Tag Archive | Arizona

The Story of My Life . . . or Holy Shyt! I’m 32

*Editor’s Note: I started this blog in January.  Actually finished it, then never published it.  I know why now.*

Every year, I TRY to post a blog about what I’ve learned over that previous year.  With my Birthday being so close to the New Year, it’s usually just my yearly recap as well.  This time, I’m going to do it a little bit differently.  After another one of my “I haven’t gotten any sleep in the last 48 hours” Epiphanies, I realized that I can actually pinpoint the times my life took a direction I wasn’t expecting.  The first 17 years of my life aren’t going to be discussed here . . . mostly because I’m lazy.

All Denim Outfit . . .No One Loved me.

All Denim Outfit . . .No One Loved me.

The University of Dayton

No, we start with my first step into adulthood.  The moment I decided I was GROWN! I stood at the West Bloomfield post office, mailed that acceptance letter, and that was all she wrote! I was going to be the female Bill Gates, and change the world of computers.  *Mind you, I didn’t visit the school, didn’t know what it looked like, they just gave me the most money. So they won.* But I MUST admit, best decision I’ve ever made. The friends I made there, the people I met, the experiences I had . . . wouldn’t have had it any other way.  University of Dayton lead me to Zeta, and my Degree in Education (more on that later), my closest friends, love, hurt, fear, anger, and most importantly – Understanding of Myself.  On May 3, 2003, I graduated knowing EXACTLY who I wanted to be.

13 Years Ago . . .

14 Years Ago . . .

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

It SHOULD be common knowledge that Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. is the Greatest Sorority in the Nation.  But if you didn’t know, now you know, sucka! I joined ZPhiB because I wanted to be the kind of woman ZPhiB represented.  What I didn’t expect, could have never imagined, was the Family.  The Women I call Sister, not just Soror. The two women who grew up right beside me.  Who dealt with my Sophomore Year Depression, who dried my tears, and had numerous sleepovers with me.  The Women who taught me how to create a Programme, and put on a Dove Ball, and STEP.

Ryders of the Storm

Ryders of the Storm

Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.

Even more unexpected (and judge this next statement if you want) The Men I Call Brother. R.O.T.S changed my life. Not just because LeRoy was the scariest dude I had ever met in my life, but because they PROTECTED us.  From Greek Life Bullshit, and everyday Bullshit.  They knew how Naive we were, and they shielded us from so much more than we ever knew.  The Blu Bond is so sacred to me, and is still very much prevalent in my life. What I’ve learned, and cherished the most in these 14 years, is that Family can come out of nowhere.  These 3 Men, will forever be referred to as my Brothers, not my Frat.

2nd Best Kitchen I've Ever Had

2nd Best Kitchen I’ve Ever Had

My First Apartment

Having my own place was so freeing! I FINALLY had my own space.  I didn’t have to fear my mom randomly knocking on my door. You mean I can have HOUSE PARTIES. Kait and I entered in that adventure with the best of intentions.  We were going to be the only Best Friends that moved in together and didn’t hate each other.  The Road to Hell is paved with Good Intentions… The loss of that Friendship shook me to my core.  Not because I had known her forever, or because it was unexpected. But I saw that for the first time Money and Friends should NEVER mix.  We weren’t fighting over anything emotional, it was about her breaking her lease. *To move in with the man she eventually married but still…* Add to that, I spent 3 months without a JOB! As my support system from age 13 to 24 was leaving me high and dry rent wise, I had no idea what I was going to do.  Moving home wasn’t an option. So I began to hustle.  I had 3 part time jobs, 2 that were under the table (gotta collect that unemployment), and I babysat whenever I could.  I learned then, I’ll never be unemployed.  Because the Hustle is STRONG within me. I worked my way out of that rut, got a porn star roommate – no really, she did Porn – and Lived It The Fcuk Up.

These Two Ladies Saved My Life . . .

These Two Ladies Saved My Life . . .

