Tag Archive | Ah Ha! Moment

2018: (A Series) Maybe Its Time…

If you’ve read a blog I’ve written this year, you know my life is crazy as all the hells. It’s become this thing I couldn’t have planned for if I tried. More frequently than I’d like to admit, I’ve had to stop myself and say, “This is Real!”

I had this conversation with my Blacko-Rican Best Friend, about us being ‘Late Bloomers.’ We seem to be living our lives about 10 years behind. Changing careers at 35, having major adult epiphanies right now. After we’ve watched almost everyone else we went to college with, seemingly prosper. They have great jobs, and happy families.

Yet we, just aren’t there yet. And we’ve finally accepted it. Without shame, or fear of judgement. We are becoming the Best Versions of ourselves, with the knowledge gained from 10+ years of ‘not living up to our potential.

That recognition, that we’ve paved our own path is so….freeing. It’s a weight lifted off our shoulders, that we were so used to carrying, we forgot it was there.

I dance, all the time. In public, around people I don’t know. I Sing Again…I found my voice again.

Because, the weight has lifted.

I’m not trying to get my shit together anymore, I’ve actually done it. When my car broke down, I didn’t scramble and cry….I looked at my budget and figured that shit out.

Maybe Its Time, To Let The Old Ways Die…..

I’ve lost 82lbs this year, with minimal effort. In 12 months, I went to the gym 3 months out of the year. Now, those 3 months were INTENSE, but it was just 3 months. The rest of the time, I’ve just been moving.

Teaching 6th grade, having to work around that big ass classroom everyday, I was averaging between 13,000 to 17,000 steps a day. When I lived in AZ, I struggled to get 6,000 steps a day.

I should have done this 10 years ago!

I think if I had, I wouldn’t appreciate it as much.

The Best Benefit of being a Late Bloomer….you’ve actually made all the mistakes. You’ve learned from them. You’ve struggled, and worked those emotional muscles….you already know you can make it through anything…because you already have.

I had to make the decision, to stop doing things the way I always had. It wasn’t working for me. I was beating a dead ass horse (FUCK YOU PETA). My arms got tired.

The minute I did something different, every single thing in my life changed.

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Dear 2015 . . . Thank You!

Happy New Year!!! Before I can talk about 2016, I want to write a love letter to 2015, as she treated me exceptionally well. So here goes . . .

Dear 2015,

Ino-one-said-a-relationship-would-be-easy-quote-1 started my year laying in bed with someone I thought I loved.  I was looking forward to exploring that relationship, and seeing where it would take me.  I ended this year in a bed in a hotel room, sleeping.  I consider that progress. BTB, as he was referred to via text, was a great person, who just wasn’t the greatest person for me.  Thank you, 2015, for teaching me what I really need from a relationship.

11226a69ba8bcfcff240192ffe7267dfSpeaking of relationship needs, 2015, thank you for giving me closure with MM.  Thank you for allowing Adele to create Hello, which gave me the in to make the phone call. Thank you for the tears, the dropping of all my walls for the first time in 4 years, and understanding I’ll never get over the loss of him, and finally being okay with it.  Thank you for helping me to finally be adult enough to deal with him, and understanding me not being in his life, is HIS loss, and no longer mine.

12068774_10156193040040613_5727737327877461904_oAlso, 2015, thank you for all the travel I’ve been blessed enough to have this year.  Thank you that most of it has been not at my expense.  Thank you that I’ve been blessed enough to explore new places, and experience new food, and open myself to new people.  Thank you for the single serving friends I made while stranded in the Dallas airport, who stayed awake with me and shared their lives for that brief 16 hour clusterfuck.  Thank you for Seattle, and Tiffany.  Thank you my trip back to Detroit, and the $1300 in Travel Vouchers I earned by simply taking a later flight.

