Rest in Peace to the person I thought I was and hope to never become.
Memorial Day 2018
2 months ago we agreed to form a Faith Study group. We call it Faith Study because all too often people get hung up verses, chapters and psalms that shut them down, cut off their questions and turn them away. We believe God is love, has many names, countless manifestations and leaves no one behind. We meet once per month to discuss our individual faith, God and spirituality, we apply our varying beliefs in divinity to everyday life, we teach other different aspects of spirituality… we learn from each other. Christian, Pagan, Buddist, Agnostic, Catholic even the ‘spritual but not religious’… all coming together to share ideas to understand love, heartbreak, crisis, friendship, conflict… LIFE.
I don’t want to grow up…
So, Toys R Us is going out of business, I’m not sure if I should hit my local store and buy up everything in sight. This was the center of my childhood universe, the scene of prospective Birthdays, Christmases and even my first paycheck. Yes, I said my first paycheck… as an adult, I am a Toys R Us Kid after all (don’t judge me lol).
When I was a little girl, I used to go out to the backyard and lay down in the grass looking up at the sky. I’d watch the clouds roll by and let the shapes tell me a story. Scenes with Dragons and Unicorns and Pegasus would play out before me (why doesn’t anyone ever talk about Pegasus? (Unicorns are great, but Pegasus… can FLY)
… admit it, that is pretty f*cking cool!
I didn’t have tea parties, I made mud pies… I’d go into the bathroom and fill bowls with water, troop back outside to my favorite patch of grass and go to town making mud pies like it was going out of style. I just knew I was the best mud pie maker on the block… in the neighborhood even. I used to take the blades of grass by the handful and grind them up with a rock. The scent reminded me of my grandmother chopping onions and singing hymns and reciting Bible verses in creole at the stove while she cooked. I used to be so excited in the first days of spring, those days when Mom would finally let me out of the house, when I could finally go outside to play until the sun came down… coming in only for snacks, drinks, to go to the bathroom then back out again.
Every summer I would plan out a treasure hunt, marching around the yard on a mission to find dandelions… every single dandelion growing in proximity to the house. I would lay down or sit Indian style in my special patch of grass; one by one holding them up in front of me, turning my face toward the sun I’d take a deep breath… and blow. My little heart beating fast, excited because… with every breath I’d watch as the soft fuzz that reminded me of loose flecks of cotton candy would float away on the wind. Sometimes I would jump up and chase after them laughing, throwing my little arms out and spin and spin and spin laughing watching the world as it sped by the whole time, stopping suddenly, happy, breathless and light headed I’d fall back down to the grass in fits of giggles.
About 6 houses down was the great white house on the hill. I would sneak over to that house, climb the hill, pausing occasionally to catch my breath. I always went alone, I would place myself in the center of the hill, lay down and look up at the sky, cloud watching again. I would slowly count to 10, listen to my quick heartbeat, take a deep breath and roll over… and keep rolling till my little body hit the bottom with a jolt. When I wasn’t skinning my knees, getting scratches on tree branches or banged up from rolling down the neighborhood hill… I read books; Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew and Amelia Bedelia.
I know I’ve probably referenced some of this stuff before in other blogs, but how often does one sit down and really think about what it FELT like to be a little girl? The way the Earth stood still when you would hear that tell tale jingle approaching, the boom that was like thunder as the universal war cry was shouted… “ICE CREAM!!” And how the world would sped up again as every child in a 2 block radius would scatter in search of dollars or spare change.
… also known as ‘Heaven on Wheels‘
Despite some unknowns and major catastrophes my childhood was a happy one, a good one… it had its interesting moments, but I was allowed and encouraged to be a child. I took myself on adventures, thought I was Indiana Jones and my backyard was the Temple of Doom. I had my own inventions and a time or two I would tie the bed sheets together and throw them out the window and jump out, climbing down to parts unknown. Relax… we lived on the first floor of our multi family home, the window was only a few feet off the ground so I was never in any danger. When you’re five or six years old your imagination is so big that to you really do feel like SheRa or Han Solo in Star Wars, or Leroy Green from the Last Dragon (Bruce Leroy), and who can forget about the Incredible Hulk, or the A-Team.
