My Constant Companion, The Darkness.

The big ‘D’ word no-one wants to hear about, and yet we all fight the same battle just in different forms… meet Depression.

It feels like you’re numb all over.

One of the best ways for me to describe how I feel when my good ‘ol friend depression comes to visit me is numb. It’s the oddest feeling. My whole body is numb, but my brain feels fizzy. It’s like when you eat pop rocks. You can feel and hear the fizzy sensation/noise that it makes in your mouth. Now imagine all of that going on inside your mind.

I call my depression The Darkness. When I feel it creeping up I try and get ahead of the game: I buy groceries, wash up all the clothes, clean the house, wash my hair, shave my legs, everything I can think of that I know without a doubt I’m not going to want to do. The Darkness and I are old friends so I know how it plays out, or how it usually plays out. It never fails. You can’t stop it.

Once, a couple of years ago, he hung around for 2-3 weeks. That first week I remember sitting on my couch looking down at the floor. I glanced over at the clock and it was 11 am. When I “blinked” it was 3 pm that fast. I have literally been staring at the floor for 4 hours and I didn’t even realize it. It was as if I blacked out and time was never a factor. I had errands to do and responsibilities to uphold. The Darkness didn’t care.

Before 2020 I could work out harder, increase supplements and water intake, or schedule some days off the go somewhere. All those steps helped me build up my weaponry to fight The Darkness. And it worked… a lot!

But than 2020 happened.

And not just the ‘world is ending’ part. I sold my business, moved from the South to the North for a relationship, adjusting to the relationship and lifestyle (and the weather), stepdad passed away, trying to help run the family business without him AND being 700 miles away, raising a teen, and with all that going I found out that I couldn’t transfer over my massage licenses to my new state. My career, my livelihood, the essence of me, and everything I worked hard and sacrifice for, gone.

That’s where my old friend comes into play. I was able to defeat him up to the point of me not being able to massage. Then he got me. I folded like a delicate, old piece of paper. So here I am. Faking the smile, going with the flow, wishing, and regretting things. I know The Darkness will get bored and let me loose again, but this time it will take a part of me with him. And I am afraid that part is not recoverable. We’ve been friends for 22 years if not longer. I have defeated him, but never got rid of him. Thanks for another one 2020.

Until next time my constant companion.

Things To Be Thankful For In 2020

No matter which pieces of your life that 2020 has taken away, there is always something to be thankful for

  • After the loss of my stepfather this year, I am more thankful for my family than anything. When you have someone who was considered a pillar in your family taken from you it makes it a little harder for a family to continue to stay close. I am thankful that we fought, argued, cried, laughed, and grew as a family together. We as a family continue to honor my stepfather through how we handle our ups and downs. He would not allow us to “act any less”. For that, I am thankful.
  • I am thankful for nature. There is something therapeutic about the world around us and the act of discovering nature. Rather if you are taking a weekend hike or a Sunday drive, the scenery that surrounds you is truly breathtaking if you take a moment to allow yourself to breathe it in. It reminds you that there are still things in this world that are pure and untouched. There are things that still hold value and worth escaping to. It reminds you that there is more to life than the everyday stressors that we have become accustomed to. I am thankful for the constant reminder that nature continues to provide us.
  • I am thankful for my faith. My faith has been my constant companion during life’s hardest and brightest moments. My faith has kept me going and believing that there is something ‘just over the mountain’ and to not stop working towards it no matter what is happening around me. My faith has kept me from stressing over things that I cannot change that seems to consume and torment others. My faith has kept me grounded especially during these troublesome times 2020 has dished out. Without my faith, I would have fallen deeper into the dark areas of my mind.
  • I am undoubtedly thankful for my daughter. She has been – on more than one occasion- my pillar to stand on. I am thankful that God has allowed me to be her mother. I am thankful for her sense of humor, view on life, her contagious laugh, and her ability to know when I just need a hug. She has pushed me harder to be the best version of myself without ever knowing it; to never settle for less than. I am thankful for my daughter.

2020 has not been fair to any of us. It has taken more away from us than we can imagine. Not only has it taken pieces of our life away, but it has also given us a gift. It has given us a gift of true self-discovery that without the quarantine, we would have never taken the chance to have. I am thankful for this crazy year and Thanksgiving, what are you thankful for?

Thank You To The Men In My Life!

A shot out to the manly men in my life who never made it a dull moment.

PAPI:

Thank you for being the first man to ever love me. To show me what it means to be loved and respected as a girl first and then as a woman. Thank you for being a no-nonsense kind of man. You meant what you said and said what you meant. Thank you for showing me how to fish, even if you got mad when I caught bigger fish than you. Thank you for letting me be a tomboy and getting dirty.

