Sunday, June 4, 2017

Time

Been almost 3 months to the day that Peter died. As the timing of my posts appear to dwindle, I'm reminded just how much time moves forward. I'd mentioned before that a week before Pete died, I bought him a housewarming gift to celebrate his year of sobriety and his move to a new home away from the group living he'd had before. I decided on a hourglass, as a symbol of the "one day at a time" mantra of those in recovery. I never got the opportunity to give it to him. It sat in my trunk, waiting for the perfect moment. That moment never came.
It was in my trunk, for nearly 2 weeks, until I started to think that unless I took it out, it would eventually break, a fate I couldn't stomach. So I took it out and left it in my living room, on a shelf. I plan to put a personalized plate on it, but until then, it sits, bare. I told my son he'd lose it life if he ever lay a hand on it. I barely touch it myself. It stings me that I have so little to remember Pete by, other than my memories. We never took a pic together, again because the timing was never right. I didn't get to keep any of his art work. All I have is stories, feelings, and memories.

Anyway, the hourglass, while initially a gift to celebrate his time spent in recovery, and inspire more time, for me, has come to symbolize something else- the time of life. In the last 3 months, I managed to break my ankle (a small chip, but break, nevertheless), I've finally graduated from Clark Atlanta University with a master's degree in social work. I've secured a job that starts in just under 2 weeks. Ted, a former flame who have had a rocky time with previously contacted me recently to "catch up." It was a Saturday at 11 p.m. I told him about Pete and essentially said that I was shutting down shop until I was in a better space mentally. I also told him that my days of casual flings are over. At least for now. He couldn't believe it. Me? Malika?! Yep, Pete brought something magical, that couldn't just easily be replaced. It wasn't about physical connection, it was about how he made me feel. And my new understanding that I deserved a man that made me feel special. Time with Ted was nice at moments. But it was always until someone new started sniffing around and he started to act different. No thanks.

On another note, last night I attended a friend's bachelorette party, and while I was going home, was hit up by other friends that wanted to meet for drinks. I knew that no more drinks were in order for the night, but I still wanted the company of my other comrades. We decided on a bar named Chairs, where karaoke play in the background. I checked the scene, and like I always do, I looked around for friendly male faces. I found one, and pointed him out to my friends and was egged on to speak to him. I froze. I mean shit, its only been 3 months. Was I really ready to start dating again? Not only that, the very few men that I have shown interest in so far have been so "bleh" that I wasn't sure I wanted to chance it. Before I knew it, Reisha hopped up from her chair to talk to him. I'm a beautiful caramel color, but I'm pretty damned sure that every bit of brown drained from my face. I sat with my hands on my face and stuttered to my other friend that I was honestly probably not ready to date again.

Before I knew it, Reisha popped back up at our table, and was followed by the new guy, whom I'll call Hambrick. He sat down and told me that I was pretty. He made us all laugh, and offered to buy drinks. He was warm, with a nice smile. He'd moved to Atlanta a year ago to work in the movie industry. Hambrick urged me to hit the stage to karaoke my own song, and I'd selected "Brick House," my theme song. My friends left as the bar started to shut down. As we waited for the song to que, at some point, I put my hand on Hambrick's back. He surprised me, by leaning in, and starting to rub on my knees. It wasn't a gratuitous, sexual rub. It was warm, a simple embrace. But it felt so nice. Nothing extra. Despite him being a bit buzzed, he wasn't trying to get me to come home with him. I never got to do my song, and at 3 a.m., the bar was closed. He and I exchanged numbers, and he made me promise to text him to let him know I'd gotten in safely. I did.

I texted him while at work today, asking a few basic questions and exchanging smiley and winky texts with him. I still have every intention of taking my time. I'm still pretty gun shy. But this feels nice. Good company. No expectations, just good times, jokes and smiles.

It's so hard to believe, but it's true, life does go on. Even though we don't always want it to. I might just be ready after all. I guess it's time.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Other Side of the Flood

Been such a long few days. I was actually particularly proud of my last blog post because it does the best job of capturing exactly how I feel about my life since Pete's death. I feel like I'm just treading water. But I guess tread it I will.
Speaking of water, I finally had a dream about him and this one involved water as well. It was similar to the first flood dream I had. I dreamt of a large amount of water behind a door. Enough to take out the whole room inside. But then, when the door opened, it was a pretty small amount that went into the room. Pete was kinda like "I told ya so" toward me, as I expected all of the water to come rushing into the room. Oddly enough, after the dream, I woke up feeling okay. More okay than I'd been in forever. For the first time in forever, I felt normal. I didn't wake up longing for my friend, seeing him briefly in my dream was all I needed. Its crazy because I expected my first dream of him to be loving and thoughtful as we exchanged "I love you's," held hands, and promised to see one another on the other side. Nope. In this dream, it was like he still worked with me and he never died. It was brief, but nice. I enjoyed that quick moment of feeling like I did before.