I soooo wanted to be a singer when I grew up, I would run around the house with a hairbrush belting out ‘the Greatest Love of All’. I was fascinated by Whitney Houston… ‘I Want to Dance with Somebody’ and Tina Turner’s ‘What’s Love Got to Do with It’ and ‘We Don’t Need Another Hero’. Most little girls dreamed of being a princess, having a castle, kissing Prince Charming and getting married. For all the other little girls I was exposed to (my sister, cousins, little girls in school) for those little girls getting married was BIG. Wedding cakes and white dresses and a big party and then there was me. I was the one burning a hole in my easy bake oven and playing doctor. I had no use for weddings or worse… Prince Charming!
I played jump rope and kept chalk in my pockets for hopscotch, had 10 Imaginary Friends… characters from Sesame Street (the cowboy Forgetful and his Cow, the Count, Bert and Ernie Kermit and Ms. Piggy) … almost the whole Muppet cast, also Bo and Luke Duke, Uncle Jesse, Boss Hogg and Daisy from the Dukes of Hazzard. I loved watching GI Joe, (imagined I was a soldier with a big knife as I thought guns were highly overrated), lived for Thunder Cats, Rainbow Brite, Wonder Woman and the Bionic Woman. I would rush to the tv when I came home from school to watch Woody Woodpecker and Chilly Willy, Bugs Bunny and the Looney Tunes clan… Lord how I wanted to bop Elmer Fudd and Daffy Duck upside their foreheads. I most definitely was not a Disney kid, not then… Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, while cute, very pretty and very shiny, I preferred the Transformers and Voltron, climbing trees and playing in the mud.
It’s so easy to dwell on the negative, but I was a happy little girl. My dad taught me how to ride my bike and I viewed that as a source of freedom, I would take off with the wind in my face and would run around with my training wheels… think of the expression “ride it till the wheels fall off”. I rode that bike until those training wheels fell off lol. I rode until I had no business riding anymore. Eventually I was just way too big for it and no matter how much I loved that cherry candy apple red source of freedom I finally had to give it up, then they handed me my sisters blue 3 speed bike. It was huge and I had to climb it to sit down, smh my God there were no helmets back then, no helmets or protective gear whatsoever. There were no streamers on my bike, riding was serious business… I would get on that bike and think that I was additional member of the Justice League on wild adventures, it’s a wonder I never broke anything… not a finger, a leg, a wrist, an arm or any bone. Looking back, I realize that was a blessing.
It’s not lost on me that most of my childhood heroes were boys and men, back then leading women were rare things… but I had those heroes too, my mom and my older sister. I looked up to my big sister… she infuriated me but I loved her, she was 6 years older so she had no use for ‘little kids’. That didn’t stop me from looking up to her though, following her around constantly telling everyone “my sister said”. I used to watch my mom get dressed to go out… fascinated by the hair, the makeup and the perfume. I couldn’t wait for her to leave, I would try to be nonchalant… (or as nonchalant as a four, five or six-year-old can be) and watch her leave the house. I would go to the window, watch as she got in the car and drive away. You never know… sometimes the adults would come back so I would wait until the coast was clear. I’d wait an appropriate amount of time (hindsight tells me it was probably only half a minute but time flies differently for children). I’d wait whatever I thought was an appropriate amount of time to pass and then I would jump up and down like a crazy person and run back to her bedroom.
I would go to her closet and pick out one of her dresses to wear. I’d look over what felt like a million pairs of red pumps with heels that were ridiculous, sometimes pull out a hat, maybe a pair of gloves. I would go to her dresser and run my fingers across its surface, sit down and gather all her makeup. Sitting at her dresser, putting lipstick on, spraying her perfume; on my wrist and behind my ears. I had no idea what to do with eye shadow… the few times I tried to use it I made a holy mess and tried to rub my face clean with a lot of paper towels, trying to clean off the surface of the dresser with Windex. Of course, I would end up tying to do some explaining because ultimately, she would figure out that I had been in her stuff, so I learned that if I took just her lipstick and dabbed it across my eyelids I could make my own eye shadow. Lipstick didn’t fly everywhere like the eye shadow did, I would rub it in with my fingers to blend it, apply a little bit of lipstick to my cheeks for blush and then the lips… the lips were always last, because that was where the voice comes from.
