You know when you’re in a relationship and in the beginning it’s always going great. Ya’ll are learning great things about each other. You are supporting each other, going to great restaurants, going on “Baecations” and have lots of ubiquitous pics of your enclosed hands with the Willow filter on Instagram. Being an “us” is AMAZING right!!
Then things start to go downhill and you don’t even know when, where or why. All you know is you two are arguing all the time, you don’t get each other anymore, and you’re down right miserable to each other. This goes on until he decides to get the balls to pull the plug. Now you can’t stand that no-good Negro and assume he was probably cheating the entire time anyway, so you are glad to be rid of him so you can go on with your life.
Well, that no-good Negro’s name was 2018….and he left me a mess. (OH! You thought I was talking about my husband huh? Your ole messy ass! HA.)
The year was really looking up and going in a refreshing new direction and I was excited about all the new things to come. That is until God decided to put my life on spin cycle. I stopped enjoying the new job, felt myself falling back into a depression that caused strain on my marriage, and, as if my shit-sundae needed the cherry on top, one of my closest friends suddenly dropped dead. Way to end a year!
To add insult to injury, I had to somehow bounce out of all of that to try and put myself in someone’s Christmas spirit. For the sake of the kids I have to act like I want to be around people and am happy about the smell of evergreen in the air and the ring of the Santa’s Salvation Army bell. It was as if I finally was out of the horrible relationship called 2018, only to find that he left me with a case of Chlamydia I told you he was a cheating dog!
(still not talking about my husband…it’s just a metaphor).
So what have I done to get myself out of this funk? (You’re not crazy. I probably said this line verbatim in the last article I wrote. I simply find I am inspired to write when I am going through mess….sue me.) I am grieving, right… so I need to manage these emotions. Here’s what I’ve tried so far:
- Writing- I was told that if I write through my feelings that it may help. So I sat down with plain pads of paper, composition books, fancy pretty textured journals…and nothing comes. I even sat at my computer only to find that my Microsoft Office expired. So I gave up on that idea (til now…. Keep reading to see what changed).
- Walking- Nikki, my friend that passed, would not leave my mind. She consumed my thoughts until I thought I was gonna go crazy! I thought about all the things I did & didn’t say to her. Things we did, things she did. And then I remembered that when she was at work and couldn’t deal or just needed peace, she walked. At one point, I could always catch Nikki walking around our parking deck with her headphones on during her 10 o’clock & 3 o’clock breaks. I knew, other than exercise, it cleared her mind. So I started to walk in a big ass circle around my office building at 10 and 3, just like my friend did. I looked crazy as hell turning circles for 15 minutes, but it is actually one of the most effective things I’ve tried on this list. It not only helps my health and clears my mind, but it’s almost like a daily memorial to my friend.
- Become one with Nature– As earthy granola as it may sound, there is something about fresh air, leaves and dirt. It literally makes me feel recharged. A few times when I found myself getting super emotional, I went for a hike. Truth, I was a little scared at first. A black woman, on a trail, by herself just screams of a Lifetime movie where my random death launches the plotline. However, to my surprise, there were many black people in the woods and I really enjoyed the trees and the Coltrane (see below for Jazz reference).
- Music– So who doesn’t love a good tune or two….or 45. I listen to music all day. It is proven to change my moods, especially when it’s a Maxwell song. So, I grabbed my headphones and started listening to whatever I could. I tried R&B which further depressed me but Hip Hop put me on edge. Gospel made me down right mad. Remember, God had me on spin cycle, so we weren’t on the greatest terms. I even tried Classical, spa sounds, movie soundtracks, Broadway songs, and Jazz. Jazz yielded the best results…but still it wasn’t enough of an impact. I still felt crazy AF.
- Reconnecting with friends– So there is a group of girlfriends that I had in common with Nikki. At the time, we were 20 somethings making the transition from young girls to young women and Nikki was our big sister who had been there and done that. We looked to her as the blueprint of where we wanted to be. We were there with each other through births, breakups, new houses, new marriages and LOTS of clubs. As time passed, like lots of us do, we started to live our own lives and drifted apart. Personality clashes, family obligations and new jobs caused more distance and more time. The loss of Nikki seemed to bring us back together. So, rekindling friendships and growing my girlfriend circle is an amazing way to cope. We are even planning a girl’s trip in our friend’s honor.
This is amazing progress. I mean these are text book coping mechanisms right?! If I add meditation and yoga I could be a damned grief counselor myself!!! So what’s the problem?
The problem is I’m still bat crap crazy! The problem is I still don’t want to get out of bed in the morning. The problem is that I still don’t feel like myself and haven’t in so long that I don’t even know what feeling like myself feels like. I’m pretty much a damn disaster. So going through the grief process taught me the most important lesson I’ve probably had in the last 5-6 years.
I NEED THERAPY!!
The grief process is teaching me that I’ve been messed up for a lot longer than my friend has been dead. Her death just pulled the rug back on all the mess I’d been sweeping up for God knows how long (yeah, God and I are back good now). So I took the steps to help myself in 2019 by getting therapy.
Was this a difficult decision to make, YUP. Am I a bit embarrassed to share this, YUP. So why am I? Cause too many of us (us meaning melaninated women) either are too embarrassed to admit we need outside help OR we don’t every take the time to acknowledge we need help. We are charged to be the rock for our kids, husbands, mommas, dads, sick aunties & uncles and sometimes our cousins and their kids too. We are so busy trying to hold things together for everyone else, whether they asked us to or not, that we aren’t able to hold ourselves together. Then we have the nerve to feel guilty because we couldn’t do it all and balls are dropping. Well, here’s a newsflash.
BITCH NO ONE ASKED YOU TO BE SUPERWOMAN! THEY ONLY ASKED YOU TO BE YOU!
And we never take into account that all this mess we are trying to carry around is contributing to our heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, & thyroid problems. All things which can take a toll on our hormone levels and cause chemical imbalances in our heads, so we are literally driving ourselves crazy! Unnecessarily.
So after we have sufficiently driven ourselves senseless all year, what do we do ladies? We throw ourselves into resolutions and accountability partnerships. We get our gym memberships and make visions boards with all our hopes and dreams of how much better this year is going to be. We write out our affirmations on our mirrors to remind ourselves that we are beautiful and strong and proclaim that 2019 is gonna be our year! YES!! POSITIVE POWER! Some of us keep that energy all year long and that’s awesome. Some of us don’t make through week 2. Either one is good for you if it helps you cope. Except…sometimes we have to acknowledge that all our good intentions just may not be enough, because something deeper is wrong. Something is fundamentally off and affirmations and meditation may not fix it.
*steps off her soapbox*
So what is my point to all this ranting? Simply to tell you that I don’t care about a resolution or an affirmation right now. Did I make my greens and peas for New Year? Yes, but not because I expect a prosperous year. I made them cause I can cook and they taste good with some fried chicken.
All of the New Year’s hoopla is good and positive and works for many, many people. However for me, unless it is prescribed by my therapist, I don’t think I’m gonna worry about it this year. This year I am doing the hard work to get back to myself and I have acknowledged that I just am no longer equipped for that job and have no problem hiring someone who is.
Self-care is not just a current catch phrase ladies. However, self-care doesn’t always consist of a stair master, doing your hair or putting on a face mask. Sometimes self-care means you have to outsource! And if these big corporations have no problem with doing that, why should you? Aren’t you your own business? If your business has grown to the point where you aren’t able to manage it anymore, maybe it’s time to hire help….just a thought.