me not to cry at the service. I made the mistake of touching her body in the coffin. Her body was cold just like it had been when she was fighting for her life in ICU…hooked up to a ventilator. I couldn’t contain my grief after that.

As I age, I am learning to tear down walls I built in my youth. I’m more open to asking for help and admitting my mistakes. Who knows, maybe I’ll even end up letting go enough to fall in love…we’ll see

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November 2020

Bonus: Preserve your sanity…log off

Please make a mental health plan for tomorrow and probably Wednesday as well. I plan on avoiding all news outlets and social media. Here are some ideas:

  1. Paint on a canvas
  2. Read or listen to an audiobook
  3. Meditate
  4. Call a friend or loved one
  5. Clean your house/apartment
  6. Light some candles
  7. Sage your space
  8. Listen to your favorite podcasts
  9. Watch stand up comedy specials
  10. Go to sleep early
  11. Cook or bake something
  12. Journal
  13. Listen to music
  14. Put your phone on do not disturb for a few hours
  15. Give yourself a home pedicure or manicure
  16. Color in a stress relief coloring book for grown folks
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October 2020

Post #13: The politics of black hair…a bag of wigs

When I was 17, I first lost my hair. A new medication did not agree with my system. I had terrible side effects including severe mood swings and the loss of my hair. Thankfully, I was able to switch to another medication that has not given me any adverse effects in the past 12 years.

To mask my hair issue, I began wearing half wigs at 17. A half wig is a hair unit that is made to be blended with your natural hair. This blending helps to camouflage the unnatural hair line of the half wig. When I first started wearing half wigs, I would neglect my own hair. I would do almost nothing to maintain it. I would cover the front with massive amounts of gel so that it could blend into the half wig. Not a good idea. My hair went through this for years. The result was a damaged and tangled mess.

Fast forward to a few years post-college, I began wearing more full wigs. I would moisturize my hair underneath and put them in either flat twists or two strand twists. Then I would apply the wig cap and the full wig. Unfortunately, the combs found in some of these wigs and the hairpins I used created some friction with my actual hair. I would see thinning along my hairline and where the combs had made contact. It seemed like everyone else was able to grow long and thick natural hair by wearing wigs as a protective style.

Regardless of the damage, I continued to wear the wigs. I felt more attractive and professional while wearing the wigs. I would alternate between curly ones, straight ones and wavy ones. If I had a job interview, I would always wear a wig. I never thought that my natural hair was appropriate enough to wear in a professional environment. It was low density and pretty thin. No one wants to have hair like that.

In recent years, I have started embracing my natural hair more often. My hair reminds me of my mom and grandmother’s hair. I care for it by washing and conditioning it on a weekly to bi-weekly basis. I even started locs at the beginning of 2020 (I removed them after about three months due to not being able to get them redone during the COVID-19 salon closures). However, even with this appreciation, I think I will always keep a bag of wigs. I like being able to switch up the look of my hair on a frequent basis. I just want to make sure that I don’t start back using them as a crutch…a crutch all of the time

Hair, especially black hair, has always been inherently political. What is your hair experience?

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October 2020

Post #12: Check your breasts and know your family history

Just a reminder that not everyone survives their fight with breast cancer. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in the mid-90s. I was too young to remember most things. I just remember climbing into her hospital bed and asking her a million questions. Thankfully, she received chemotherapy and a mastectomy and was able to survive.

Fast forward to 2016, my mom had started having issues with her eye. At the time, I was finishing up grad school in Ohio. After being sent from doctor to doctor in Eastern NC, she finally was referred to a specialist at Duke. In August 2017, we learned that the cells found in her eye had origins in her breast. This meant that my mom had breast cancer once again that had already spread to other parts of her body. Although she had received a mammogram each year since her initial diagnosis, there was and is no commonly accepted screening practice of checking for cancer metastasis in previous cancer patients. By the time breast cancer metastasizes to your bones and other organs, it is terminal.

My mom went through a series of radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Thankfully she had the best oncologist in the entire world, Dr. Jeremy Force. However, in conjunction with other complications, she lost her fight on January 2, 2019.

💕This post was made in honor of my mother and other people who have lost their lives while fighting breast cancer. There is still more work to do in terms of breast cancer care and research.💕

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September 2020

Post #11: I’m a whole 29 years old…chile

I used to think that 30 was old. In my mind, 30 was the age in which I would need to have my entire life together…professional, social, emotional, mental, romantic and financial. Yeah, that’s not going to happen.

Society does a good job of shaming people for not having everything figured out by 25. I’m guilty of pushing those beliefs on myself. I have learned in these 29 years that life is about continuous growth and development. No one truly has everything together. There’s always room for improvement. However, it is important to stop and be thankful for all that you have accomplished. Life is not always pretty. Even hard moments have contributed to developing your resilience.

I’m going to make it my priority to live and love as hard as I can. I’m looking forward to enjoying the journey. #thisis29

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September 2020

Post #10: How to cut costs as told by a 20 something who occasionally spends money on stupid things 🤷🏿‍♀️

Okay, so by no means am I the queen of frugality. I have a bad habit of spending unnecessary amounts of money on eating out and other miscellaneous things. However, I try to save a penny when I can…sometimes

Here are three tips to save money on items:

1. Dollar Stores and Aisles When possible, shop for items at dollar stores or on the dollar aisle. For example, essentials like toothpaste, deodorant and soap can be found at heavily discounted prices. I use Lady Speed Stick deodorant and Crest toothpaste. I am able to find each for a dollar in these places.