Thank you for showing me what empathy and gentleness from a man’s hand look like. Thank you for teaching me to be proud of my name because it’s a strong name. It’s my family’s name and the name of my grandmother. Thank you for also showing me what tolerance is. Having English as a second language was hard for you because of the ignorance other people had shown you. You stood tall and I thank you for showing me that. Thank you, most importantly, for being an amazing grandfather. Your love for her is remarkable, but I’m not surprised. I love more than you’ll ever know.

STEPDAD:

To the man who taught me what a man’s man REALLY is. They don’t make ’em like you anymore. You taught me that if you get hurt, you wipe it off and keep ongoing. Thank you for that. Thank you for making me work with my hands. It showed me what I am capable of doing, but also how to take care of things when I need to. You taught me not to rely on anyone. Thank you for being tough on me. You knew I needed that upbringing. I needed that Southern, hard to the core, no time for mess upbringing.

Thank you for showing discipline. Thank you for 22 years in the Army. You fought for me. Thank you for the unwanted mansplaining about my boyfriends growing up. What can I say? You were right. Thank you for showing me where ‘sympathy’ is located in the dictionary, which is between ‘sh*t’ and ‘syphilis’. When I start feeling sorry for myself and want to mope, I would think of that then laugh. Thank you for loving kids who aren’t yours, and thank you for being a grand-grands. You allowed her to show you what a granddaughter’s love and grace can do to an old man like you. Your granddaughter loves you and your stepdaughter misses you.

BROTHER IN-LAW:

Thank you for showing me that a man can be both patient and kind as well as rough and tough. Through you, I learn how most of life’s hardest moments can be softened with laughter. Thank you for seeing me grow from age 12 to now and wanting to still be my friend. Thank you for sometimes being that soundboard and believing in me when I had goals to reach. Thank you for our relationship.

I thank you the most for loving my sister. She is my world. You raised the bar on what a husband should be. I thank you for that. Thank you for being the best father to my nephews. Because of you, they are the men they are today and I know you wouldn’t settle for less. You showed them how a man is supposed to love, treat, and talk to a woman through your relationship with my sister. Thank you for being an amazing uncle. There is no one in this world like her uncle. And now, thank you for being the best granddad to your granddaughter. You are truly one of a kind man.

IN LOVING MEMORY, bILL-MY STEPDAD

Mornings With My Mama: Cup of Coffee and Unwanted Advice

Having a typical cup of coffee had to be reinvented for my mama and I, but her Southern advice is still painfully the same!

“You just have to let it go like water on a ducks back.”

Mama

If I wanted to talk to my mama now, I would have to call her. But before I moved out of state, I would go see my mama. She would either have sweet tea or a pot of coffee ready to drink along with a ‘plate of food’ to eat. Our conversations would start with laughter, but always ended with her giving (not offering) some sort of unwanted advice.

And she never failed at delivering!

One morning while I was visiting her I was explaining how upset I got by what someone had said a few days prior. This person and I were discussing the differences in our upbringing. She was from the North and an only child. She doesn’t like sweet tea, used words like ‘pop’, and wasn’t really close with their aunts/uncles/cousins. The idea was never really pushed on her to have that type of relationship with them.

That blew my mind!

I have both a sister and a brother, and I literally have over 25 immediate aunts and uncles. Most of them I have spent summers with and saw them frequently. We have family reunions once a year on my mama’s side. And what is pop? It’s called coke all day long. And sweet tea is a must in the South. If you don’t like it, something is wrong with you as a person according to ‘Southern logic’ 😊.

I was enjoying the conversation comparing and contrasting, and laughing about our differences until she said- “I guess it’s true about you guys being slow. It’s taking us 30-minutes to have a 10-minute conversation”- came out.

Say what again?!

Now, before I continue I think it’s important to note that I am half Native American and Puerto Rican. My mother is Lumbee from NC and my father is from Puerto Rico. I’m also an Army brat. So when she made that comment, I instantly felt my Lumbee-Rican blood BOIL. As I’m telling my mama this story and what happened next…

My mama laughed, hard!

Everything just stopped and all I could do is stare at this woman. What is happening right now? Is she laughing?

” Mama! What’s so funny?! “

” Nothin’. Keep going “- now she’s just smiling.

” Mama, It’s not funny. Did you hear what I said she said? “

” Yep. ” She starts laughing again.” She’s got a point though. “

My mouth dropped. All I could think was ‘of course my mama would not only laugh, but agree with what was said.’ I started shaking my head because, at this point, I don’t even want to finish the story. I’m upset! So I walked to the kitchen to put my cup of coffee in the sink, grabbed a glass of sweet tea instead, and sat back down on the sofa. It definitely turned into a sweet tea kind-of-conversation.