(totally NOT me, image found online)
I would take the lipstick and very carefully slide it across my lips… that was my favorite part, coloring my lips with lipstick. I would imagine what it would feel like to be an adult, all grown-up; to know everything, imagine being able to do whatever you wanted with no need to ask mom or dad for anything. I wondered what it would feel like to be grown up and have my sister look up to me, I couldn’t wait to be independent and beautiful, and I would laugh… I would laugh so much. There isn’t anything quite like the sound of a child laughing and even though it’s me in the memory, thinking back on it now… hearing that laugh still takes my breath away. Those are the happy moments, maybe too happy. I compartmentalize a lot and different phases of my life are stored in different boxes. I keep the different people in my life in different boxes… I keep different feelings in boxes. I think that everybody needs a set of boxes just for happy memories and the great moments, we should respect them more.
Looking back, I see it laid the foundation for how I now put myself together. I have so much makeup now it’s crazy and the common denominator is the lipstick; in every shade, every hue, every type imaginable… and that’s always a Finishing Touch. I get dressed up, do my hair, put makeup on and then sit at my vanity table, my adult self… seeing the little girl I used to be looking back at me, eventually slowly sliding the lipstick across my lips… a grown up.
In 2013 I posted I Used to Love Her… http://www.novaonthemove.com/2013/10/16/i-used-to-love-her/
A blog about falling out of love with yourself and depression. I’ve been thinking a lot about this as of late, having been in relationships with women diagnosed with clinical depression or severe anxiety, having a best friend with Bi-Polar disorder and loved ones that are possibly running around undiagnosed. There is a layer of fear there that you live in…. it’s not something you can understand unless you have lived it, a constant concern for that person… are they ok… are they getting better… how long can they go on like this… do I need to get them some help… questions, always questions.
Over the last two years I took the steps to become a certified life coach, took the courses and absorbed the material… I wanted to help people. then life happened… sick relatives, a bad beak up, my own weird illness, moving, work… blah, blah blah… so I haven’t taken the official exam. I still want to help people, I’m just not sure what that looks like in this new reality TODAY.
I am at a peaceful phase in my life; work is a misery, dating and relationships are hit or miss, my friends are A*M*A*Z*I*N*G truly one of the greatest blessings I have and my family is back on track. I’ve reconciled with my sister, my mom is doing well, my niece is heading to college… there is a lightness here that has not been attainable for years. Don’t get me wrong, everyone is still insane… EVERYONE… and yes, I am counted in that number, but it doesn’t matter. I am in a still phase, the waters run deep and while I have storms raging within me I find solace in faith, family and love.
Have you ever listened to Logic’s song 800-273-8255? That is the actual telephone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. There are several important people in my life that have contemplated suicide. I wish I could say it never crossed my own mind but I would be lying. Please do not jump to conclusions, mine was a passing thought not given much contemplation… something more common than people will admit. Sadly, that seed, that line of thinking is easy to fall into… as easy as breathing. Sometimes you want to stop and just be still, to hear nothing, look at nothing… to FEEL nothing.
I enjoy my alone time; self-contemplation is not practiced as much as it should be. We are taught that God is love and I believe in love. I believe understanding IS love so I try to understand. I believe to love another person is to see the face of God. I see his hand in all aspects of my life, in all of decisions I have made and in all of the outcomes. Taking these things into consideration when ‘coaching’ someone, using the tools I have learned to ‘hear’ someone, and working for the betterment of another human being is an amazing experience. I am propping my loves up, listening, giving advise as needed, passing out tissues when needed and helping to shoulder their burdens. It just takes a toll though, I have my dark days like everyone else.
Last night one of my friends said to me “you never unload on me”, and of course I asked her what she meant… “You never unload on me… I unload on you all the time, but you never unload on me. There are days I know you are stressed, or hurting and I unload on you… I know I shouldn’t because you are obviously struggling but I can’t help myself, but you never unload on me. You just sit and listen, give me advice and a kick in the azz when I need it, but you never unload on me.” I’d like to say that I vented then, but I would be lying, the answer is simple really, it’s just how I am built.