11890334_10156032907620613_7158217206638298298_oThank you, 2015, for finally finding my career.  For showing me, almost every day, that I CAN make a difference in the life of a child in more than one way. Thank you for combining my greatest life skill, Stalking People on the Internet, with my passion for helping children and making them work.  Thank you for giving me jobs which provided me with the autonomy I’ve always needed to succeed when working for others

11058219_10156449265155613_4546870432011955837_oThank you, 2015, for my God-Children, and all the children I’ve ever taught or worked with, who still remember me and are a part of my life.  Thank you for my Parents, with all their eccentricities.  Thank you that they are still alive, and well, and a part of my everyday life.  Thank you for the blessing of being able to call them when I need them, but also being able to call them without needing a thing.  Thank you for my family, immediate and extended, in all shapes, colors, ethnicities, and ages.  Thank you for the family I’ve created, and the family God gave me.  We are a work in progress.

dca470a731a288455632a65bf85058b1Lastly, but most importantly 2015, thank you for my Friends.  Thank you for reminding me who they are, and who they were, and that they love me.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity to see 85% of them while I was in Detroit/Dayton/Cincinatti, and spend quality time with them.  Thank you for the astonishing realization that all of us are ADULTS, who make adult decisions every day, and are happy in our lives.  Thank you for helping us to navigate life together, and sometimes apart, and still be able to look each other in the eye with pride.

Thank You 2015, even for the earth shattering losses of this year.  Thank you for all the tears, and fears, and self-doubt, and bad times.  Because I’ve grown so much more than I even knew until recently. Thank you for Everything, 2015. You’ve definitely made me a a better person.

Sincerely,

Mz. Joy

 

 

 

Adele…..you Wily Bitch.

I thought I’d escaped it. The rush of emo that comes from hearing a new song by Adele. I had done well all day. I listened to 21 and no tears came. I listened to 19…still nothing. So of course I felt safe.

It wasn’t my reaction to the song that caused the problems this time. It was someone ELSES reaction. It took them to a place and I got dragged along for the ride. Honestly, I was a willing participant. It was a conversation that needed to be had, and I got some confirmation I probably needed.

What I didn’t need was the by product of that confirmation. The self doubt. The what-ifs that sprang up.

What if I stop by and try to have a conversation with him?

What if we tried to be friends?

What if I hadn’t walked away?

I’ve been doing so good about MM. Exceptionally well actually.

Consider this: We live ten minutes away from each other, and I’ve only done a drive-by once. Ive only called once, and that was from my office phone, and I didn’t even leave a message.

I’ve left him alone, because My Pride is finally stronger than my need for closure.

I had a relationship, a good relationship whose end had nothing to do with MM, and everything to do with me deciding I needed and deserved more. I can honestly say, I didn’t hold my ex to any standards, that was probably the problem.

With TBTLNY, the same level of intimacy we had was something I thought I’d found with MM. TBTLNY was the Prototype. MM was the 1st Edition.

Adele almost had me driving to his house, or making a phone call to see if just maybe……

But I didn’t. I put my phone in Airplane Mode, took some Nyquil and took my melancholy ass to sleep.

Because no good will ever come of rejection for closures sake. No good EVER came from that. And I’m blessed to say, I value my sanity and myself more than I value his presence in my life.

I miss the FUCK out of MM. I still think about him on an almost regular basis. But I also smile now, and can face the world without fear, and can listen to music without crying. It’s a constant battle trying to figure out where my feelings are going to take me when I think about him. Adele didn’t help yesterday.

But just like the temperature in Arizona after the sun comes out, Still I Rise!

So as I sit in this spa chair, getting the best pedicure $25 can buy, I know I’ll be ok. I won’t call. I won’t drive by. I’ll continue to let it be my past. And that’s okay.

*Editor’s Note*

I called. Adele got me. And I’m woman enough to admit it.

I’d Rather Go Blind (or) . . . an Ode to James Baldwin

I have to start this blog by saying, I’ve never finished a James Baldwin novel.  I was SUPPOSED to in my Race in American Lit class in 11th grade . . .but youth. I have to also say, I’ve lived my live on the fringe of “Black Consciousness.” Meaning, I knew the world was fucked up.  I just chose to not let the fuckedupedness {yes, that is indeed a word} affect me.  Sadly, 2014 happened.  Actually, to be honest, 2008 happened . . . but we will get there.

I’ve stated on more than one occasion, I was raised strangely.  I had access to my history.  I knew my family’s history, and the history of my people.  Not because I went to the best schools {even though that helped} or because I was so well read {again, that did help}, but because my mother made sure I knew.  I didn’t know other people didn’t watch Eyes on the Prize on a yearly basis until college.