Moving on, Tory was on my mind heavily the other day. I actually kind of miss our friendship. In my spirit, I felt like he missed me, but I'm still pissy about how things ended, so fuck it. Sure enough, on the evening of Mother's Day, he shot me a "Happy Mother's Day" text and I didn't respond. Damn that. You wanna not be friends, so be it. But dude made this decision to cease a friendship with me (not once, but TWICE) so as far as I'm concerned, that's it.

Saturday I had a strange feeling about Hajj. Something inside of me said that he'll need a woman around him in case he has a medical emergency. Later that evening, I called him to check in briefly. He sent my message to voicemail, leading me to respond with a sarcastic remark. He texted back that he was in the hospital. My hair stood on end. He said he thought he had a stroke. I'd wished so heavily that I was in DC with him to yell at the nurses around him to make sure he was getting the best care available. The next day an MRI was done to confirm that he did, in fact, have a stroke. For the first time in a while, I felt a deep connection to him.

It's Wednesday now. I march for my graduation come Monday. Life is moving fast. Today I felt myself floating. I want to run so bad. I just want to turn and flee and not look back. But once again, I have to keep things together for my son. I mentioned on Facebook how much I'd like to flee. Tory then texted, asking if I'm okay. I responded with a simple "yes." He made his choice. We're not friends anymore.

So the world is revolving. I'm evolving. Spinning. Growing. I'm coming to a new normal in grieving my friend. I feel myself coming down. I still think of him heavily. I still feel him. I still miss him. I still can't wait to see him again. Sometimes I even still cry. But I'm almost ready. Not quite, but damned close. I just realized that in that dream, Pete told me that its okay to move on. The water represented emotions. The worst of the flood was over. The first flood dream indicated major emotional changes on the way. Damned if that didn't happen. This flood meant that the worst is over. There may still be some turmoil, but that's life overall. Pete is telling me to get in gear and live my life. I hate it when he's right

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Reaching For What Isn't There

I just realized that I haven’t written in 5 days. Quite an accomplishment. Not that my wheels haven’t been spinning and life hasn’t been moving, I think I’m just away from my computer and been in my own head so I haven’t done much writing. Classes are officially over and the grind for employment has begun so that’s where I’ve been lately. It strongly looks as though I’ll have the government job I interviewed for, which allows me to sleep and regroup for now as I get ready for the next leg of life. I’m thankful that this opportunity dropped into my lap because it relieves me of the anxiety and pressure of having to find a job. I’ll talk shit about my school all day, but this program literally handed my name to this place for a job, so shit, I’ll take it.
I had a laundry list of things I’d wanted to get done upon graduation, but rather than painting my apartment, jogging, organizing and cleaning, I’ve been sleeping primarily. It’s a gradual process, but my task list is slowly getting worked on. Plus while I was in the mountains, I managed to fall down the stairs (ironic, given this blog topic) and what I thought was a small sprain has actually ended up as a hairline fracture, so there go my plans of running 6 miles in the Peachtree Road Race come July. I’d still love to walk it, but my jogging dreams have been shattered yet again.
I’d be lying if I said that Peter has not been on my mind heavily. He’s still there, he’s just taken on a different form. He still talks to me often. I hear his voice, he moves stuff. I see the signs he leaves me. It’s not so much about me missing him anymore. I’m just getting used to him no longer being in physical form. I happened upon an article the other day that made me think of him even more so than before.

http://thoughtcatalog.com/brianna-wiest/2016/09/18-signs-youre-experiencing-whats-known-as-a-twin-flame-relationship/

Of this extensive list of things that would be the sign of a twin flame, only 1, 13, 15 are things that don’t sound like us. And if he’d lived long enough, I wonder if those three would have been rounded on out. So those other 15 things were us totally. I think what hit home the most for me was number 17, about the fundamental similarities. Once his funeral was over and I met some of his family, I was amazed to know the things we had in common that we’d never known previously. We are both middle children of two girls, both Geminis, both have difficult relationships with our mothers, both mothers had high ranking government jobs, my birthday is one day away from his sister and his birthday is one day away from my sister, both studied media in undergrad (he and I had discussed that before, I just forgot), both had different fathers from our siblings. One strange coincidence that I never brought up to him (again, not wanting to look like a stalker) is that what inspired me to go to New York for the first time this fall was a trip to an ice cream shop (don’t judge me). The address for that ice cream shop was 2 Rivington St. The name of the shop was Morgenstern’s and they had a black ice cream that I wanted to try. (Yes, I traveled 800 miles for ice cream, what of it? I feel the judgement. Now back to my story.)

