Friday, October 11, 2019

Optimistic

I'm still laying low on a lot of fronts, although I've managed to slink on out of my house for a few different engagements during the past couple of weeks. I'm trying to play things close to the chest (which is kind of ironic, considering that all of my damned business is here online). But I'm sensing a shift that I am genuinely happy about. Its been a while that I was purely optimistic, but here I am. It's a nice feeling, I must admit.
My  new office is definitely a nice fit. I'd actually been applying for new jobs at the time that I was transferred, and I'd had an interview elsewhere on my second day at my new site. I ended up not getting that job, and I'm really okay with it. I'm rather partial to my new site and I feel that this change was just what The Universe ordered.
My son is healthy, my spirit is at ease, I'm slowly building up my savings, and I'm enjoying my new job responsibilities and clients. Damn, is this really my life? About time!

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Decompression

Last week was one for the history books. I changed offices and was transferred to a new site, meaning new clients and new coworkers that I'd be working closely with, followed by a high school classmate's funeral. I learned that a cousin I'd met only a few years ago died, and thoughts of Pete started circling when Ted and I got into it. Then I had to help with a friend's fundraiser, an event I'd been helping to plan for the last 2 months, followed by my childhood friend's wedding. In the midst of all of that Ted and I ended things. Like ended them, ended them. Like it's over. No more sex for us.  I'm actually okay with us being over though. I only wanted things to continue if it would go a way that made me happy. It didn't. So I'm okay with it being over. It was all just a lot to process in just one week. By Saturday morning, I was exhausted.
With a week like that, I already knew that I'd need to recuperate heavily. I didn't want to go anywhere. I just wanted to focus. I wanted to process everything I'd been through.What did it all mean? After 2017 was one proverbial pimp slap after another, 2018 offered much-needed relief and growth. Shit, 2019 has been pretty kick ass too. So I guess I'm maturing a bit, but I felt that considering that the last two years have been pretty spectacular, a week of heavy lifting and shifting was the least I could stand.
Saturday and Sunday, I simply stayed home and cleaned my apartment. And thanks to the wonderful ADHD medication I'm taking, I was able to get it done with no problems. I didn't just clean one or two rooms either, I cleaned the whole damned 2 bedroom apartment, bathroom, and kitchen included, and even cleaned out my car! I know that for most people, such simple tasks are hardly deserving of a hand clap, but after living with a genuine inability to focus for so long, I had made peace with the fact that I'd have to hire people to clean my apartment for me. Being able to do it on my own (and do it well) is kind of a big deal.
So here I am, into Thursday of the following week, and I'm still laying low. I dunno, I guess I'm just tired. I give so much of myself to so many people, that I'm ready to reign it all in. One of the things that kinda sucks about being social is that I get invited to many places, and people get genuinely offended when I can't make it. The name Malika happens to mean queen, and I take that title and role seriously. Sometimes as a royal leader, you have to show up and support, because when you wear the crown, your support means the world to people. I still act up on Facebook on the rare occasion, but while I was posting 4 or 5 times a day before, I'm scaling back. I even had a hard look at my time with new semi-bae, Justin, and decided that it ain't worth it and I'm scaling back on him too. I feel like he just wasn't available to give me what I need and I don't feeling like settling anymore.
I told myself that after last week, I'd take a few weeks to rest and decompress, but I'm considering taking the rest of the year to do so. Sure, I may still hit the occasional party or night club, but I intend to pull myself back in. My plan is to only give my time to the people that really need it (on occasion), my closest loved ones, or men that really give me the kind of attention that I seek. I'm fucking done with place holders and men that only fetishize me because I'm funny and have a ton of sexual energy. If a guy isn't into my mind and my spirit, then I really don't have a damned thing for him.
So there I am, setting and shifting into a new space. Figuring out my goals and future plans, establishing and setting goals, and turning down to enjoy myself. Perhaps it's the changing of the seasons, with this cooler weather, or just getting older (OMG, I'll be 40 in less than a year!), and starting to focus more on my money and sustaining myself and my son long term. Time to go internal, reflect, decompress, and refocus. I'm okay with that.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Fireflies

Last weekend was one for the history books. One of my best friends since middle school is getting married and we celebrated the bachelorette like only we could. Pole dancing classes, out to eat, and other stuff that I'm not allowed to disclose. But it was #Epic

While out, I happened to be seated at a table with 5 other women, all of them married. And then there was me. I've somehow become the Samantha of the group. The one with the wild sex life and stories. The one with the dirty jokes. The one who bats her eyes and enjoys romps in the hay with men whom a lot of women would feel are unattainable. And I enjoy it. A lot, actually.

But I'd be lying if I said that there aren't times that I want more of an attachment. Enter Ted. Again. Ted and I are doing pretty well. I freaking love that man with all of my heart. So many men love me and want me, but they don't know what it takes to make me and keep me happy.

I was thinking earlier today about how when I was a kid (before this pollution and shit), we'd collect fireflies. We'd often keep them in jars. If we didn't poke holes in the jar, they'd be dead by morning. If we did poke a few holes, the fireflies might live a bit longer, but ultimately, they still died. Those fireflies needed to be free. They needed to be admired for what they were, with the faith that they'd return. And they always did. They didn't need or want to be in jars. That is me.
Men love me, they want to control me, they want to harness me, they want me for themselves. But you can't do that to Malika if you want her to be happy. You have to be okay with sharing her with the world and know that at the end of the day, she'll return. And that's one of the reasons I love Ted as much as I do. He doesn't trip about me seeing, crushing on, or wanting other men. He works in my field and gives outstanding career advice. He supports me when I'm being a spaz, and knows how to tell me to reign it in (when I need it). I can call him day or night if I'm in a crunch. If he sees something out of sorts on Facebook, he immediately calls me to check in and make sure I'm okay. When I had my car accident and was stuttering profusely, he assured me that I'd be okay. He knows what a mess I am, and he's still here, my rock.

I saw him recently, and said to him "I love you." He fucking winced. Really?! Dude, we're over 4 years in. You love me. I know you do. And truthfully, I wouldn't change shit about us. I love who, what, and how we are and I told him that. His response was, "well, if this is perfect, why change it?" And honestly, he had a stellar point. The issue is that, yes, this is fucking perfect now. Nothing that I'd change about him or us. My issue again lands in "what about the future?" He recently said that he considers us "friends." Negro, really? *sigh*

He'd said previously that he sees a strong possibility of us spending our latter years together, by latter years, I mean as empty nesters, which we are both a few years away from. And he recently followed up with us being "friends." That's the shit I'm talking about. Where are we really heading? My fear is that I don't want to move forward, thinking we're going into the future together, and then he suddenly look at me like "what are YOU doing?" I don't want a fucking promise ring. I don't even know if I want a wedding ring. But after David and Fred, I don't want to look back at another decade that went by to only wonder what happened. My friend who happens to be getting married next week has been on and off with her (soon to be) husband for the last 20 years. Part of me is telling myself to stop being a fucking spaz and this shit play out how it wants. And maybe I should. Or not?

