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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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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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July 2020

Post #6: The COVID-19 Diaries Part 1

I have been social distancing for almost five months. As a single person, it has been difficult. I stopped talking to the guy I was dating at the start of COVID-19 (for various reasons). Nothing particularly bad happened but we were just not on the same page.

I have gone on a few social distancing dates but nothing has come from them. Getting to know new people is super exhausting. I just haven’t been in the place to navigate all of the early BS of getting to know someone. It gets lonely sometimes but I am taking each day one day at a time. I am thankful for friends and family.

I am blessed to be able to work from home. All of my bills have been paid on time. I even have some left over for frivolous purchases. I have plenty of food and things to keep myself entertained.

I wish that the world was open but I understand why it’s not. I wanted to travel this year but that’s not happening. So many festivals and concerts have been cancelled and rescheduled for next year. I’ll just continue to wear my mask and wash my hands. BECAUSE DUH…

How have you been dealing with loneliness and social distancing during COVID-19?

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July 2020

Post #5: Macroaggressions and cheese…

The working world is an interesting place for black women. I secured my first “real” job at 22. It was a research position. My PI was a polite and hardworking man with a thick English accent. That being said, there were other circumstances that made the job somewhat challenging. At the time, I didn’t have a car. The commute required me to take three buses to work. Often times, I would work longer than my scheduled hours. There was an incident in which someone posted an incredibly insensitive poster on the door of the graduate student office (I’m about 99% sure of who it was). The poster included an image of shackled AA slaves to emphasize “how PIs see graduate students”. Being the only AA in the lab, I complained and the poster was removed.

I can recount other instances throughout the years that have made my short working career pretty interesting. All I will say is that it adds another level of stress to already stressful jobs. I would be lying if I said that I am not envious of my coworkers who do not have the same struggles (be it due to race or gender/sex).

What are some macroaggressions you’ve had to deal with at work?

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July 2020

Post #4: When black and brown women leave us too soon…

On Monday, July 13th 2020, authorities found Naya Rivera’s drowned body. She was 33. Only 33. She left behind a 4 year old son. Reports say that she was able to lift her son back into the boat before drowning. Essentially, she sacrificed her life to save his.

She couldn’t have known that the trip to the lake would be her last. She was an accomplished actress and a supporter of the LGBTQ+ community. The former “Glee” actress had so much to look forward to…so much left to accomplish.

Whether it be by tragic circumstances (Naya Rivera and Breonna Taylor)…or by men who they hoped would protect, help and love them (Oluwatoyin Salau and Shana Donahue)…or by their own hands (Jas Waters), the deaths of black and brown women leave a hole in the world. A hole that could have only been filled by their work…they didn’t get a chance to complete it

How do we deal with the loss of black and brown women when they leave us too soon?