Best. Series. Ever.

Best. Series. Ever.

I’m not just talking about a casual glace, I mean we planned our WEEK around it showing on PBS.  Homework was done at school, so that i didn’t have to do it at home.  We sang all the protest songs while we were cooking dinner, and we sat down together to watch it.  I knew who the Little Rock Nine were before the Disney Movie came out.  I used to love Thurgood Marshall because he looked like my Great Uncle.

So it’s not that I didn’t know that racism and discrimination existed in the world.  I just didn’t have to deal with it.  I lived in Detroit, but I went to school in the suburbs.  All my friends were white.  If they weren’t white, they were something that wasn’t Black.  I’ve been the minority my whole life, even within my circle of friends.  Racism was a concept I understood, and had never really encountered until my then best friend’s father found out I was Black.

I'm referring to the white one . . .

I’m referring to the white one . . .

I’d been calling their house the entirety of Freshman Year. The minute the buddy pictures came back, the “secret” was revealed.  This man, whom I had spoken to at length whenever I had called their home, who always asked how I was doing and about my family, suddenly didn’t want his child to spend time with me.  He didn’t want her to drive to my home (even though I lived in the suburbs {better suburbs than them}), he told her not to interact with me at all.  Because I had tricked him! I didn’t “talk Black,” so how was he supposed to know I was invading his daughter’s life and setting such a bad example.  Her dad was an asshole, and he was racist, and he was born in a time when both of those were the norm.

United Colors of Benneton . . .

United Colors of Benetton . . .

Racism didn’t become real to me until affected my paycheck.  I blogged about it, feel free to check it out {here, and here,} Even still it wasn’t something that permeated.  They were #IsolatedIncidents. The world is a better place in the 21st century.  We elected a Black President for crying out loud.  People stood in a voting booth, and said we put our faith in that proud and self-identifiying Black Man, with his Beautiful Black Wife and Children.  The world has changed for the better! Or so we thought . . .

This was my morning board in my classroom for a WEEK!

This was my morning board in my classroom for a WEEK!

What we didn’t know, while we were shouting in the streets, and hugging each other with pride and glee . . . was some folks was MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD! WHEW, they was so mad! About life, and everything that was in it. And every time he made a difference, made a change, and potentially helped someone less fortunate than them . . . the anger built. And Bulit. AND BUILT. And for me, being able to ignore the undercurrents of racism was getting harder and harder.  Those names started adding up, and my memories of Eyes on the Prize starting connecting those dots.  From Rodney King, to Malice Green, to Sean Bell, to Oscar Grant, to Trayvon Martin.

Thank God for Black Twitter . . .

Thank God for Black Twitter . . .

Social Media ruined my life! Because I wasn’t just getting my news from CNN anymore.  I had minute my minute updates on things going on all over the country.  Every new name on the list had a hastag, and a story behind that wasn’t being censored by the media.  Suddenly, I had to acknowledge that my bubble had been popped, stepped on, and destroyed.  The anger started to build. And Build. AND BUILD. Why are they killing young children? Why are people so angry? Why do they hate us so much? Why do they work SO HARD to make sure we stay down? Why is no one paying attention?!?! Why does Don Lemon exist on Television?

I . . . loathe . . . you

I . . . loathe . . . you

Why are Black Men Thugs and White Men “troubled” and “mentally unstable?” Why are Black children a threat? Why is CNN reporting a Riot, when Black Twitter is live streaming police being the aggressors? Why are the only pictures of Mike Brown him looking like a “gangsta?” Why does the Republican run government shoot down anything the President attempts to to to a vote? Why is everyone on Fox News an Asshole? Why do I only trust Chris Hayes, Melissa Harris-Perry, and Rachel Maddow?

He Follows ever member of Black Twitter . . .

He Follows ever member of Black Twitter . . .

Why am I TERRIFIED every time I’m pulled over by a police officer? Why do I have to have conversations with all my clients about the dangers of expressing your opinions when dealing with certain kinds of people? Why do I fear for all of the children I work with who were raised in Happy Tucson, and don’t know who the rest of the world sees them? Why did I lose friends because of my reaction to Ferguson? Why was Ferguson the scariest thing I’d ever experienced as an American . . . not September 11th?