I don't need much. But I need to know that he sees me by his side. And him by my side. We're supposed to talk soon. All I know is that I don't want him to be with me because of an ultimatum. I want him to be with me because he loves me and sees my value in his life. I'm willing to move forward if needed. But I really don't want to. He feels like the one for me. But I guess, like all things, only time will tell.

Friday, September 6, 2019

JustIn Case I Need a Mirror

In true Malika fashion, I am enamored yet again. I met him around the way, and our attraction was instant, although I tried my damnedest to deny it and so did he. But just like with most men that I end up really being into, he has that wild streak that drives me. I'll call him Justin.

He's so good-looking. Impeccable body, gorgeous lips, smart as hell, driven, funny, always seems to know what to say and do. God, its nearly impossible not to be drawn to him. And despite him having it all together (or at least seeming to), he's oblivious to it. He had no damned clue he was good looking. Like, he knew he wasn't a ogre, but he had no damned clue that he's a real cutie. He told me recently that I spoke something up when he'd recently had two women hitting on him at one time. I responded by letting him know that he probably gets hit on all of the time and is probably oblivious to it.
He mentors children, is well-respected at his job, athletic, educated, and continues to be driven. And although I keep reminding myself not to get too attached (he's bae, but I know that this one ain't meant to be kept), I'm drawn to something. After some deep soul-searching, I realized what it is about him- he reminds me of myself. Although he's poised and by all accounts, a remarkable human being, he has a hard time seeing how fucking amazing he is. Damn, that sounds so familiar.

I've done good things in my life, and overcome a lot. It is so commonplace for me to hear my female friends tell me that they're living vicariously though me, which I'm okay with. Started a pantry, got my degree, traveling, living my life, have a sex life and history, that ain't too shabby, if I do say so myself. I have fucked men that are so beautiful, they could only be described as works of art, my son is freaking amazing, overcome emotionally abusive relationships, love myself incredibly and take care of myself like very few people ever do. But it never feels like enough. I'll be honest, I'm still running too. Looking for something or someone to validate that I've done good. That I'm smart enough, pretty enough, accomplished enough. Because I don't see it.

I guess I'll just enjoy Justin for who and what he is, while he's here. But its amazing to see myself from this side of things.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The Downside of Attraction

So I've been pretty honest with my struggles of my appearance, my weight, finally being accepted as "cute" all of that. But I'm not sure if I've really delved into the downside of attractive appearance. Some people would certainly be in their right to say "but you aren't that cute" and it would be hard for me to disagree with them. Whenever my female friends comment about the quality and frequency of men that are attracted to me, I assure them that my outgoing personality and sexual energy play a lot into it. But there is definitely a downside too.
For instance, I work with individuals who have mental illness, teaching life skills. Last week, I found myself in an awkward situation when one of my clients (who has a history of getting inappropriate with Staff) tried me. I kept my cool and alerted my supervisor about it immediately. I'm thankful that my supervisor offered me support in moving forward, but that wasn't exactly a situation that I'd enjoyed. Another client has a tendency to hover around me and I often have to redirect his eyes and his attention. I even had to button my shirt to the top button (it was a traditional button down, but the top two were undone) when I saw him trying to peek down my blouse when standing over me at my desk.

I let everyone know up front, I may suck at maintaining some boundaries, but the last damned thing I need is going to jail for getting inappropriate with clients. I have zero need and desire for it. As a matter of fact, just the other day I told my boss how I purposely avoid many of the clients in the drug and alcohol clinic side of my building, all because I'm aware of my sexual energy and poor boundaries and I don't want anyone to start anything or claim any funny business. Being attractive in my field can cost you your job and your peace of mind if you aren't careful.
I recall how a few years back, I'd lost 30 pounds. Lord, you couldn't tell me nothin! But the fact is that at the time, all I saw was my stomach that refused to shrink, despite the rest of me being obviously smaller. Men liked me more, granted, but none of them were serious with me, I just had more men wanted to fuck me. No wedding proposals, no actual dates, they just all wanted one thing. I thought that losing 30 pounds would change my life. The unfortunate truth is that I had all of the same problems, I was just skinnier. What a blow.

Another thing that sucks about being attractive is how much men will lie, cheat, and steal (even once I gained my weight back) just to get some ass. Its frustrating to think that I have a real thing with a guy, only to quickly realize that the only thing he wants is to bed me for a night. I also hate that people take one look at me and assume they know all about me or assume that I have nothing intelligent to bring to the table. Granted, I certainly have moments of being a ditz, but I'm far from stupid.

I've gotten to the point where I make sure that the people closest to me have good self esteem, because if they don't they'll eventually start to do some underhanded shit just to do me in. And I'll be honest, it hurts like hell when someone you thought was cheering you on was secretly not only hoping you'd fall, but you eventually find out they're the one that pushed you.

This goes for men too. Yes, I'm a flirt. But the fact is that when I'm serious about a man, I put him first. Now that I'm getting older and a bit more settled, I'd like a man who accepts that Malika is a social butterfly. Men always seem to love that about me in the beginning, but then they grow to resent me for knowing a lot of people and attracting male energy.
Don't get me wrong here, I'm not complaining. Being attractive has its perks, I get invited to parties, men like me back, I do great in job interviews, and people are naturally more comfortable with me. But much like a person with a lot of money, it also means that I have to watch my back a lot more than some other people. And I have enough shit to worry about as it is.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Shaking and Moving- Malika Today

Hello world! Hard to believe its been nearly a month since I last blogged. I wish I could say that I've completely gotten Fred out of my system, but I'd be lying. I unfriended him on all of my social media platforms. I had to. It was difficult as hell to look on Facebook and Instagram and see his face. I'd completely forgotten about some years ago, but he'd pulled this shit previously. I couldn't recall when or why, but I'd vaguely remembered a time when he called me and I was hella pissed. I could almost hear the lump in his through when he said "this is Fred."
But then it hit me. A few years back, he'd done the same thing. He disappeared. I couldn't figure it out. Just *poof* and he was gone. No responses, no nothing. I'd called our mutual friends to see if I'd done something, was he okay. No one knew anything, except that he seemed okay when they talked to him. And then as I finally started to move on with my life, he called me out of nowhere. I could tell that he knew he'd fucked up being gone so long. I heard it in his voice. He normally speaks with confidence, but at that moment, he was sheepish. Almost hat-in-hand.