Upon one of my Google searches of Pete, I learned that he at one point had a gallery showing at 2 Rivington. I remember looking in that gallery as I walked by while I was leaving the ice cream shop (the gallery is on the left in the picture). Although I had already met Pete, by then, our friendship hadn’t developed and I hadn’t yet Googled him, so when I passed by it, I knew nothing of his time there. New York is a HUGE city, filled with all kinds of galleries and showings. Also, its not like this location is in some sort of funky spot in Times Square, its literally a funky little spot on the Lower East Side. What are the odds that what drew me to that one spot also featured him? I’m kind of random, but ice cream? Don’t get me wrong the ice cream tasted like heaven, wrapped in love, and dipped in glitter, but still. What are the freaking odds that where I went just for ice cream was literally next door to the site of his gallery showing and even shares the same numerical address? He’s my twin flame.  

Once I finished the article, I decided to Google people that have had their twin flames die on them. Like me, they mention the unmistakable, unshakable pain of losing this person you had this bond with. They mention the loss of normalcy and love. The discomfort and the ache of the solace in the person they knew- the undeniable connection that only a twin flame can carry and how life after losing one seems to be almost unbearable and pointless. They also largely mentioned the demographic difference many had. Largely age gaps and demographic differences, much like myself and Pete. Hey, at least I’m in good company.

It explains so much though. It’s been over 2 months since he died and I’m still in this spot that I can’t move away from. The plain fact is that I feel like I lost my left arm when he died. You know that feeling when you’ve lost your balance and you reach out for a banister or something to steady yourself and it’s not there? That’s literally how I’ve felt since he died. I feel like I’m moving my arms, reaching out for something to steady me, and it’s just not there.
This article moved me a lot. It made me feel like maybe I wasn’t quite as crazy as I was starting to think I was. I mean a month after his passing, I felt okay to still mourn him and feel him and think about him. But two months in and going strong, perhaps his death really wasn’t like anything else I’ve experienced. What I find odd is that no one else is on Facebook doing those grieving, RIP posts. I mentioned him, both of his sisters did, and 4 other friends and that was it. Perhaps it’s an age thing, or a white cultural thing, but there was no social media outpouring of love. Shit, when Jarronn died, there was easily a hundred posts from people over time on holidays, his birthdays, even random days, putting up pictures, sharing memories, just stopping to say they thought about him.

Pete’s page has been none of that. Nothing. So while I’m often tempted to mention him, tag him, or drop a line on his page, out of respect and not wanting to look like a weirdo, especially since none of his friends or family know me, I’ve been forced to just deal with this solo. It burns though, because I wish I knew other people’s memories of him. I can tell that many of his Facebook friends are his art friends as well, and some from his meetings and recovery, but otherwise I have no connection. It’s odd and it’s frustrating. It could even be the many years he spent using heroin, where he’d just disappear into his other life. I’d mentioned before how he hadn’t touched Facebook in eons until I mentioned it. His whole page was his daughter and ex-wife. Then he “disappeared.” Then he came back with art and his new life. But then he “disappeared”- this time, for good.

The article confirmed what I’d already suspected. He is my twin flame. It doesn’t mean my life will stop. It just means that I’ll have to get used to what is, what was, and what will be. Once again, I’m reaching but there is nothing and no one there to grab me. I’d better get used to this.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Laughing While Crying

I've always had a bit of an artistic side, it just doesn't get out much. I honestly didn't know I was an artist. Sure, I've enjoyed painting abstract murals on my walls for the last 10 years, but I never thought much of it as anything else than an outlet. It wasn't until I met a man who was a well-known painter, brought him to my home, then he took a look at my works and said "I didn't know you were an artist" until it occurred to me that I did, in fact, belong to the illustrious crowd. Oddly, I'd always thought that artists were trained, and frankly, far better than me.

One of our earlier meetings, Pete had his phone up and showed me the works of David Shrigley. I fondly remember him showing me the works and seeing the colorfully drawn "Big Fancy Room Filled With Crap" picture. Afterward, Pete's Facebook postings were often different pictures from various artists, as well as some of his own work. I enjoyed the pics, and I was careful not to like each one he posted (didn't want to look like a stalker and all), but I saw each and every one.
As I've approached this transitional period for myself, I've found myself looking more at art. At first just Pete's. Then there was art at the internship, done by residents of the organization and others. Soon more art followed. As I've embraced more art, I've also started to embrace different people overall. I was in my local Kroger recently when I complimented a woman's colorful socks. She responded that she'd gotten them online. I told her that I wanted to be like her when I grow up, and in turn, she invited me to her home for an art showing she was having. I assured her that I would show up.