2014

2014

I can’t un-see those videos of Black Men AND WOMEN being abused by the people we pay to protect us.  I can’t un-know that 2015 is more like 1964.  I can’t un-experience someone walking in a church and shooting 9 people, because of the color of their skin.  I can’t un-cry those tears of frustration when conversing with people about my pain.

I’d Rather Go Blind.  I’d Rather be Deaf.  I’d Rather be Dumb.

I’m Afraid. I’m Angry.  I’m Hurt.

There is no time to heal. There is no time to recover from seeing Michael Brown’s body in the middle of a street.  There is no way to unwatch John Crawford III getting shot down for HOLDING a gun while talking on the phone. I can’t BREATHE! I can’t catch my breath, because it’s happening everyday.  Twice a day. The list continues to grow.

blackfaces

To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.”

– James Baldwin

This. Is. America.  This is being Black in America. This is Depressing as All the Hells.

This Is My Experience.  

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Thank You For Reading.

Anybody Want to Buy a Heart?

*The following post was inspired by this Album*

I used to write all the time.  I’m kind of ashamed I don’t anymore.  Maybe it’s a good thing, because the reason I don’t write anymore is that I just don’t have the time.  Between having two jobs, one boyfriend, and trying my best to have an actual social life, it’s just been A LOT.

I’m not complaining, because that would make me an asshole.  Because there are people who wish they had my life.  So for those 3 people, I’m grateful everyday.  I think I’m searching for a creative outlet though.  Every minute of every day is focused on something, and It’s exhausting.  My time doesn’t belong to me any more. It belongs to the kids I tutor, or the kids on my case load.  Or it belongs to my boyfriend, or it belongs to my friend who needs a support system.

I think my only child is angry with me.  I haven’t had a day when I turned off my phone and movie hopped since . . . maybe July of last year? The minute summer camp ended, I was on the run.  I had to find two jobs, because I need variety.  My need for autonomy and flexibility also leads to multiple responsibilities.  If i take a day off of work, I could really actually impact someones life.

I’m wondering if I’m making myself feel important?  If i’m picking jobs/tasks because I know people are actually counting on me.  I feel like there is some psychological explanation for having that kind of complex . . . and it’s not a good/positive one.  So because I fear I’m secretly crazy, I’m stressed out.  That leads to getting sick, and staying home but still working from home because $$$. Either way, I judge myself for not working, and I’m judging myself FOR working so much because I don’t know if my heart is all the way in it.

My goal for this year, has been to take one weekend a month, and have it be about me.  I’m slowly but surely trying to change my schedule so that I actually adhere to my off days.  I haven’t been so far. But next month is a new month, so i guess we will try that again.  The other good thing is that I get to start working out again.  I remember how clear my mind used to be when I was working out 5 days a week.  Gotta get back to that.

Maybe my middle of the week off days will be for writing.  Maybe that will be the time I carve out for myself to sit, find a topic, and write at least 1000 words.  I doubt I’ll post all of them, but still to have them there.  My last blog was written in September! Almost 6 months ago.  Half a Year without writing?!?!? I just like . . . what?

So here’s the last thing . . . I think like a social worker now.  It’s HORRIBLE for a relationship.  Because when conflicts arise, I’m looking at it as, how can I solve this problem.  I’m stepping out of it, and analyzing the situation . . . instead of being in it at the time.  I think my Trauma Stewardship Skills have reached an all time high.  I don’t take anything personal, I don’t assume anything about people’s actions.  I’m quite sure in the last few weeks someone has tried to sabotage me . . . but I’m not worried about THAT. I actually said to a co-worker, “I can’t judge her because she feels a way about me.  That’s her journey, and it has nothing to do with me.”

WHAT . . . . IS . . . . LIFE?!?!?!?!  I’m actually starting to live by the motto, “We Don’t Judge.”

I think I’m at a personal crossroads.  Not one that’s going to lead me to moving again or anything like that.  But one that makes me reorganize my life, my priorities, and such.  My calmness scares me, which shouldn’t be a thing right? But as someone who used to be the emotional equivalent of a Kardashian-West Twitter Rant, this is just weird.