And 3 years later, here we are again. I'd said earlier that our last blow up was nasty. But somehow in my spirit, I know he'll pop back up when he's ready. The only difference is that Malika from 3 years ago hadn't yet gone through the intense grieving/reflection period that Malika Today has. So Malika Today is a lot more focused on the future. Malika Today travels, and works, and studies for her licensure exams, and brunches and shit. I have examined this shit in and out and I know that I can do (and have done) way better than Fred. But here I am, temporarily allowing myself to remain stuck in this mental place. But I'll give myself credit today, because I'm recognizing that this is a temporary mental place that I am in and I will not remain here forever. I've learned that is the key. To take ownership of your feelings, and allow yourself to feel how you feel, but allow yourself to move forward as well. No staying stuck. So here I am, moving through this space.
Coincidentally, while I was visiting Los Angeles, my first day there, before Fred arrived to my hotel, I'd began began watching the show Mad Men on Netflix. I completely get why it was such a successful show. In the middle and toward the end of it there were moments of calm, set in California, depicted in the show, that could never happen in the ever-moving office environment of Sterling Cooper. And once I got home while still watching the show, I got it so much. California was beaches, warmth, relaxation. And if the planets aligned properly, I'd like to be there as well. I don't believe I talked about it on here, but while in Cali and visiting Yosemite National Park, I got really lost late at night and easily could have driven off a cliff, not because I wanted to, but because of those curvy roads and lack of street lights. It was a pretty frightening night for me, but despite it all, I'd like to return to Yosemite next year to go camping. This time I'd actually be prepared for it.
So yes, I'm planning to return to L.A. Fred doesn't know this, and I know its for the best. I have definitely done better. And I will continue to do so.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

New Season: My Story

I tend to think of my life in different seasons. Grad school was its own season. Grieving various friends and family have been their own seasons. Dating certain people. Some place I've lived and jobs I've had, seasons marked by various adventures in my life. And now here is another. Fred: The End.
I went on vacation last month. It was something else. Magical, even. I didn't expect him to call after our blow up, but Fred called me while I was in San Francisco, claiming that he wasn't mad, he was just busy. Bruh, I've known you for a decade, I know when you're avoiding me, but whatever. I was just glad to hear from him, especially since I'd already planned to be in Los Angeles the following day.

I arrived in L.A. and checked into a cozy little hotel in Koreatown. My new thing is that whenever I enter my new hotel is to strip naked. I had to get a parking pass for Fred and I was a bit shocked when I said to him that I had to put on clothes go let him in and his response was "don't worry about it." I should have known, but long-story-short, we enjoyed one another immensely.
Despite my itinerary calling for me to only stay in Los Angeles for a few days, being that I'm the one that made the itinerary to begin with, I essentially spent the rest of my vacation in L.A. with Fred. I couldn't help but to notice how heavily he slept, as if he really needed it. And I was glad to allow him that. He eventually told me that he'd been sleeping on a friend's couch. For the umpteenth time, I encouraged him to return to Atlanta. He responded that he is in Los Angeles to work on his acting goals. I reminded him that Atlanta is literally the best place to be to work on an acting career. He remained unmoved.

So rather than the 3 days I'd planned, I spent 6 days with him instead. My soul felt light and happy. My whole life seemed millions of miles away. It felt like we were one. But then that last day.

I'm not sure what happened. But the last morning, he raised his voice to me. I quickly checked that shit. I'm not going to let anyone yell at me. I was on edge, but I made it. We spent the afternoon running errands, and I decided to get a nice hotel for us to enjoy our final evening together. But we didn't make it. We got into it pretty bad. I damned near put him out of my car. I was shot. I was fucking done. After I dropped him off, I cooled a bit and texted him that despite it all, I didn't want him sleeping on a couch and to bring his ass to the hotel instead. He texted he might. He didn't.

I awoke the next morning and headed on to Yosemite National Park. The following day, I went home. Two days later he shot me a text apologizing for not checking in to make sure I'd made it home okay. I didn't know how to respond. I just sent him back a lot of pics that we'd taken together in L.A. I wanted him to have positive memories of us. Because we were winding down.
I knew it was over, but I couldn't shake it. I couldn't shake him or the idea of us. I knew that I could do better. The more I thought about Ted, the more I knew that he was the best fit for me. For God's sake, he sends me job listings (which I need), in addition to the fact that he truly cares. Ted checks in and if I'm having a bad day, he's the first to know. If things aren't going well for me, he actually wants to know so that he can help. I can't say any of those things for Fred.

It took a few days of straight kicks in the pants, but it finally hit home. Its done. And I'm okay with that. I'm in a good place in life. My son is good. I'm making plans. My health is good. It makes no sense to bog myself down with Fred and his egotistical bullshit. I'm good.

So moving on, I had a bit of a come to Jesus moment. I'm ready. I'm ready to tell my story. I've encountered my share of hits within the last few years, and its culminated into a strange tale of wins and losses, marked by interesting characters and movements. I'm ready to bring it forth. Let the games begin.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

(Possible) Ending/ (Potential) Beginning

So Fred is mad. Big mad. Over a decade of friendship and I've never seen him like this. Apparently he's still salty with me because of our little row a month ago. I mean, I get it. I said some stuff he didn't like. And I said it with an intention to cut him deep. Which I did.

But I've been on the receiving end of some rather sharp barbs from Fred and I was expected to smile and overlook it. I've never been apologized to for quite a few things he's said and done. But the one damned time I go there, he can't take it. I texted him to announce that I'd like for us to get some coffee and talk when I'm in L.A. in a couple of weeks. He read my text. No response. Damn, son.

I can't make him change his mind. I can't make him talk to me. And I'm damned sure not going to beg him, especially since I can't exactly say that we've put in the same amount of effort into our relationship to begin with.