Saturday arrived, and as promised, went. I was kind of nervous, but not by much. The woman was older, as well as white, but I figured, why not? A good thing about my transition is that it has allowed me to get to know new people and experience new encounters. I arrived and was immediately greeted by the woman, Mavis. She and I laughed as we explained to others in the room, her other artist friends, how we bonded over sushi in the deli area. I went on to work the room and was in love with how expressive and open her friends were. They happened to attend spiritual services close to the Buddhist temple I meditate at and they asked my experiences there and said they'd hoped to attend as well.

Coincidentally, one man started telling me about his heart attack that happened just 6 weeks prior. He explained that his aorta exploded (what now?!) and that his doctors explained that he should have undeniably died in 10 minutes after the rupture. Yet he made it another hour and a half until he could call his girlfriend and she  was able to get him to the hospital. I could even hear his pacemaker. The man was 46-years-old. A year younger than Pete. In some odd way, it made me feel better. Like no matter what, maybe it really was Pete's time to go? Only 2 weeks prior, Pete was living in a single room with 4 or more more men. I've though often how if he'd been still living with those men or if he and I managed to hang that weekend how he'd still be here (I learned CPR from the internship) or how I'd have at least called the ambulance. But clearly, those things didn't happen. Pete's body was positioned in a way to make us think he tried to go out of the room where he had the heart attack. But alas...

As I left the group, I felt rejuvenated. While alone with Mavis, I explained to her that I'd been going through some things and needed this time with her and her friends so much. She assured me that we'd get coffee soon. Another friend of hers made me promise to commit myself more to my art. Anyone that knows me knows that I take my word seriously. So I guess we all know what that means.

My cousin Jarronn wasn't just a good guy. He was great. Its hard to follow Jarronn. He and I were the same age, but he was the golden child. We graduated the same year from high school, but he graduated with honors and scholarships. I barely got my diploma. He graduated from college in 4 years and followed it with a wonderful job at Johnson & Johnson. It took me 9 years, I got pregnant my last year, and struggled to find a job that paid me decently. Jarronn's brother Theo was a lot like me- emotional and troubled. Yet in Jarronn's death, Theo went back to school and has blossomed. He once told me that he feels that when Jarronn died, part of his spirit moved on into the Theo. Coincidentally I happened to read something this weekend over the internet that said the exact same thing regarding people dying and their traits transferring. I'm feeling that.
That same night, I lay rejuvenated, yet continued to miss my dear friend. It was also the night of my failed online date. I decided that perhaps I needed some time with a person that more understood my feelings. I reached out to Adriana, widow of Frank Barham. Frank died suddenly nearly 2 years ago when the wheelchair he was in was struck while he was rolling to Savannah to bring awareness to people with disabilities and raise money for wheelchairs for people that needed them. (http://www.ajc.com/news/musician-arts-advocate-from-atlanta-killed-georgia-wreck/xkPo0QF3l5GzXqHhOURADM/)                                                                                                                                                 

I only knew Frank in passing, but he was always such a super spirit. Honestly, you'd forget he was ever in a wheelchair. He was so strong and positive, you'd seriously forget. I also followed his journey on Facebook and was floored to learn of his passing. I remembered seeing Adriana mentioned somewhere and I decided to send her a friend request on Facebook and I'd occasionally check in on her through her grieving process. Now here I am. I'd never even met Adriana personally. We'd just chat on Facebook. But now I needed her.

We met in my favorite coffee shop. Warm hugs immediately. She smiled and was so bubbly. She spoke warmly of Frank and started to cry. I teared up as well. I told her about Pete. I began crying at the hourglass I'd purchased for him, and how it was in my trunk, when he died. At some point she made a joke that resulted in both of us laughing manically through our tears. It was nice to be with someone that really got it. It was crazy to me that she spent 19 years married to Frank, and I only had 5 months to get to know Pete. So she grieved the life she knew. On the other hand, I grieve the life and friendship I'll never get to see go further. And unbeknownst to me, Adriana is an artist as well. She showed me the beautiful ring on her finger that she'd managed to make herself via blacksmithing. Adriana also invited me to some of the art classes she attends to meet a friend of hers that can further help me through this process.