Thanks for Reading . .. hopefully there’s more coming.

Moment of Clarity or The Man of My Dreams . . .

When I was younger, my mother would say I had ‘Second Sight’ because I would make statements, say the most ridiculous things about people, and they would be (or come) true. I knew what I knew because I would dream it.  It wasn’t always clear to me what it meant, but I would always share it with my mom.  I was the Fish Dream QUEEN until I hit puberty.  About then, my dreams started to be less detailed and more like everyone else’s.

Honestly, the ability to see other people’s lives in my dreams used to scare me.  I never told anyone but my mom about it, because I thought it made me just a little too different.  On occasion, I would have a dream that was warning me of something or someone and I would trust it.  The only by-product of this pre-pubescent skill seemed to be the ability to pick lottery numbers for one of my mother’s friends.  Any time he would ask, I would give him winning numbers.  Sadly, we didn’t get money, but I did get pretty dresses.

Because I still remember what my dreams used to tell me, I believe and trust them.  They help explain (frequently to myself) the rationale behind something which has already happened in my life.  Nonetheless, I ALWAYS I know I am dreaming.  I have a Moment of Clarity (usually at the beginning of the dream) in which I state, “This isn’t real.” It helps me process what I’m experiencing during the dream, as well as after.

This morning, I dreamt  about The One that Got Away. *He will always be known as that, I think we would have been an amazing couple.  If only I hadn’t been so shy when I was younger.* I had gone to Dayton to visit some friends, and we happened to be in the same place.  We saw each other from afar and made eye contact.  In my mind, he should have immediately come and spoken to me.  For some reason, he chose not to.  I was PISSED.  I said in front of everyone in the restaurant, “I’m standing here trying to figure out why *********** hasn’t walked over here and spoken to me.” I then walked away, grabbed a straightening comb and went to find a plug.

He quickly followed me out of the room, and the restaurant morphed into my father’s house.  I walked into my childhood bedroom and he joined me.  I lay down on the bed, and he sat beside me.  We started conversing about everything I’ve gone through in the last 2 years and after telling him about it,  I experienced such a feeling of peace.

The kind of peace you only experience post-Church Service that was speaking to your soul. We just laid there, I put my head on his chest and slept. Before I fell asleep, he said, “I’ll be here when you wake up.”  When my alarm went off, he wasn’t there.   I cried, HARD. He had broken his promise to me.

I really had to tell myself, MJ it was a dream. After thinking about this dream all day, and talking to TOTGA, I finally interpreted  the dream.  It wasn’t so much about him, but men in my life. It must be stated, I’m an open book.  I don’t hide anything from people I meet, especially if I plan on being emotionally intimate with them.  With the exception of 1 person, they have all broken their promises (or gone against their word). Be it, “No one will know,” or “I’ll never judge you,” or “Our friendship will always be important to me,” they have all been proven false.

I hold people to incredibly high standards.  That’s how I was raised by both of my parents, and it’s something I apply to my everyday life.  (That’s a whole other blog though)

In the case of my Father, he has broken so many promises to me in my lifetime (in my opinion) trusting him isn’t really an option at this point.  As a grown woman, I shouldn’t’ need to rely on his promises, right?  I should be looking at my ‘Mate’ for that kind of security.  The problem is, every man I have ever been involved with romantically has been some version of my father in some way.  This shouldn’t have come as such a surprise to me, as I’ve spoken about my Daddy Issues at length in other postings.

In my experience, Moments of Clarity are the by-product of a subconscious accepting of something you have been struggling to comprehend/understand/deal with.  When it clicks in your soul, you can finally face it in your mind. I’m there now.

I can finally admit there was nothing I could have done to change how my relationship with MM ended.  There were too many reasons it wasn’t working, and only a few reasons it was.  I can admit I failed.  I made a promise I wasn’t able to keep, and THAT’S what hurt the most.  I am and have been living with the guilt that I am Just Like My Father.  Talk about MindFuck.  Yeah, all that.

This Moment of Clarity comes at a hard time for me personally.  I’ve lost 2 friends this year, mostly due to my own inability to deal with the loss of MM.  I don’t blame people for writing me off.  I can only hope they eventually understand  my side of it, and we are able to move past everything. When TOTGA asked me about my life, I told him it was ‘Manageable.’ His advice: Work on your management skills, it’s bound to get better.