I’m an empathetic person not sympathetic, most people do not understand the difference so I will explain starting with the definitions:
Sympathy – feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune
Empathy – the ability to understand and share the feelings of another
I wish I could say I felt bad for how bad other people feel, but I don’t. Instead I work to understand how they feel as they do and ultimately come to terms with sharing in some of that feeling. People think me cold and uncaring because I am not warm and fuzzy. I don’t really know how to address that except to say I love hard and I always try to understand where people are coming from, if that makes me cold… well then, I guess you are entitled to your opinion.
I unload plenty, through writing and reading and music and travel, and bookstores… Lord how I love bookstores (and libraries) … they have always felt like another form of Church to me. It seems like the older I get I go through long periods without putting pen to paper, which for me is a bit dangerous because it just means everything I have been taking in I have not been releasing. Even in my most burdened state I still try to BE there for my loved ones. It always catches up to me though… I get sick or just tired, or sick and tired. There are days I can’t or don’t want to get out of bed. Some of this I wrote, and erased, wrote again and re-worded.
There is guilt in feeling vulnerable, tired and having your choices taken from you. We all want to be brave, we all want to be strong but really… sometimes we need to break down before we can rebuild our selves stronger, and I so desperately want to be strong.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this, having been in relationships with women diagnosed with clinical depression or severe anxiety, having a best friend with Bi-Polar disorder and loved ones that are possibly running around undiagnosed. There is a layer of fear there that I live in… more people live in it than we realize, a constant concern for their loved ones… are they ok… are they getting better… how long can they go on like this… do I need to get them some help… questions, always questions. In the past year 2 friends of mine have discussed contemplating taking their own lives.
I wish I could say I talked them off of the ledge, that I made them see the light and had them counting their blessings (because really, they are blessed), but I can’t. I doubt much of what I have to say is acually useful but I do try to listen, and will continue to listen. Have you ever heard Logic’s song 800-273-8255? That is the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. We never really know what someone is going through so try compassion as a default. The road to Self Love is not easy, it takes work and more effort than almost everything else in life. It starts with talking… talk, talk and keep talking. If there isn’t anyone there to listen… no one to hold your hand or hold you tight, find a phone… please use it.
(rough draft, still have some more thinking to do)
It’s cold out, still and wet… there is thunder in the distance, brief flashes of lightening. She is quiet… going through the motions of releasing the stresses of her day. When she gets this way it’s like a hurricane trapped in a bottle. She is tense with an energy that is tightly reined in. Her body language, and her gaze, the tone of her voice… is predatory. I will wait.
I am silent, letting her go through her process… she isn’t ready. So I go through my motions, giving her space, preparing for the tempest I know is coming. Doing busy work while I give her the room she needs to work through it. I will wait.
Just as the rain starts outside I hear her long exhale… the slow release of a hard day. I can hear all of the pent up frustration in that one quiet puff of sound. The wind is howling as the storm gathers… I will wait.
I turn and take in the sight of her on the sofa leaning forward with her face in her hands, eyes closed. Slowly I tip toe over to stand directly in front of her and slide my fingers into her hair. At first she stiffens at my touch, her body coiled tightly like she’s ready to pounce. I will wait.
Suddenly she relaxes as my fingers work to knead away the tension at her temples. I smooth my caress over her scalp and she sighs again, resting her face against me as she wraps her arms around my waist. I will wait.
We are like that for a time… she is starting to unwind and I’m focused on her, just her. I wait until she is on the cusp of sleep, then gently work my fingers through her hair to give a firm short tug. Her breath catches and in a flash she comes to life, head snapping up as she drags me into her lap for a kiss that is both forceful and hungry. I will wait.
I straddle her hips as her hands reach down to cup my ass. Liquid fire pooling between my legs, my body aflame in a response that is for her and her alone. On a moan I grind down on her… and she rolls her hips up to meet mine. I break our kiss to gasp for air, as her hands dip under my shirt. Short of breath I slide my lips across her cheek to nip at her ear, rub my lips down her neck… then slide my tongue over the sensitive spot between her neck and collar bone. I will wait.