Yesterday, I chopped it up with my homegirl, Jenny. Jenny is a lesbian who has been hanging on to this broad who is a parasite for way too long. Jenny recently found out that the same chick who has consistently had her hand held out is the same chick who has been married and dodging her.
So naturally, Jenny was crushed and angry with herself for not pulling the plug on this shitshow of a relationship a year ago. As I listened to Jenny rattling off about how fucked up this was, I did something I never thought I'd do. I erased Fred's phone number. Then I deleted all of our text messages.
We'd run our course. I love him. I'd be devastated if something happened to him. But Sky is right. We're no longer in the same place. I've evolved. I love the woman I am. I have goals and ambition. I'm looking straight ahead. I've been by Fred's side through his homelessness, his joblessness, his insecurities, alla dat. I've been verbally abused and humiliated by him, but I stuck by him and defended him, when everyone else saw what I didn't. And now he ain't picking up the phone?! Does he know who the fuck I am? Yeah, yo. I'm checking out on this one. I'm just going to pick a cute little motel in Laguna Beach in Cali, and unless the stars align for it to happen, I'm not going to see him. And that's okay.
So while Fred is taking a bow out, things with Ted have taken a surprising uptake. We gel so much more now. I went to see him the other night. I walked into his bedroom and was greeted with the Jill Scott Spotify station playing in the background. Four and a half years and I have NEVER walked into his home to find relaxing music playing. It was nice. It set a cozy mood. I told him that if anyone ever played me in a movie, I'd want it to be Jill Scott or possibly Queen Latifah. Ted stated "she's not sexy enough to play you." Keep it coming Ted, keep it coming.

I sat on the edge of his bed and immediately heard a crack, followed by his bed caving in. Ted then disassembled the rest of the bed and left only his mattress and box spring. It was such a small moment, but a cute, shared one. Afterwards Al Green's "Tired of Being Alone" came on the television. It was a perfect moment. Then we just kind of lay there on his bed, him reaching over and laying on my back. These moments are literally all I've wanted. This level of intimacy and affection.

I just remembered that Ted would not be okay with me sharing so much of him on my blog, so moving forward, I'll have to scale back how much I write about him. But before I end that I'll share that I recently downloaded some songs from Brandy's first album. One of my favorite songs from her has always been "Love is On My Side." And I've had that song on repeat in the whip lately, a small smile and glassy look in my eye. And by God, it may just be there after all.

Monday, June 10, 2019

All Roads Lead Back to Ted

Atlanta is small. Damned small. Jim was a classmate of mine at Clark who also happened to know Ted. Early on, it wasn't uncommon for Ted and I to fall out every 7 or 8 months. Every time it happened, I swore to myself that it was for good, but we always found our ways back to one another.

During one of our lulls, I was studying on a Friday night with Jim and another classmate. I'd confessed to Jim that I'd missed Ted, but after our last parting, I knew it was a wrap. Jim assured me that there was still a possibility and that Ted missed me too. I wasn't so confident. Jim admitted that he hadn't seen Ted around on campus and inquired aloud if he still worked at the school. My heart sank. On the outs or not, I certainly didn't want to hear that he wasn't doing well.

Jim encouraged me to contact Ted to see if he was okay. I wasn't as confident at Jim that it would be a good idea, but I just needed to know that if he was okay. I'd deleted his number after our last row, but I'd managed to find it deep in my old text messages. I sent a text essentially saying "hey are you still working at the school?" Ted responded saying that he was and asked what I'd heard. I just assured him that my friend hadn't seen him around and I want to make sure that he was good. And that was it.

I anticipated that he'd then end our text exchange and and go back to being salty about whatever it was we were pissed about. I went back to plugging away at my laptop, when suddenly he texted me back "so how have you been?" I lit up like a Christmas tree.
That exchange kind of sums up me and Ted's relationship. I'll own that our early problems stemmed in part from my neediness. We were kind of like dating, but not really. We were friends with benefits, I guess. But we were friends, nothing more. We didn't spend holidays together, he met my son and I met his son, but more as friends, not as "this is mom's new boyfriend." We also agreed to be open and date other people. But I wanted more. I wanted to travel, to go out, to date, to get out of the damned house! Ted? Not so much. Ted was happy just laying in bed, watching movies all weekend. It was good, but it didn't give me what I needed, so I continued to date other men, looking for something more substantial. And whenever me and whoever fell apart, I'd turn right back to Ted. But that was all before.

Ad nauseam, things changed tremendously for me when Pete died. Ted and I were actually on the outs during of my friendship with Pete and I'd talked earlier about how he hit me up roughly 6 months after Pete's death and I explained to him the major shift I'd just experienced.

I think Ted thought early on that I'd be willing to hop right back into where we were, but he soon saw just how raw I was and he respected it and gave me the time I needed. He and I got damned close to having sex twice but I just couldn't do it. But as time when on, I was ready and I wanted it be him. I had to have a drink to calm my nerves, but we did it. Ted was the first person I slept with after Pete's death. I remembered crying during the act. I wiped my eyes and tried to say that I cried because it was so good and I was in the moment. It was a lie. Don't get me wrong the sex was stellar, but that's not why I cried. And I think he new I was lying and let me have it anyway.
Pete's death changed how I viewed things. It forced me to look head on at things I'd previously ignored or taken for granted. It also caused me to look more at what I wanted out of life and relationships. For so long I'd flitted from casual relationship to casual relationship, but I started to want and demand more, but I'd also learned how to accept and meet people where they are. Those who were potentials, I kept around and allow things to flourish, those that aren't worthy, I quickly leave alone.

Ted and I haven't fallen out in the last two years because I've learned to accept him and meet him where he is, rather than expecting what he can't give. We talk a bit less now, but it doesn't bother me as much now and we're closer because of it. In our spending time together, we'd occasionally briefly dance around the idea of marriage (he once quickly said that he if he got married again, he'd have a Batman-themed wedding before quickly correcting himself). I was a bit surprised because he'd always been so against the idea of getting married again, but I shook it off and figured that if he ever got married, it wouldn't be me anyway, so *shrugs*
Despite us growing closer, I continued to look elsewhere for something substantial. I love my relationship with Ted, and cuddling in bed with him has slowly become far more intimate, but many of our early problems stemmed from my wanting more from him and I'd learned not to try to force it. I needed to find it elsewhere. As close as we were, I'd simply accepted that he was no longer "the one" for me.

A good friend of mine recently celebrated the high school graduation of her daughter. I showed up at the family gathering and felt so alone. I looked at the beautiful home that her mother shared with her boyfriend and I wanted that for myself one day. A nice-sized home, plenty of room for people to buzz around, lots of land, space for a garden. My married and engaged friends were so happy and it felt like another smack in the face that once again, I don't have a partner for these moments. I'd wished to myself that Ted would do these kinds of family gatherings, but that just isn't in him for us. Yes we cuddle and spoon after intimate moments, but he just wasn't that guy. Later on, I told Ted about the barbecue and how I wished he'd enjoyed things like that, but I knew it wasn't his cup of tea. Ted surprised me by saying that he'd have been willing to attend with me. Say what now? He explained that he doesn't like big crowds, but he'd be okay attending a small family outing with loved ones. Wow.