So yet again, I'm taking steps to follow this process. I don't know where it will lead. But I'm enjoying this. New people, new interests, new locations, new laughter. The fact is that I will graduate in 2 weeks with my master's degree, but truthfully the ceremony is the furthest thing from my mind. Sure, it will be nice to see my colleagues and embrace them. And to see my dad and step mommy beam with pride as I cross that stage. But I'm more looking forward to making art, meeting more new people and following a passion of art and beauty. I guess tears aren't always a bad thing.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

I Have No Choice But to Be Alone

I guess I'm over my thing with Tory. Wished he was around to vent about something earlier, but shit, just like "you know who" life goes on, he ain't here, so I dealt with it. Nearly a week ago, I decided for some stupid reason or another, to try online dating. Yeah, about that...
I like to think that I put together a nice profile, cute pics, a bit of info about me, etc. Eventually I grew a tad irritated because so many of the inboxes I got were from men, who hit me up with a simple "hey beautiful" or "nice smile." I didn't even bother to open those. I mean, like why? To be fair, those men may have been well-meaning, well-educated men that wanted nothing seedy. But I couldn't shake that men that focused just on my looks wanted just one thing. I can't do that and I can't be that.

I finally started chatting with one guy. He seemed nice, but a tad persistent. I eventually agreed to meet with him last night. We went out (of course I picked a Starbucks in a different neighborhood in case he was a weirdo that would start to plant himself in my hangout spots). We laughed, had a lot in common. I confessed about my current mental state, told him about Pete, my changes in life, and told him truthfully that I can't do the girlfriend thing. We laughed more. Eventually Starbucks closed and we went outside, in the dark, in the middle of downtown, until it started raining, where we got into my car, to continue the conversation. I kind of liked him. I knew he liked me. I felt relaxed near him. We agreed to see one another for lunch. I even (half) joked about finally showing him my hang out spots since he wasn't the weirdo I was afraid he'd be.

On the way home, he texted me, telling me that he planned to take down his dating profile because he considered us "talking." PUMP. THE. BRAKES. Shit!! I froze again. See, this is the shit I'm talking about. We aren't "talking." Shit, we had coffee. That's it. Keep looking. I don't know what I want. I don't know who I do or will want. I texted him back and thanked him for his interest, but at the end of the day, I'm not committing to him. Life remains what it is. I feel like I'm learning to walk again. The responsibility of a boyfriend, "dating," "talking," "fucking," whatever you call it, I just can't.

He responded that he's okay just talking and getting to know me. I didn't respond. I didn't know how to. I happened to meet up with Reisha, told her what happened between us up to that point and showed her our messages. She shrugged her shoulders and told her that if he chose to stop and wait on me, that's on him. While I was driving home, he texted me again, and told me that he thought about it, and that he just can't be only friends with me. What the hell?! It literally happened again.

So in 48 hours, I've had two guys that I'd like to be friends with claim that they can't because they'd want more. Talk about bittersweet. In all fairness, I felt like the guy from last night was pressing kind of hard for a girlfriend anyway, and if I tried to break up with him later, shit would get weird and legal. Like Lifetime Movie of the Week bad.
He wanted a girlfriend. Bad. Don't get me wrong, he seemed like a super nice guy. But I knew his intentions. And because of what I knew would be his clinginess later, I knew to let him go. I've got enough damned problems and the possibility of having my disappearance and murder captured for cable television does not need to be upon them.

I'm again, alone in a coffeehouse (in my neighborhood this time). Alone. Last night, I just took down my dating profile. I'm not having sex, don't really want a boyfriend, and really don't want to be around a bunch of new people. With all of that, I guess it makes sense to just fall back. I've long been okay with my own company. I'm thankful that I'm secure enough with myself that being alone isn't making be go crazy. Quite the opposite. I like being out, observing people, and being in my own head. Good thing I enjoy my solo time. At the looks of things, seems like I'm about to have a lot of it.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Yes, Yes I Did Friend Zone You

So I've had a moment to reflect on this shit with Tory and I went from apathetic to pretty fucking angry. So lemme get this straight. We meet, hang out, have a good time. You go pretty slow, despite me throwing hints. I develop interest in another man, who was smart/bold enough to make his intentions known. That man subsequently dies.
Now you realize that I'd developed feelings for that guy, leading to an immense grieving period, so you can't be friends with me anymore. WHAT? THE? FUCK?! What kind of shit is that? I just realized that this is one of several men who've pretty much felt that being friends with me is not a possibility because my vagina is no longer on the table. Nor is it in the car, in bathroom, or in the bedroom either! No kinky sex for you! I'm so pissed now.

I guess as a girl, I'm supposed to be willing to smash anyone that expresses interest because he's a "good guy." Folks need to understand. The fact is that there is a lot of competition to be next to me. Not being arrogant or anything, but I'm funny, smart, outgoing (when I'm not in a funk), and pretty well-known. But this fucked idea that I'm expected to either be in a relationship (or at least fuck) or not exist in his world is pretty jacked. I've pretty much gone from, "man, I'll miss his friendship" to "FUCK HIM, I DON'T OWE HIM SHIT!!" Even if I weren't a popular person, I'm still not obligated to sleep with him just because he has an interest.