I lean back and unbutton her shirt, pressing soft kisses into her skin. Her body is feverish under my caress. My lips roll over her ribs, tongue sliding down her side… nails grazing her lightly as she trembles with hunger. She will wait.
She pants my name in a tone that is harsh and demanding. Her body is tense with an energy that is tightly reined in. Her body language, her gaze, the tone of her voice… are predatory. She will wait.
I am silent, letting her go through her process… she is almost ready. So I go through my motions, preparing for the storm I know is coming. Lips and tongue doing busy work while I give her the space she needs to work through it. She will wait.
Lightening crashes and the rain beats against the windows as I sigh into her skin… the slow release of expectation. I can hear her excitement in the steady thrumming of her heart. Thunder booms loudly as she snaps… Finally.
Suddenly she growls and flips me onto my back, grinding her hips inside my open thighs as I pant with need. Eyes closed as her lips kiss my neck, her hands on my breasts, tugging my bra out of the way. I push my hips up to meet hers as she unleashes the full force of her passion at me… Finally.
I try to catch my breath between pants, feeling devoured, her lips tugging on my nipples, as she rips open my pants. Her fingers sliding into the moist heat between my thighs. At first I stiffen at her touch… her fingers quickly flick back and forth over my heated flesh, teasing my clit. Outside the storm rages as my body coils tightly with mounting need as she slides a finger deep inside of me… in and out… in… and… out. I moan her name right before I lose control. Throwing my head back as my body bucks beneath her on a wave of long… hard… orgasm. She rocks against me, holding me down… cumming hard and fast, pouring all of her pent up energy into me… Finally.
I haven’t written a word in a long time. It’s been almost one year since I’ve put my thoughts down to paper. In that year I managed to finally see the end of years of credit card debt, was promoted at work, met a new love, strained my relationship with my sister, lost my cat of 18 years, lost my dog of 10 years and went back to school. Pretty much discovering the best and the worst of me in a 19 month time span. The truth of the matter is sometimes my world goes dark. Whatever muse I carry with me takes some time to rest or silently watch me make a disaster out of my life. One of my best friends says creativity is a gift from God. I wonder if God takes such blessing back though. When I feel a lack of inspiration, is it life getting in the way or has God simply stopped speaking to me? Some writers never find that spark again.
This past year though? A roller coaster of emotions; joy, anger, fear, faith, loss, love and disappointment… a lot of love and a lot disappointment. I learned so much from my most recent relationship, how to be loved, how to allow myself to be loved, and to make peace with the insecurities I was holding onto. I*N*S*E*C*U*R*I*T*I*E*S… we all have them that is certain. It’s not a question of what they are so much as a question of how much power do we choose to give them over our lives.
Now I have plenty of issues, and I try to work on them. Some days are more successful than others. I’m an analytical mind… always trying to figure things out. Growing up I remember determining how to take the entire back casing off of the big tube TV in the living room, the one that was some weird kind of ‘all in one cabinet/shelf TV’ hybrid. It looks amazingly like the one in the picture. You would think the back would be the same hard brown wood as the rest of it, well it wasn’t. I would wait till I was alone and then I would shake and shift that thing until I had enough space to sit behind it. I worked on that thing for what felt like weeks maybe months (now take into consideration that a couple of days felt like a week to a child). When I finally had it open I touched everything, the wires, the boards, the tubing… everything. I did the same with the VCR, took a screwdriver to it until I had it in pieces. All plugged in and not once electrocuted. God definitely protects fools and babies.
I wish I could say I’ve outgrown my curious side. The need to always understand everything, but I would be lying. Something I’m neither good at or have the energy to do. When I was 24 I started saying “Understanding IS Love, so I try to understand” and I tell myself that every day. I’m a people watcher, observing how they behave, the things they say and most especially the things they do to each other. There is a need for me to figure out how a person thinks. Once you understand that it is easier to know what drives them, what makes them tick and why they ultimately do all of the things they do. I kind of feel like understanding people and situations helps me to provide better. To better answer questions like, “what do I need to do for the ones I love most? What do I need to do to excel at work (clearly quality and dedication aren’t it lol), and what do I need to do… to be a better person for the people in my life?” Applying this concept to people I care about and situations that are important to me… almost impossible though as I can sometimes just fall prey to being too close to the situation. I’ll keep trying though… Faith, Family, Friends and Career… I will always try to understand.