2. Stop Being Brand Name Bougie All of the Time So I’ll admit, for some things, I am brand loyal. Examples of these things include Dove soap, Listerine mouthwash and Clear Care contact solution. However, I am more flexible with other things. I am a fan of buying store brands. At any given time, you will find store brand frozen and canned vegetables, eggs, milk, dry beans, cooking oil and baking ingredients in my home. I even take advantage of the generic forms of prescriptions and over the counter drugs. Often times, these significantly cheaper store brand/generic items are identical to name brand items in taste and formulation.

3. Store Discount and Rewards Cards Let me be clear, I am not referring to store credit cards. I am referring to store discount and rewards programs. These programs allow you to take advantage of the discount price on items or allow you to accumulate money through each purchase. Most grocery stores and pharmacy stores allow you to sign up for their programs in-store or online. The programs usually come with a plastic key card to swipe during your purchase. However, you can also simply enter your phone number to link you purchase to your discount or rewards account.

I hope that these three tips can help someone.

What are some of the ways in which you cut costs?

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August 2020

Bonus: Chadwick Boseman Forever 🖤

My heart broke when I learned of the death of Chadwick Boseman. He had battled terminal colon cancer for the past four years. He was such a phenomenal actor. Some of his most notable roles involved him portraying historical African American figures (James Brown, Thurgood Marshall, Jackie Robinson…). He brought such a dignity and depth to each role.

Undoubtedly, his role as T’Challa in Black Panther will forever be in the hearts and minds of everyone…especially African Americans. He managed to complete this movie while enduring numerous treatments for his cancer. I can only imagine the amount of pain he was in. I can only imagine his level of fatigue. Having watched my own mother battle end stage cancer I am just floored at his resilience and determination.

My heart aches for his family and friends. He is resting with the ancestors. Well done young sir, well done

Chadwick Boseman Forever
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August 2020

Post #9: I started today in tears…

Today is my mom’s 71st birthday. I wish my mom was still here. Grief is a never ending process. Some days I am happy and cheerful. Then there are other days when I am extremely sad and angry. The latter usually occurs around major holidays and our (my mom and I) birthdays.

My mom used to tell me how sad it was that some babies lose their mom at birth. One of my biggest fears was losing my mom. She was significantly older than most of my peers parents. My mom survived breast cancer when I was around 4 or 5. After my grandmother died (I was 15), I would have thoughts and nightmares about losing my mom. Those thoughts would make me extremely anxious and depressed.

I am grateful for the 27 years we had to spend together. I just don’t think that they were enough. I had so many things I wanted to say to her. I wanted us to start traveling together (she was never able to afford it). I don’t know if I will ever be 100% okay.

My mommy and my angel
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August 2020

Bonus: Why “Venus in September”?

Venus is the symbol for femininity and feminine energy. Romans worshipped Venus as the goddess of love and beauty. Also, it is powerful and related to the cosmic energy of the universe. The planet itself has a denser atmosphere and hotter temperature than Earth itself. From accepted research, it is completely uninhabitable save for the possibility of some extreme species of thermophiles.

Hottentot Venus was a “nickname” used to refer to Saartjie Baartman. She was a South African woman who was exploited throughout Europe. The exploitation related to the size of her body parts. She was touched and physically abused by individuals who paid money to exam her body. This example is only one instance of black women being abused and exploited by individuals in power (also look into the forced sterilization of black women and the gynecological experimentation on enslaved black women).

September is the month of my birth. According to my mommy, I technically was supposed to be born in October. My mom was in her early 40s when I was born. She had no other “successful” pregnancies. In a very short span of time, my mom had four miscarriages and one child who was severely premature and underdeveloped. It was not in the baby’s best interest to allow her (her name was Kimberly Dawn) to continue to live. I can never imagine the pain my mom had to go through to make that decision.

September is the 9th month of the year. In Christianity, the number 9 symbolizes completion. I have a lot of 9s in my birthdate. Often times when I have to give my birthdate, people remark about the repetition of the number 9. It’s not something that I’ve explored in depth but I am sure that it has some meaning.

In summation, I guess the blog name derives from a large number of concepts. These include mythology, cosmic energy, black women, numerology, Christianity and my own life story. I plan to link all of these topics (and more) as I continue my blogging experience.

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August 2020

Post #8: Love languages

Okay so I know that this is going to sound cliché but being single is a great time to discover things about yourself. One of the most important things you can discover is how you receive and feel love. This is called your love language.

There are five love languages: acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, physical touch and words of affirmation. Upon taking the 5 love languages test, I discovered that my two main love languages are acts of service and quality time.

Acts of service involves a person assisting me with a task or responsibility. “Thoughtfulness” sums up this idea in one word. For example, planning my mother’s funeral was a truly hard experience. I barely had the energy left to exist…let alone plan her service and arrangements. With my father being of no help, I truly appreciated the help of my two cousins (I view them as being my big sisters). They stepped in without me ever having to ask for assistance.

Quality time is pretty self-explanatory. I feel loved when I am around people I care about. This can be friends, family or the person I’m dating. To me, it means something that out of the one million things someone could be doing, they made the choice to spend that time with me. We don’t even have to be doing anything special. Don’t get me wrong, I mostly like living alone and having my personal space. However, I value spending time with people I care about.

Learning your love language now can be super beneficial if and when you enter into a partnership and relationship. However, knowing the love language of your family and friends can strengthen your relationship with them as well.

What is your love language?