The Triad

Words can’t even . . . The Triad is the Polyamorous Relationship everyone wish they had.  These two Women showed me what Friendship is supposed to be.  No Judgements, No Fear, No Regrets.  You live your life, you learn from the pain, and You Move On.  Diamond and Aaliyah were my anchors in the storm that was my early to mid 20’s. We Drank, (they) Smoked, and we Loved HARD. The nights/weekends/days we spent laying on someone’s floor crying and bitching about Men and Women! The Ex’s that we still talk to, the tradition of emailing each other all day, the Wearing White in public the day after Labor Day.

The children, and road-trips, and music that happened from 2005-2007. I don’t even talk to them every month. Doesn’t matter, the minute we are on the phone it’s like nothing has ever changed.  I’m my true self with them.  Not the woman I wanted to be post Graduation, but somehow better. Nothing seemed out of reach, everything was a great idea.  If later I found out it wasn’t, didn’t matter. We Laugh/Drink/Cry about, and Move The Fuck On.

To See a Mountain is to See God

To See a Mountain is to See God

Moving to AZ

And I did . . .right to Arizona.  With intentions of going back to school, and getting my teaching certification.  I was gonna fix my relationship with my Dad, so I could finally get rid of those Daddy Issues, and find love . . . Arizona started out as a peaceful place to me.   Instead of teaching children, I found a job teaching Teachers how to teach Children. I found my professional voice in AZ. In Michigan, I’m surrounded by family and friends who discount my knowledge of children because I don’t have any of my own. In Arizona, people assumed I was an expert. Took a little while to realize I actually kind of am. My love for children was confirmed there.  My life path was made certain.  Arizona was everything I didn’t know I wanted.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, I thought I had also found the man I was going to spend the rest of my life with.

 

The Mexican

me and eric

Loving you is the best thing that ever happened to me.  It’s also the worst.  You changed me, turned me into a person I didn’t even know I could be, or wanted to be.  The last thing you said to me, in anger, was “You are just a faint memory. I’ve almost forgotten you existed.”  Even with that much hate in your voice, I remembered when it was beautiful.  When the love I saw in your eyes made every day worth living.  If I never see your face, and never hear your voice again, I Loved You.   In a way I had only read about in romance novels and Donny Hathaway songs.  For everything losing you took away, it gave me twice as much.  So for that, I saw Thank You. For showing me who my true friends are, and because you helped me stop hiding behind my weight. You were Loved Sir.

When I think of Home

My Mommy and Me

My Mommy and Me

I left AZ because I was devastated and I couldn’t be there.  Up until the point, the House I Bought was the Reason He Wasn’t There. Everything about my house reminded me of a loss I still can’t began to describe.  Emotionally, I was a 17 year old girl who had lost her 1st Love. I needed my Mommy.  I’m okay with admitting that.  I needed a break from those last 18 months.  My Mother Saved Me. I’m just glad I was Woman enough to admit I needed to be Saved. What I didn’t know is that I had been in a Domestic Violence relationship, and I needed to understand and forgive myself for letting it happen in the first place.

The Job I got once I moved back to Michigan healed me. I took the job thinking it would be just another opportunity to help children.  I was part of a team that worked everyday to save lives.  We worded to heal people who have been hurt/violated by people they love. We educate women (and men) about Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.  My clients, these brave and frustrating women taught me so much about how Trauma follows you your whole life if you don’t address it. My job taught me Accountability.  Owning up to the choices I’ve made in my life and their impact on me and others. My co-workers brought back my happy. In the completely emotionally damaged world we work, I smiled more than I cried. I looked forward to seeing them, and hopefully they felt the same about me.  We are a Strange Group of People, those of us who choose to do Social work, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I have to take a second to shoutout TIITC.  Never shall he be named, but he helped me realize that not all men are assholes.  He found me beautiful at my ugliest, and he let me cry on his couch when my Nephew died.  I wouldn’t have made it without him.  Thanks TIITC, you are loved as well 🙂

Finally, MJ has come BACK to 3013!

Finally, MJ has come BACK to 3013!