I've been considering getting a cabin in the woods and I have come across an advertisement for these cute little cabin pods in the woods. I took a real gamble and sent a picture of the pods to Ted and asked if he'd be willing to join me. To my utter shock, he said yes. My jaw hit the floor. This was the same dude that I had to practically beg to go out to eat nearly 3 years ago, and now he's open to spending a weekend in a cabin. Its almost like the less I expect, the more he gives.

As things have shifted, I've started to look for more. A partner. A life partner. Someone to grow old with. Someone to make decisions with. Someone to cuddle with. Someone to come home to. And God knows I've tried. I laid out a psychological profile of my ideal candidate. This person is chill when I'm a spaz, financially sound, professional, loves me, gets me. Ted happens to work in my field, and he's been a wealth of information and support while I got my degree and now that I'm working in the field. He's typically the first person I vent to about work and he understands my job in addition to the population of clients I work with. He's also one of the few people I talk really openly about my relationship with my mother. Its like a sore, festering wound. And Ted has been there for it all. At the end of the day, it all goes back to Ted and so do I. After 4 and a half years, it all goes back to him. No matter who I date and tell myself that this one will be different, I always end up back in Ted's bed, and more importantly, his arms. Before I started to move too far in my head, I had to know that I was a real potential for him. That he saw me as a woman he'd want going into the next stage of life, not just a bed warmer. I didn't need to hear that he will marry me, but I needed to know that it wasn't out of the realm of possibility.
I called him this morning and framed the question, basically asking if we were both empty nesters, would I be in the running for wife/life partner? And to my utter amazement, he easily said yes. Damn. Word? I explained to him that despite our long history, we've never really seriously talked about a long-term potential of us. I'd never even really said "us" in reference to us. We were always more so of a "he and I with our separate lives" never an "us." But here "we" are.  Ted is the same guy who I had to beg for so much, and suddenly, he's genuinely open to sharing his life with me. I just wanted to know what that my look like.  I know that if he read this, he'd freak slightly and tell me to stop overthinking things, but this made me frame things differently.

And while I will continue to date other men in the meantime, Ted has grown on me. And to me. And I guess I've grown on him. Who knew?

Thursday, June 6, 2019

BoJack Vacation

So I've been meaning to check out this show called "BoJack Horseman" for a while now. Its on Netflix, and despite the reviews, which seemed mixed at best, I figured I'd give it a whirl. What I soon discovered about this show is how amazing it is. It is one of the funniest and sharpest shows I've seen to date.

The show is about Bojack, an actual horse (the show is animated, follow me here) who lives in an anthropomorphic world with other animals and humans. BoJack was on a show during the 1990's called Horsin' Around. Since then, BoJack has become a bit of a dark cloud. He has a lot of self-destructive behaviors and he struggles to build healthy relationships. Much of his negativity stems from a toxic relationship with his emotionally abusive mother (see how deep this runs for me?) I see a lot of myself and other people around me in him. He lives in Hollywoo (I know what I did there), where he's often surrounded by a lot of drugs and glamour.

I'm now at a point in my binge where he recently lost a good friend of his. In his grief, he just fled. He apologized as much as he could and took off in his car. Looking at this animated show, as this man drove aimlessly through the dessert was so familiar. Because I did it. It looked the same, felt the same, and I did it for the same reason. I fled.

I couldn't discuss it while in litigation, so I largely didn't mention it in this blog, but I spent last summer by myself for 12 days on the west coast. I flew into San Francisco and made my way over to Los Angeles, followed by Phoenix, and then on to Vegas, where I flew home from. I needed that trip like I needed the air that I breathe. I drove between all of those cities. Just me and my thoughts. Looking back now, I guess I can see how far-fetched it seemed. But at the time, it just felt right. I knew that I needed to get away. I can't say that I was running. I wasn't. But I couldn't stomach to stand still either. Add my grief to a job that was beginning to stress me to the point of no return, my trip out west saved me from myself.

I don't know what called me out there. There were actually a few things I'd had lined up, in addition to a few friends I wanted to see, but that wasn't it. I'd needed time away, to figure out my thoughts. To decide what I needed in life. To sort out my grief. Quite a few people questioned why I'd opted to go away by myself for so long, but I honestly couldn't explain it. I just knew that I needed to go. To fly. To be alone. I'd had a few destinations on the map, but by and large, outside of driving and seeing Fred, I had no real plans, except for my newly minted plan to strip down to nothingness the moment I entered my hotel room. The only room I'd booked was for the start of my trip, but other than that, I left it all up in the air.

I have a co-worker in a higher position, who is a free-spirit, much like myself. I talked to him yesterday and shared that for my upcoming trip in less than two weeks (WOOHOO!!), the only hotel I'd booked is for my first night. I said to him that there's something thrilling about waking up in one city and not knowing if you'll fall asleep in the same city. Will I sleep in Los Angeles tonight, or will I sleep in San Francisco? It was thrilling. My co-worker looked at me like I was on a heroin trip.

So, I guess I neglected to mention that I intend to go on another trip. Yes God, in two weeks. Its been a struggle, I've prayed to the financial gods for this to come together, and it has. Finally. I'm no longer driving to grieve. I'm driving to breathe. To move. To be free. To explore. I'll visit beaches by myself, I'll climb mountains by myself, to cry by myself, to laugh by myself. Y'all have been doing vacations wrong.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Emotional/Intelligence Breaking/Points

So I've been on one lately. Part of me thinks it could be this stupid tooth, but part of knows it could be a reckoning of much, much more. It started off a while back with Fred. I'm not sure if I mentioned this conversation here, but I'd vented to Fred about Luke and how I felt that Luke was becoming despondent and pulling away and how much I needed insight on moving forward. I talked to Fred, who instantly stated "well, he's still legally married and..." I'm sorry? What now?

This isn't the space of a judgmental, 23-year-old child. Life catches up to you fast. He was married, things didn't work, they live apart, their kids are grown, emotionally, they are separate, sexually, they are separate, financially, they are separate. Call me bizarre, but yo, he's free game.
So why the hell was Fred bringing up him being married on paper, despite having his own apartment? Because Fred is full of shit. And I finally reached my breaking point on it and said it out loud. I know it hurt and I meant for him to hurt. My words? "I should have known better than to try to talk to you about this, you aren't emotionally intelligent enough to get it." Yes, I know it was a dig. I meant for it to be one. I came to him, seeking advice and council. But he couldn't give me that. He had to do more. And I felt like I had to bring him down a peg. Or several.