Have I been into men that didn't want to be with me? Yep! What did I do? Became best friends with them. Because I cared about them enough to want to be in their presence, whether we were dating or just homies. Civil people don't require all of the attractive people around them to be available to smash. What does it say to me when a guy stops coming around because he realizes that I'm not going to screw him?

Thursday, May 4, 2017

We Need To Talk- Round 2

This has been a LONG flipping week. Not even Friday yet, and I'm over this shit already. I'll start by saying that I spent last weekend in the mountains and it was beyond needed. The sun, the warmth, the laughter- it was a blessing. My plan was actually to parlay solo, but my friend stuck around (yay!), my son ended up coming and her son, who is my son's age, ended up staying home rather than going with his father, so all went well. Naturally, the morning after I arrived, I fell down the steps, turning my ankle, so I haven't been able to jog all week, despite finally having the time to do so. The swelling is finally going down.

On Monday I had a meeting with my professor to change a grade, so I can finally march this month. Tuesday, I had a follow-up interview with my internship. Stupidly enough, I expected to have this in the bag. Our first interview, I was asked if I'd be willing to commit to the position for a year, despite the pay. I explained that because I have so much love for the organization, a pay cut would be fine. Well, this go round, I was asked again why I wanted the position, especially being that this is not something that typically a person with a master's degree would seek. Um- WHAT?! Man, I've struggled like hell to make ends meet the whole time I was in school. I told myself a while back that whoever takes me, I'm in. No haggling. Job hunting is exhausting. Just hire me.



The question of my long-term goals came up. Without expressing too much, I simply told them that some shifts in my personal life have led me to reevaluate things and that I don't want a fancy ass job right now. Essentially, I'd just like the pleasure of paying rent without selling blood, plus I'd like to be able to eat more than once a day. The interviewer told me that upon graduation, she knew immediately what she'd wanted moving forward. I even told her that 3 months ago that I had my life planned down to the letter. But yeah, stuff happened. I also threw the interview by not being prepared when I misinterpreted what I was expected to do this time around so I did not come prepared. I didn't hear back. *shrugs*

Coincidentally, last week I got a call about a government position I'd applied for earlier, and they wanted me to interview the day after my follow up interview with the internship. I told myself that if it came down to it, I'd take the internship position, but the government job actually pays more, and it looks like I might just have it (fingers crossed), so at least there's that.
Now we get to today. *sigh* Met again with my therapist. Its funny how I go in without much to say, but by the end, I'm in tears all over again (in a much needed way though). I heed and hawed back and forth about my life, and what I want. Or don't want. About my many thoughts about death, but I don't want to die. How I'd recently looked at the symptoms of depression, and how many of them fit squarely into where I am now. I wondered aloud if I'm grieving, or is this depression, or some sort of midlife crisis? My therapist stated that it is quite possible that a midlife crisis could be caused my a trauma (such as a death). I told her how much I wish I could just fast forward by 6 months so that I could look back and properly identify whatever the hell it is that I'm going through.

I also told her about how my musical taste has shifted lately and I've been listening more to 1970's beach anthems like "Hotel California" or party songs like "All I Wanna Do" by Cheryl Crow. I admitted that being a black woman is fucking exhausting. We're expected to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. I also revealed to her how what I loved about Pete was that he always took care of stuff. No matter what it was, he handled it.You could always relax near him, because big or small, he did it. I've talked to his former colleague, the woman he worked with when he died, and she confessed that when things happen like the printer jamming, or bringing in water bottles, Pete did it. He was on it, without being asked. What I eventually realized was that he was a mirror of me. That's how people feel about me. Malika will handle it. Malika will figure it out. If Malika is here, its handled, relax. She's got it. Pete was me.
My therapist looked at me and said "There you go. You carry so much weight after holding the burden of others, it was nice to have someone around that let you finally relax because they'd handle things, even if it was the smallest of tasks." God it feels good to work through this and make it finally make sense.

Now we get to an hour ago. Tory calls me and says "we need to talk." I simply responded "good or bad?" "Bad" he said. I braced myself. "Well, its just that last week, you told me that you kissed Pete. I've been thinking about it ever since then. I remembered thinking that you pulled away a little before he died. Then I remembered you saying that you were surprised that I was so okay listening to you talk about him. That's why you've been unable to be affectionate or sexual, he was the person you expected to have sex with next, so you're kind of stuck." Damned if he didn't hit the nail on the head with that one. Tory then told me that ever since then, he gets angry when I mention Pete. I pulled a Malika (which is emotionally devoid, while being emotional).