 Thank God for Granting Me, this Moment of Clarity.

I’m glad it was delivered by the Man of My Dreams.

Perfectly Lonely/Single

Almost a year ago to the day, I wrote a note called Scared of Lonely/Hello. The note was partially based on my obsession with Beyonce’s new album. But it also came from my frustration at being a single black woman staring down the barrel of the “Why aren’t you in a relationship like everybody else?” 12 Gauge Shot Gun.

It was born from every woman’s innate fear that they will end up old and alone, with 150+ cats and no teeth. We all, secretly, have that fear. At that time the chorus of Beyonce’s Song, Scared of Lonely, really helped me put my thoughts and fears into words.

I’m Scared of Lonely
I’m scared of being the only
Shadow I see along a wall . . .

And I’m scared the only heart beat
I hear a beating is my own
And I’m scared of been alone

I can’t seem to breathe when I am lost
In this dream, I need you to hold me
I’m Scared of Lonely . . .

So, a year has passed. How do I feel about being “alone” in a sea of happy loving relationships? At least four people very close to me are engaged. Every new person I have met since moving to Arizona is married or in a long term committed relationship. Three of my good friends who were scared of lonely right along with me, are now happy and content in the arms of a man who loves them. My personal feelings then,

“I am TERRIFIED of Lonely, cuz she’s a sneaky Hoe. Sitting in her ’86 Ford Escort, with the souped up engine that her Ex bought her . . .That Bitch is there, waiting, lurking, hoping for the chance when something will trigger her to come back. . .

This is Lonely’s Ride

For such a long time, being single seemed to be portrayed as the ultimate failure for a woman. Somehow you weren’t doing something right, you weren’t good enough, you were somehow at fault for being another single female in this world. I don’t know when I realized that Single doesn’t equal Lonely or Alone. But I am so glad that I did!

Oooooh, Now I Get It!
It was such an “Ah Ha!” moment for me. You mean, it’s OKAY for me to like myself?!? I don’t have to be completed by the presence of a male in my life?!? Son of a Bitch! After that epiphany, and the required conversation with my mother to confirm my suspicions that I had been lied to for YEARS by the media, I immediately started to embrace what Single means.

Single Means: When it’s time for overtime at the office, you get called first, because you don’t have kids or a significant other that are waiting for you

Single Means: I choose what I want to do with my time

Single Means: I choose what I do with my money

Single Means: I can hit as many houses as I want to for the Major Get-Free-Food Holidays

Single Means: If I choose to spend all my money on an impromtu trip to Detroit, the only person who suffers is me

Single Means: I can be as selfish as I want to be!

If my embrace of the word Single wasn’t enough, the Famous White Man Crush aka John Mayer, put my feelings into such beautiful words I actually had to open my Twitter Account {@ThatLadyJoy No PreauxMeaux} to tell him how much I appreciated his lyrical Genius on the song Perfectly Lonely!

Nothing to do
Nowhere to be
A simple little a kind of free

Nothing to do
No one but me
That’s is all I need

I’m perfectly lonely
I’m perfectly lonely
I’m perfectly lonely
Yeaah…
Cause I don’t belong to anyone
And nobody belongs to me

I mean really! The man is a genius! But more than marveling, it made me think about the fact that I don’t answer to anyone but myself. I do what I want, when I want, how I want. And a great big F*ck You if you have a problem with it. I’m still entirely too selfish to be in a relationship right now, and that’s actually okay.

Are You Ready for This?
My Soror Amber Pratcher was recently pontificating on the misconceptions many young women have in regards to finding a man. She herself is married, and she posted some of the most truthful things about what marriage/committed relationships require.

“Being married requires you to dig deep within yourself to step up emotionally and physically through low times & appreciate some1 who AINT U”

I can honestly say I am not ready for that, not at all. So until then, I am Perfectly Happy being Single! Big Ups to Natasha Bedingfield for this Oldie but Goodie!

This is my current single status
My declaration of independence
There’s no way I’m tradin’ places
Right now a star’s in the ascendant

I’m single (Right now)
That’s how I wanna be
I’m single (Right now)
That’s how I wanna be !