I also threw into Fred's face how he'd been butt hurt recently about a woman who's husband was in Spain. But while her husband was in Spain, Fred was keeping her occupied. And once her husband returned, she dropped Fred like him, his dick, his heart, and his time never mattered. And that is a woman who was and is married. Shit, I met Luke's daughter. It certainly wasn't something we planned for, but the planets aligned. I highly doubt that if Luke was trying to hold so fast to his on-paper marriage that he'd pretty much plant a kiss on me in front of his adult child.

So on top of calling Fred emotionally unintelligent, I followed up by telling him that I'm growing to like him less and less as a person and that he calls himself a Christian, but he doesn't carry himself as one at all. Yeah, I brought out the big guns. I guess I've just been holding it in. Yeah Fred, I love you. But I'm growing past your shit. My best friend Sky recently stated that if I'd met Fred at this stage in my life as opposed to meeting him 13 years ago, things would be different. We'd be passing ships in the night. And he was spot on with that.
So here we were. Or are. He sent back a text a day or two later, asking me if I'd felt judged and he gave some sort of b.s. about being human and using the Bible to justify xyz. But I didn't respond. Because it didn't matter. I love Fred. And I know he loves me. But I'm tired of how he loves me. I'm tired of why he loves me. He loves me because I am convenient. Not because I'm fucking amazing. Not because I've seen his ass homeless and still saw the best in him. Not because I've flown all over to visit with him, when he was lonely. But because he was needy and I was available. He and I haven't talked since. I texted him a pic from after my tooth procedure. He hasn't responded. I'm unphased by that. I'm supposed to be seeing him when I land in Cali. Not sure if I will though.

And then the other guy. I met him via Tinder. He seemed pretty nice. Not long into our conversation, I realized that he is the best friend of one of my best friend's husbands! Small world, right?! Not so fast. I mean, he was nice and all, but I didn't wan to go make a big deal about this dude, just because we know of the same people. Sorry homie, but their their bond does not immediately bond us. And while I tried to keep in touch and try to build with the new guy, I couldn't shake that he was just into my looks. He'd text me "good morning, beautiful" and it stung. I'm so much more than my looks. I'm intelligent, articulate, accomplished, funny, all kinds of shit. But the only thing you see is "beautiful." Text messages are cool, but bruh, how about an actual phone call? I texted my homegirl and said straight up, that I'm not feeling dude. She stated that his lack of stepping up might have to do with the fact that his daughter is graduating and he's preoccupied. Nope.
So on Facebook the other day, I opted to ask people what their deal breakers are. One woman stated that she doesn't do men that don't go to the doctor. I'd never thought about it, but I could see that. I asked her about it, and she went on to talk about things such as hypertension and diabetes that are rampantly uncontrolled in Our community. And she was right! And then I took it a step even further. If this guy refuses to go to the doctor, and then he fucks around and has a stroke or heart attack, who is the woman expected to look after his ass? Me! No bueno. I monitor my diet, I exercise, I jog, I go to the doctor, so why the hell should I have to cut back on living my life just to care for you after you opted to be too fucking stubborn to get a check up? So now your bad choices impact me?! NOPE!

And then last night. So yeah, Davis is staying with me, and I'm using the money he kicks to me to help pay down this car note and other bills. And I love Davis, he'll always have a special place in my heart. At one point in time, he was my everything. But him staying with me has allowed me to see him for the flawed human being he really is. I needed that shit so bad! Anyway, I noticed a while ago that he has a small patch of hair missing in the back of his head. I'd assumed he'd accidentally nicked himself shaving. When I asked him about it last night, he stated that it stemmed from his allergy to his ex's cat, and now the allergy to my cat. Davis stays in his own room, away from the cat (the cat often sleeps next to me) and he tries to purify things as much as possible, but it is what it is. I finally said to Davis, "bruh, just take a Benadryl." He responded that he doesn't like taking drugs for health. Say what now? I said "well, then just take something natural, I'm sure there are natural antihistamines that could help. You do understand that the allergy send signals to your brain, essentially telling your body to attack itself right? That's bananas! You don't want to slowly kill yourself. That completely defies logic and common sense!"

He paused. I'd done it again. I tap danced on that nerve. I insulted him. He'd gotten on me about it before, but the only difference is that this time, I truly don't give a shit. I mean, seriously? You're going to sit here and have your fucking hair fall out and all of these hives and shit all over your body, as if its some kind of badge of honor? Fuck you dude, that shit is fucking STUPID and I'm not going to tiptoe around your feelings to keep you from knowing that. Take care of your goddamned self, shit!

He opted to head to bed shortly thereafter. And I don't know what happened, but I started to feel empowered. As I take a whole new look at myself, I'm starting to see, yet again, just how amazing I am. Am I'm starting to realize that I've dimmed my light over the years, trying to make way too many men feel good about themselves, while they shoveled shit in my direction. No more! I'm intelligent, kind, witty, free, goddamned AMAZING! And someone else's need to dominate me in order to further feel strengthened in their own bullshit will no longer be my cross to bear. It hasn't been easy, but I'm really taking my me back!

Monday, June 3, 2019

Pulling Teeth

This last few weeks has been brutal for me. I've got a vacation coming up in two weeks and I'm doing everything I can to keep from losing my shit between now and when I load my plane. Its time for me to fly. My clients are cool, but I'm not built for this life. I need more stability. At least, I need more stability in my clients. But its difficult, when most of them need money to aid in whatever their problems are, but we don't live in a state that readily makes those resources available. But I digress. I will be landing elsewhere in just under 2 weeks. I will be staring at mountains on my birthday, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

To add insult to injury, on Tuesday afternoon, a toothache that had been plaguing me on and off for at least 4 years came back with vengeance. I've always known that I'd need to eventually get it pulled by a dentist, but for years, lack of proper dental coverage made that an impossibility. So I did what most uninsured Americans do and borrow pills from friends and take Tylenol until I'm vomiting blood. May not being the safest method, but it did what I needed it to do. Until Tuesday. I popped a pill or two and nothing worked. I tried oil-pulling, and nothing worked. I put peppermint oil on it. Nothing. Orajel? BWAHAHA!! My tooth laughed at that shit! Peroxide rinse? Waste of money! It was hopeless. I needed a dentist, STAT!

The supervisor in the department I was in at the time allowed me to take a long lunch to run my ass to the dentist, where it was quickly discovered that this wisdom tooth that I'd been stupidly ignoring was no longer going to be ignored.

Funny enough, I'd been thinking how much my dental insurance seemed like horse shit up until that point, since I haven't even looked at a all for the last year and some change that I've had it. But I'm damned sure I held onto it. To be honest, I held on more for The Boy than myself. I knew I'd take him eventually. I just didn't know when. But the dentist I went to was mad cool, friendly, a Black woman, and she takes kids. So, YES! I'm in!