Which leads me back . . . to Arizona. Somewhere in the 4 years I lived there, it became Home.  I felt displaced in Michigan. I didn’t have my own space, I couldn’t live the life I wanted there.  I now crave warm weather, and mountains. I want two dogs in my backyard and Sundays at Mt. Lemmon.  I want Holiday dinners at 4 different houses with at least 3 different cultures represented.  I want to be called Aunt Marisa and ‘ARisa and Mz. Joy by children playing in my front yard. It’s time for me to stop licking healed wounds.  I’m finally stronger than that Pain. I leave you with an Eminem Lyric that perfectly illustrates my current mindset…

 But you won’t break me, You’ll just make me,

Stronger than I was, Before I met you

 I bet you I’ll be just fine without you

And if I stumble, I won’t crumble

I’ll get back up and I….

And I’mma still be humble, When I scream fuck you

Cause I’m stronger than I was – Marshall Mathers

 

Free Write: This is My Temporary Home/Fix You

So, I’ve been in Arizona for about 6 weeks.  The move was frantic, but the energy it required to move back was enough to keep me distracted.  Getting settled and job hunting has taken a while.  I’ve kept myself busy.  Purposefully, it seems.  The first time I saw this house, I knew it was for me.  It had everything I’d ever wanted for myself.  I prayed for this house every day, until I put in my offer. This was MY house, I wanted it for me.  I was only thinking about me when I saw it.  People say all the time, make plans . . . then listen to God laugh at them.

Somewhere along the way, this House lost it’s luster.  I’d be stupid to say, I don’t know the exact moment that happened.  But even acknowledging that an ‘entity’ had the power . . . nay, I gave an ‘entity’ the power to take that away from me . . . is disgusting.  I ran away from home, that’s what moving back to Michigan was.  I told me truth to very few people, because it was embarrassing to me.  But, God and Ernestine helped heal me.  I stopped judging myself, and blaming myself for everything that had happened in the past 3 years.

I was able to forgive myself for the part I played, and the choices I made that lead me to where I was – cowering like an abused puppy in Michigan.  But along the way, I lost one of my Best Friends.  Forgiving myself meant I had to place the rest of the blame on all parties, and them not acknowledging their part was a deal breaker for me.

This new me, that Haven built, holds people accountable.  Its a huge disappointment to me that I lost the one person who I could share my secret hidden thoughts.  There was no {to my knowledge} hidden agenda, jealousy, or lies.  My most outrageous thoughts were heard without me being told they were wrong.  There is something freeing about that.  I don’t have that many female friends who don’t judge me, or preach to/at me, or want to lead me down a different path.

I miss that freedom.  I miss the days when I didn’t think my words were going to be used against me.  The betrayal I feel, isn’t because she ‘chose’ him over me, it comes from the feeling that everything else in our friendship might have been a lie.  Every thought I shared with her about him, things I couldn’t say to his face {and there wasn’t much} he ended up knowing.  He used that knowledge, those secrets to break me.  She helped him.  And for what? Feeling that a man is more important than a friendship . . . it’s alot.

I thought I was ready to be back here, in this house that had begun to feel like an Island I had been exiled to as punishment.  The majority of my friends live at least 200 miles from me.  The one person I want/need is too far away.  Maybe that’s whats wrong.  I’d gotten entirely too used to having access to people who made me happy.  I can’t call TIITC and say lets go to dinner, and I can’t text The Boy and ask What’s the Haps.  I can’t go stalk Astacia at Jimmy Johns . . . It’s lonely starting all over again.

The worst part is, I haven’t been idle.  I’ve been reading, and discovering new truths about myself.  It hasn’t been all bad.  In fact, it’s been kind of awesome.  But on a night like tonight, I wish I could dial her number, and give her all my secrets. And I can’t . . . and that makes me hate her all over again.  It’s been worse though, this feeling.  So I know it’s going to get better.

Tears Stream . . . down your face
When you Lose something you can not replace.
Tears Stream . . . down your face

Lights with Guide You Home,
And Ignite your bones,
And I will Try . . . To Fix you.

Tomorrow is another day, a day to look into the sun, and feel the warmth that is Arizona. Because this is MY HOUSE, and if it takes a few for weeks, and a few more thousand dollars to make it feel as such, so be it.