On Dating and Relationships… I remember the exact moment I started to fall for my ex. It was late in the evening and we were walking to the train station and about to cross the street, I started across just as a car speeded into the cross walk. She grabbed my arm to stop me while stepping in front of me… Magic. Just like that the light went on. We spend so much of our time trying to figure out what we want in a partner, only to end up discovering things we need that we never would have imagined before. So many things became clear to me in this past situation. I’m told I’m a giver by nature but what does that even mean? I was raised to have the best of the best or nothing. To expect and work for the best of everything but also to acknowledge when the fruits of my labor may result in just that… nothing. Acceptance though, not an option. A relationship should be a partnership. I always hear folks talking about what THEY bring to the table. Seems to me no one acknowledges that not everyone has a place at the table, even when you want them to… and we can’t all bring exactly the same thing. After all… a table full of potatoes is in no way a meal, it’s just a table full of potatoes. We need to both bring things worth eating; nourishment for the mind, body and spirit that will both strengthen us as individuals and help us to be better IN partnership.
Failure is a fact of life and I have no fear of failing. If I am qualified or something is meant for me than I will have it. Strength to me is the ability to keep going, to always pick yourself up when you fall. Take help when it is offered (which I still struggle with) and to give help to others when it is within your power. Treating others in exactly the way I need to be treated. This isn’t an expectation or a requirement for me, it just is.
I do shut down though and those are the moments I’m the most self-reflective. I don’t ever look at anyone the way I look at myself. I can come across as rude and abrasive but the simple truth is… well just that, the simple truth. I don’t sugar coat anything, I just speak. I try to find ways to express myself that don’t come across as judgmental or insensitive but some things in life will always push those buttons in others, whether that’s how they were meant or not. The easiest way for me to maintain clarity in any given situation is to mean exactly what I say. No half stepping, no backsies, no double talk, and that is what I find unnerves folks most… HONESTY.
I want to be a wife, a mom, a mogul, a guru…
The wife part… well whatever happens… happens. I used to say I had to be married to have kids. No more, I now find myself unwilling to give up on the life I want or my future children, for a wife/life partner that may never show her face. Yes, I’m a romantic but I’m also realistic. That great romance and love that movies and books are written about… doesn’t happen for everyone. So I work on me, for me to always be better than I was yesterday. To learn things I don’t know, to step out of my comfort zone, to try for being nice and kindness instead of my default ‘I don’t give a f*ck’ attitude’, to keep an open mind and to respect when someone cares about me. I think it’s easy to come up with a list of requirements for the relationships in our lives but I want to deserve my future wife, to deserve my future children. To be someone they love, someone worthy of their respect, to be someone they admire. That’s the end game, trying to be who God intended me to be no more, no less.
Now I tell everyone I am the black Bridget Jones, I relate way too much to the character Hannah in the HBO series GIRLS, Penelope Garcia on Criminal Minds, Fiona on ShowTime’s Shameless and yes I have my own Emergency Plan for any possible upcoming Zombie Apocalypse. I am Pippi Longstocking, Amelia Bedelia, Encyclopedia Brown, and Nancy Drew… and why the hell not? If you don’t know those names you would definitely benefit from looking them up. I believe in God and in Magic, and Dragons and Miracles. Isn’t God in all of us? Aren’t we each the magic, the dragons and the miracles that dreams are made of? I’m a flawed being, I own that. I think I just wish that the world was full of less talkers and more doers. Work on yourself, make sure your choices are always your own and have a purpose. It would be so easy for me to try to fit into a cookie cutter box that would put everyone at ease, make me seem less threatening, make it easier to put me on a shelf and pass me by or just plain forget me. Life isn’t easy though and I find neither am I. I embrace my issues and continue to work on them. CSA… Crazy, Sexy, Amazing, I’m a constant work in progress… and I’m ok with that.
Just remember… I’m only human and work toward being a better person every day. Understanding IS love… (myself, my loves, and everything else) so I will always, always try to understand.
… and just like that, I’m writing again.
– Nova CSA