I'm glad this hit now. My plan was initially (a few months back when I first started planning) to take my vacation last week or the week before, leaving me across the goddamned country when that tooth started to beat me like I stole something. I changed my date and pushed my vacation back, based on the fact that my favorite new singer has a concert this week, in addition to the fact that my cousin is due to have a baby any day now and I was asked to go by the home and help with their two young children while she's in labor. Naturally I was in. So here I am, down to 16 days. I can do this. In just over two weeks, I will step outside and see massive mountains as far as the eye can see. I will be in a land of nothingness, with people I don't know, who don't know me, who have no expectations of me. Please God, let this be soon. and painless. Please.

Monday, May 20, 2019

A Malika Kind of Weekend

This weekend was one of those "Malika" weekends that would have been wild for most people, but pretty par for the course for me. Early on, my plans were to make the 4 hour drive to see Luke on Friday night and return Sunday afternoon. I was looking forward to it. Things had been kind of strained since Easter and I needed some face to face time to figure out how to move forward. Thursday evening we talked, which had become increasingly rare. The conversation was pretty decent, a good catch up for the two of us. Then he goes on to tell me that he'd developed a strange rash. I asked him where it was located. His response? His balls. He had jock itch. Ew. My immediate thought was 'I'm still coming up but on Saturday instead of Friday, and we ain't fucking.'
He apologized and said that he'd been taking a cream and that he planned to go see his doctor about it. I was hoping to get a hotel for two nights, but needless to say, that put a bit of a kibosh on some of the romantic plans. I told him that I'd still roll up, just on Saturday morning instead. Friday night, I managed to get another text from him. This is after I'd made arrangements for my son, and combed the internet looking for the right hotel room. And less than 12 hours before I was set to hit the road, he comes with this foolishness. He said that his was uncomfortable (rightfully so) and didn't think this was a good time to visit. I sent back a text that roughly said "I wasn't coming up to fuck you. I can't do this anymore." I pulled the plug.
It wasn't so much the jock itch thing. I know he was pretty embarrassed about that. Its just that we've been talking for 3 months and I needed more. The first two months were amazing, I felt like I was talking to my other half. The last month, it was pulling teeth. He'd become a stranger. Only half of my texts were responded to, significant scaling back on the phone conversation. The distance is a strain in itself, but I'll be damned if I'll stick around for no seeing each other AND no talking. We talked and I pretty much laid it out for him- we don't talk anymore, and for the last three months, we've only seen one another in person one time for 30 minutes. There's pretty much nothing for me to hold on to. He admitted to being to blame for our lapse in connecting. We were silent. I said I had to go and we hung up.

It stung. On one hand, I was proud that I'd pulled the plug before this got painful. We had 2 months of a good run, and I gave it a decent amount of time (a month) before I pulled out. I was with it when it worked for me, and I gave it room to end, and an I ended it once it dragged on for a month. Shit, talk about progress. Old Malika would have dragged this shit on way longer than that, and waited for the Luke from the first two months to come back. But Malika at this age said "nah."
I awoke Saturday with nothing on my agenda. For the last two weeks I'd thought that this weekend would be booed up with Luke, chilling in a hotel, making love, and basking in whatever the hell middle-aged people bask in. I needed to clear my head. Sure, I was proud of myself. But I was disappointed and hurt that yet again what I thought I'd had was no longer the case. Yet again, slipping through my fingers. I got into my car and just drove. Wasn't quite sure where I was going, but I knew that I needed mountains. And that's where I went. I followed signs that continued to point north. I'd reach the end of one road, and again, just look for the next road that pointed north. Before I knew it, I'd made my way to a place called DeSoto Falls. I hiked a good 2 miles, was quite sore and sweaty, and hit the road again to keep going north. At some point, it occurred to me to hit Amicalola Falls, so I did.
Two water falls in one day. I was exhausted, but exhilarated. Plus I'm planning to go to California next month, so I'm doing everything in my power to get this beach body in line. I got home around the same time Davis did. He'd been drinking and we'd caught up with some things. I told him about how a few days ago I'd mentioned to a girlfriend of mine that she may want to try to delve into her reason for not liking to work for other people. That didn't go over well with her. Davis went on to tell me that I'm a bit insensitive when I talk to others. I assured him that was never my intention and that I simply tend to be blunt, due more so due to my own inability to pick up on small hints. So I have a tendency to talk to other people the way I'd need them to talk to me. And apparently that doesn't always go over well.

I'm not sure quite how it happened then, but I felt like while we were talking about who did what, I mentioned the fact that he lied about living with his girlfriend when we first met some years ago, and subsequently sat back quietly while she stalked me (I'm talking 30+ phone calls in a row on numerous occasions). I told him that I didn't deserve that and he should have at least told her to leave me out of it. But he didn't.
I didn't realize how much I'd still been hurt over that, until I mentioned it to him. He scoffed at the idea, as my mood deflated. He went to sleep shortly thereafter. The next morning, I was still raw at all of those feelings I thought I was past. I drove him to work, but in silence. I was still hurt, but I didn't want to be. I knew that I'd just need a moment, perhaps a few days to sort through it all. While driving, the song "Perfect" by Ed Sheeran came on. I began to weep silently. Not about Davis at all actually, about Pete. That song reminds me of him and its not uncommon for me to get emotional when it comes on. I stopped at a store while Davis ran in to get supplies.

I think I've mentioned it in past before, but I have the ability to talk to the departed. I respect them and they respect me. Pete talks to me often, offering a voice of wisdom when I feel at the end of my rope. As I sat in the warm car, with the sun beating down on me, he told me that I needed to let go. That Davis loves me as is, but he's doing the best he can. That I needed to forgive him, even if he isn't sorry. I related that same lesson to a few other friends that have done me wrong as well. That even if they didn't know or care to be sorry, I needed to forgive them. It was honestly a bit of a weight off of my shoulders. I'm not quite in that same space of forgiving my family for years of mental and emotional abuse, but at least the gate is open to the idea now. Pete mentioned a few other things about his life and childhood as well. It all gave me a greater understanding of people doing their best, even if it doesn't always look like it to the rest of the world.
Davis stepped back into the car moments later. He apologized for being in the store for so long, but little did he know that I'd needed that extra time. I drove him on to his work site. As he exited the car, I looked him in the eyes and I told him I forgive. "Huh?" was his response. I reminded him that he'd been drinking the night before and some old feelings came up, and that its cool. That even if he isn't or doesn't know to be sorry, I still forgive him. I was again a bit deflated, but I meant it. I forgave him.

