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.

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

Rules For Your Daughter To Be The Fearless Woman You Hope You Have Raised.

If I could leave you with one thing it would be…

  1. 1) If you ever have doubt in yourself, just remember YOU ARE ENOUGH. No one can make you feel any less than without your permission. Not even yourself.

2) Don’t forget to PRAY. Have that conversation with God. He is there for you and he wants to always be there for you. Rather life is hard or not, lay what’s on your heart at his feet and pray.

3) Stay calm during job interviews. Smile, but not like an idiot. Wear something comfortable, but professional. DON’T CHEW GUM. Be lighthearted, easy for them to talk to, and don’t forget to breathe. Employers can see right through you!

  1. 4) When you find yourself lost in this world or in its web, you can ALWAYS COME HOME. There are times in your life you will feel lost or maybe ashamed of where you are at in life. I promise you that nothing can prevent you from coming back home.

5) NO ONE CAN PROMISE YOU THE WORLD. Only you can achieve that and hope to God you find someone along the way to be by your side.

6) LIFE IS HARD, but you can’t give up. Keep on keeping on! My granddaddy once said, “The best things in life are the hardest to get. If it comes easy, you better run the other way.”

7) If you find a shirt you like, BUY EVERY COLOR! The older you get, it gets a little harder to either find your size or shape in a shirt. Grab them all!

8) You will make friends throughout your life, but the older you get you will only have a few true friends that stuck it out with you. DON’T TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THOSE FRIENDSHIPS. Those are the friends that will be with you ’til the end.

7) DONT FORGET TO CALL YOUR GRANDMOTHER. You are lucky to have a grandma that loves you and a relationship with her. Yes, she is aggravating. Yes, she has her ways. But she loves you. So for the sake of us both, don’t forget to call her!

8) This one is important. STAY ACTIVE in some shape or form. Rather it’s at the gym, running or hiking on trails, or if you are still doing Maui Tai. If you stay active, your body will be healthy, therefore your mind will stay strong. It will help you stay stress-free and less depress when things are not going your way.

9) The older you get, you’ll see different versions of yourself. Not only in personality, but also in style and way of thinking. Nothing wrong with that! Let your limbs grow wherever they need be, but KEEP YOUR ROOTS FIRM in the ground. Don’t lose the essence of you.

10) GO ON DATES! Have fun. Be youthful. It doesn’t have to be all about sexual things. Go to the beach, go exploring, play pool, go to a football game even if you don’t like it, try sushi. Just enjoy being young and enjoy life in every aspect.

11) I believe it’s important to experience different cultures and places so you can appreciate what you have. Learn different languages, try different foods, take lots of pictures, and embrace your surroundings. So, TRAVEL AS MUCH AS YOU CAN.

12) If and when life hits you hard, it’s ok to stay inside and cry. You don’t even have to change clothes or take a shower. Find a movie, have junk food, put your phone on silent, and just be. CRY YOUR HEART OUT my angel, but call your mom first!

13) After you cry and get some of it out, PULL YOUR BIG GIRL PANTIES UP and get moving. Not saying you still can’t mope, but you don’t want to get stuck there. Hard to pull yourself out of it when you’re stuck.

14) Spend the money on a really good beautician and esthetician. It’s worth it. Consider it like going on a mini-vacation. You sit there and enjoy being pampered. And yes, those eyebrows need it. And yes, those curls will be difficult at times. INVEST IN YOURSELF!

15) GET A PET. Your dog now won’t be around forever and when he’s not I know your heart is going to break. Having a pet teaches your not only responsibilities but unconditional love. It will soften you and bring joy to your life. You will always have a friend and never be alone.

16) Never, ever forget who you are. YOU ARE MY DAUGHTER. You are strong, smart, funny, witty, loved, and unbreakable. You can have cracks, but you won’t break.

What rules would you leave for your daughter or son?