I explained that I get it, and that I wish him the best. Just like I was the last time we had this speech, I'm unable to be too emotional about him. He ain't dead. Dead person gets the grief, I guess. But once we got off the phone, I thought about it. How the hell can he be salty at me for liking another guy, when he was the one going a snail's pace?! Via text (cuz I'm not one to argue), I reminded him that when I wanted the affection, he wasn't there. Hell, I even remember complaining to Pete about Tory taking his damned time with the physical stuff. (Out of respect, I didn't say that to Tory though). We exchanged a few more texts about it, but I let it go. No use crying over spilled milk. It STILL remains (just as was the case before) Tory has some stuff to work on. Shit, I just wrote 3 paragraphs about today's conversation with my therapist, so lord knows I need work. I admit it stings a bit more this time around, but the fact is that I'm still not going to chase him down. Perhaps he'll show back up, perhaps he won't. Doesn't matter though. Either way, I still gotta work on me.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Support

As time moves further out from Pete’s death, I’m moving from my own deep grieving period to a more morose existence. And perhaps my own loss has put me in the space, but I’m seeing more and more people going through it. A friend has been kind enough to lend me her cabin in the woods last weekend, but warned she may or may not be around because her mother was scheduled to have surgery for breast cancer. My co-worker Stephanie broke into tears a while ago as she told me about her cousin’s recent death from breast cancer. Today I ran into an acquaintance that told me of his adopted aunt’s death and problems in his family since then. A while back, a classmate posted that her daughter’s father was murdered as well.

My loss hurt like hell, but it feels good to be of support to other people as they deal with their own loss. Perhaps it’s just that I’m getting older and that when you’re in your late 30’s death becomes more frequent. Obviously colleagues, friends, and relatives are older now. In my teens and twenties, death certainly happened, it was just rare. But now it seems like it’s so regular. Now I feel like we’re all just stuck here, trying to make sense of our pain. And we all work through it, the best way we know how. But the second you pull back, just a little bit, it opens up again.

This blog has been my solace. I’m amazed at the regular visitors I get here. I can’t help but to think that I must be boring the hell out of them as I go on and on about Pete. But I need this. It’s been kind of crazy to read back on my varying emotions since Pete died. Most moments I’m only a brief thought from tears again. But I hold it together. Just like the loss of Tracey the then the loss of Jarronn, I’ll learn to live with this pain. But if there is any solace to be found, it is that I can use this to help others through this same thing. We’ve got to support one another in this. We’re all we’ve got.


Friday, April 28, 2017

They like me. They really, really like me.

I wrote previously about being a tad torn between a best of both worlds of Tory and Hajj. Tory, being the young, energetic one who is still grappling with getting his career and life together, and then Hajj, the independent career man, who wants the wife and family life, yet is a tad emotionally detached. They both brought so much to the table, yet both require a bit of work.
Tory did call me a while back, saying he wanted to step back from me. In my emotional space, I was kinda like "whatevs, man." Three days later, we were back like we always were. I managed to finally meet Hajj earlier in the month. He wanted some affection and whatnot, and although I thought I'd be ready to deliver on that, but in the end, I just couldn't do it. Hajj knew about what I've gone through and he respected my space, even though he was hoping for more.

So here I am, nearly 2 months after Pete passed, and probably the most emotionally detached from any man that I've ever been. I kind of thought that Hajj and I would fall apart, but we do still occasionally check in. The last time we texted, I admitted to him that at one time he was definitely my number one contender. He joked that since then I must have started  seeing someone else. I corrected him and told him that I haven't done anything with anyone in 3 months and that my dating card will remain empty for the foreseeable future.

Talked to Tory last night and for the first time in a while, Pete came up again. More so because I asked Tory if there's been a major change in my demeanor and personality since then. Tory said that I'm not as physically affectionate as I once was. I hadn't thought about it, but I could see that. I asked if he felt weird, seeing me change so much over another guy who I'd clearly been kind of casual with up until that point. He admitted that it was a bit odd, mainly because he felt that I'd clearly considered Pete one kind of way, while considering him another. I explained that Pete and I were more cute from the same cloth, while Tory just wasn't the "casual sex and move on" kind of guy. The fact is, Pete was. I also told him the story of how I waited several weeks to tell my colleague Amelia that we'd kissed. Tory grew quiet and said "I didn't know you and he ever kissed."