Later that evening, he came back and I greeted him. Still not as warm as I normally do, but warm enough. He came over to me and said "that thing you were talking about last night? Yeah, I didn't mean that. I thought we were past it and I didn't know that it affected you like that. I'm sorry. I'm not always good with emotions." And that felt amazing. It felt amazing because I'd already forgiven him. But it felt nice to hear him say it. To own it. To validate my feelings.

My weekend was packed. It was busy, it was emotional, and it was healing. I love this journey. No one can work it like I can.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Revolution and Evolution

I failed to mention it, but I made a small road trip to Birmingham, Alabama a couple of weekends ago. I was amazed at the beauty that the state held. I didn't expect to see mountains. I went with a homeboy of mine and the conversation was amazing. My friend was a bit less adventurous than myself, but he was a good sport, humoring me with the random sidebars I continued to bring. At one point, on the way back, I pointed at the large, looming Bass Pro Shop and suggested we stop in. Like the champ he is, he came along.
While in there, we laughed and gawked at the taxidermied animals. I can't believe it, but it all made me miss Steve. I shared with my friend my experience with Steve and how I was seriously considering a walk down the aisle with dude, but I got sick of having to fight for him to give me the basic things I needed. Then further back down in our trip home, we passed Talledega where thousands of people were in the parking lot, camped out. We saw so many trailers and grills, all laid out. Again, it made me miss Steve. I kind of enjoyed his outdoorsy ways. I wanted so badly to stop on in and visit all of the tailgaters, but I knew I'd be out of my element. I missed Steve.

Truth be told, I still think of him on occasion. But a year was more than enough time for me to reconcile that how we operate doesn't mesh well. I came to see that he'd never do the things that I needed him to do. He thought it was cute and funny to continue to deny me simple things like dates. He thought it was hilarious to irritate the shit out of me by ignoring my wishes and calling me at ungodly hours to do things when he knew that I was unavailable. Laugh-fucking-riot. And then he ignored my wishes for the last time and dropped this huge armoire. Yeah, no. Steve and I ain't happening again.
During my moments of reflection, I began to think about Luke again. I know I was kind of harsh in my "cut him off!" post from earlier, but I just couldn't let it go. Not yet at least. The more I thought about it, the more I reflected that Luke has been the most healthy "relationship" that I've had. We were reciprocal and supportive. We laughed. I truly feel like we could be something more, with some real effort on both ends. I needed to know where his head was. So I called him and finally just asked in so many words what he wanted from me and what his expectations were. He admitted that he's still reeling from things with his wife, but he's making progress. He also admitted he cared deeply for me and that he's broken a few hearts along the way as he heals from his pain, and that he didn't want me to be among the hurt and cast aside. He listed off the traits about me he likes and admitted that he looks forward to being with me physically.  I melted.

Luke and I came to the agreement that we'd just go on a hiatus. No cutting it off completely, but scaling back until we were both in a space to figure out how things would go. I'm okay with that. Very okay.

And in an odd twist of fate, Steve sent me a Facebook friend request. Truthfully, I thought he was still blocked. Damn, I just realized that I unblocked him the other day. Oh well. I keep seeing that invite. I'm not doing it though. Yeah, I love Steve, but I'm over the revolving door that was our relationship. I want something thorough. Something peaceful. Something happy. A relationship that makes me feel loved, not ignored and irritated. I've evolved. About time.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Disappointment into Triumph

Being the social butterfly that I am, I wasn't surprised that I was asked to return to my old school to talk about my experiences since graduation, in addition to talking about my starting a pantry. I was glad to do it. Excited even. My former professor had invited me to come sit in her office to chat one day. But as I got ready to go, I shared with my former proff that I don't feel that the school adequately prepared me for the field of social work. I stated that Clark should have focused far more on the DSM V (essentially the bible of mental health) in addition to better prep for our licensure exams. I didn't mean to unload, as I didn't think that this particular proff wasn't over the courses offered, or their set up. I emailed my former professor a few days later to set up a day to come to the class. She didn't respond. I figured it was the end of the semester and she was swamped. I emailed early in the next semester so that we could decide on a day early on. No response. No biggie on my end, since I have tons to do anyway.

But then early last week, I ran into a former secretary from Clark. She told me that they were looking for summertime interns, and I told her that I'd be honored to work with some of them. She encouraged me to contact the same former professor whom I'd spoken with earlier. I figured she'd been a bit salty with me, so I jumped at the opportunity to email her. I reached out, offering myself and my supervisor to help some interns, followed by a "I hope you get to relax this summer, you deserve it" type of statement. She responded with a dry email about sending the information that I'd given her to the proper channels. She ended the email with a snarky comment about "thank you for your continued dedication to improving Clark." Oh. Oh word?

You're salty because I told you honestly that I'd learned that students at an online school that I'd previously looked down on learned more about mental health than I did? Why not be mad at these antiquated ass ideas you have about making shit hard for Black students to make them better? They encouraged us to advocate for our clients in the field, but I guess advocacy ends when you expect this expensive ass college to properly educate you.

Here is a woman who I'd looked to as a supportive figure, a woman whom I genuinely felt wanted what was best for the students. But the moment I share my actual experience (and not throwing friends under the bus, but others who have worked with Clark's social work students, who agree that they know next to nothing about the field) and my desire to enhance this program (let's not even mention that the graduate enrollment is tanking in the school and program), I was pushed aside.

To add insult to injury, a day or so later, I looked online and saw that about 10 of the people that graduated with me had been invited back to speak to her class. Guess who didn't make the cut? I was pissy. I was angry. I was hurt.

I happened to spend last week watching Valerie Jarrett (Obama's former senior advisor) and Stacey Abrams have a talk. I left inspired. I was once again reminded of my dedication to changing lives, and doing bigger and better things. I thought about my pantry connections and thought to myself that I'd reach out to them and see if they'd allow me to come in and do a motivational speaking engagement to practice my skills. So yeah, I didn't speak to the 25 students in your class, but I'll speak to the 100 students over at the pantry. Then a light bulb went off... go BIG.

So I emailed my cousin who works at an urban media outlet and asked if I could be a regular contributor and do articles about Blacks and mental health. To my surprise, he said that the outlet had been looking for something similar and told me that he'd love to have me on. What?! WORD?!

So there it is. I went from angry, hurt, disappointed, to feeling my GODDAMNED SELF!! I'm disappointed to know that my alma mater could be so petty and that the one person I thought was above that mess actually isn't, but I'm so proud of myself for taking my loss and making it even better. Ain't that what gangstas do, though?