” Now Metia. ” (Mee-tah) is a nickname my mama calls me.

” No mama. You didn’t even let me finish my story. How are you going to laugh and then say ‘she has a point’? “

” I know. I’m sorry. Finish your story .”

” I don’t want to now! ” At this point, I was feeling like a whiny teenager who didn’t get her way, but my mama was letting me play the part so I kept it up.

” I can’t believe you said that. She was in the wrong and she took it to the next level. She didn’t even smile or laugh after she said that, so I know she was serious. All we were talking about was the differences in upbringing and the North vs the South. Then she had to say what she said! “

At this point my mama is sitting all the way back in her chair with her long legs crossed over each other, tapping her coffee cup with her fingernails, staring at me patiently listening.

I stopped talking.

You see, at 35 yrs. old I’ve recognized that body language and that silence. We’ve had many conversations similar to this one for as long as I could remember. Sometimes it follows with the conversation being agreeable on both sides, sometimes with it turning intense, and one time with me just leaving her house-ok, maybe a couple of times with me leaving. So I waited in the awkward silence

” You done? “

” Yeah-Yes ma’am.”

” You feel better now? “

” I feel better. ”

” Can I talk now? “- This women is relentless. Playing that guilt card like a pro.

” Yes ma’am. “

” All I said is that she had a point. I didn’t say she was right. You sitting over there a huffin’ and a puffin’, getting yourself more worked up over nothin’. Sometimes Metia, you just have to let things go like water on a ducks back. “

You see, I knew what my mama meant. I have grown up on ‘Southern logic’. It’s advice that isn’t over-explained, isn’t overly complicated, and a lot of the time not direct. It can leave you pondering and asking yourself, come again?

My mama is full of advice like that. The thing about advice like that though; It always makes sense at the end and 9/10 times it’s exactly what you needed to hear. You just didn’t realize it yet. Oh, and you won’t forget it either!

” Just let it go and keep on going. You ever considered that she didn’t realize what she was sayin’? That for her a 30-minute conversation could have been a waste of time since you guys were at work compared to a 10 minute one? “

” No, I didn’t think of it like that. “

” Well, it ain’t her fault darlin’. Sounds like she just doesn’t know how to have a decent conversation. You know, with her being by herself her whole life. Ain’t her fault she’s a boring person, ” Than my mama proceeds to take a sip of her coffee.

And just like that, my mama had me laughing so hard that I forgot I was ever upset in the first place! After that, we both laughed and kept on going to the next topic of conversation. It’s never a dull moment with that woman. When you think you know what is about to be said or happen next, she turns the table on you.

I miss visiting with my mama whenever I wanted to, but I am so thankful for technology. She’s never a phone call or video chat away. I got to say that I may miss her Southern logic as well.

Leave a comment and tell me what advice did your parents give you?


12 Ways to Selfishly be Positive Without Feeling Guilty.

The only thing to feel guilty about is not putting yourself first!

1. When you are tired, stressed, and don’t want to do a task… SAY NO! One simple, freeing, yet powerful word.

2. When no one is around, EAT THAT LAST PIECE OF CHOCOLATE. Actually, just go ahead and eat that piece of chocolate anyway.

3. CUT YOUR HAIR SHORT. Despite yourself or whomever else thinks that you can’t pull it off, yes you can. Be brave and bold with the new you!

4. BUY THAT DRESS. It fits you like a glove and hugs your curves just right. You deserve it and you know it.

5. When you walk into the kitchen and the sink is full of dishes, keep on walking. WASH THE DISHES TOMORROW.

6. TAKE AN EXTRA 30 MINS for yourself in the bathtub. Use all the hot water on yourself with zero remorse.

7. TURN THE MUSIC UP. Who cares who hears it? Not like you blast it every day anyway. Turn it up and enjoy your favorite music.

8. DON’T ANSWER THAT CALL. Just because “they” are calling you, doesn’t mean you have to answer right now. That’s why you have voicemail.

9. You know that you have a Target addiction and girl I don’t blame you! So BUY YOURSELF THAT PURSE you’ve been eyeing.

10. Every time you think of it, it puts a smile on your face and fills your heart with joy. GET THAT TATTOO just for you!

11. DON’T SHARE YOUR SODA! Enjoy every last drop of goodness without the kids, husband, and even the dogs.

12. ORDER THAT STEAK. Tonight is the night that the prices don’t matter. Tonight is just about you!

There is nothing wrong with being selfish a time or two. Especially when it’s done to boost your self-confidence, self-esteem, or to make your world a little brighter. Most importantly, don’t forget to put yourself first. You are important too. In what ways would you be selfishly-positive?