Tory asked if anyone else was in the running, so I took the opportunity to tell him about Hajj. I explained that in some weird way, they each make up for what the other one is missing. While Hajj is the career man with the home and financial stability, Tory is the guy that I can sit on the phone with for hours on end, chatting about nothing. Typically if I'm on the phone with Hajj, we only talk awkwardly for about 15 minutes before hanging up. Its still wild to me, that despite me grieving another man for the last 2 months, both of these cats still like me. I'm not expecting anyone to hold on longer than they'd like and if either finds another woman or situation that makes them happy, I'm all for it. But still its nice to be appreciated and respected while I go through whatever it is I'm going through. I must be more worth it than I previously thought.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

From the Bottom

My friend hosted an event the other day and I was glad to show up. It was actually the first event I’ve gone to in the last month and a half. Wasn’t a club gig though, it was a family event, with kids and high school band students. It was nice to get out, although I didn’t intend to be out as long as I was. One of my favorite parts of the day was reconnecting with my friend Kene’e. Our sons met and were similar ages, so they bounced around heavily, irritating our very cores, as they got acquainted.

At some point during the day, I came across Party Guy and gave a swift detour so as to not cross his path. I didn’t update on him early, but he was a waste of space. A liar, lying about even the smallest details, had a girlfriend and lied about the status of their relationship, and was all around a shitty person. I was hurt tremendously, because I’d foolishly held on to the belief of who I wanted him to be, instead of who he actually was. So yeah, I saw him yesterday, careful to ignore him and avoid eye contact. At some point he even hugged the friend standing next to me as I stared straight ahead, acting as if he were invisible. I literally bent around, careful to avoid being in his space as much as possible.

When Kene’e and I walked away from the prying ears of children, I explained to her that since losing Pete, I’ve made a clear decision to not waste my time on anyone. I won’t beg a man to love me, to call me back, to spend time with me, any of that. I’m okay with my own company, (I am funny as shit after all) so why feel it necessary to beg someone for more? Plus I’m way more at peace now. Kene’e also asked about my previous plans to move soon. I told her that I don’t know what I’m doing anymore. My whole slate has been wiped clean. I’m scaling back on superficial relationships, in favor of people and situations that uplift and empower me. I mentioned my garden and my pet chickens. I told her about my realization that so much of what I previously wanted was surface and that I’m starting over. From the bottom.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Breakthrough

I met with my therapist the other day. God I love her. I’m so lucky to be able to attend sessions with her while I’m in school. I started last year and I didn’t manage to pick back up until this year, after Pete died. She does an incredible job of helping me peel back layers to uncover what’s going on with me. It started out as pretty routine stuff. I started by talking about my meditation and told her how glad I am that I’m starting to make some headway in my grieving.
It started out pretty good actually. Had no real gripes when I arrived. I told my therapist about my decision not to date, not only letting myself heal, but also the other stuff on my mind. I told her also that part of my issue lies in the mundane selection of men that have approached me lately. Much like my Magic post, I told my therapist about my need for someone to fulfill the magic that Pete brought to my life. I need someone that loves flowers and stars. I need someone that appreciates nature and makes me laugh uncontrollably.  I need a free spirit. As screwed as Pete’s past was, it shaped him. I feel like he gave me an escape from the boredom of my existence.

My therapist (God bless her patience) then took a moment to remind me that I appeared to be holding Pete to some kind of godly standard and she was right. She said that despite it all, there certainly was not enough time spent for me to determine if he’d be the knight in shining armor that I’d built him up to be. She reminded me that his ex-wife found fault, hence their divorce. I also told her that I also don’t know that he wouldn’t have relapsed in the future, if he hadn’t already. Plus he was never meant to be a permanent fixture for me. I’d planned on him being a fun tryst. Not a future husband or best friend. The therapist then challenged me to determine what it was about Pete that held me in this space.

As we conversed more, it slowly started to sink in. It wasn’t just about Pete, the person. It was about my incredible urge to be free. He represented the freedom from oppression that I need. I told her how much being a Black woman can be so heavy. How I’ve taken part in, observed, and walked by conversations about race to the point that I’ve lost count. It’s exhausting, trying to change the world. I’ve been about peace, rainbow, unicorns and shit like that since the early days. Please note that my blog’s url is BubblesFairiesAndCrapLikeThat.blogspot.com. This shit is real.
I talked even more about my desire to live in a small town, with my pet chickens (an odd, constant theme), country living, by a lake. My therapist stated that normally people that have a desire to make a lifestyle change like this typically have been for a long time about it. Then I confessed to her that I’ve always had a love of small towns and have often dreamed of having a home in a small town, plus something cozy in the city. So there it is. It’s not just Pete, its how much he represents my need to be free.

Truth be told, I’ve always been a bit of wild child. Even though I know how to dress up and adult like normal people, there is still a major part of me that wants to run through grass barefoot (and I actually do go nearly everywhere with shoes that I can easily slide off). I want to create art. I want to lay by a lake and hear the wind blow. I want to run through sprinklers. Say whatever the hell you want, I’m finally making a breakthrough.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Magic

Not to toot my own horn, but getting hit on by men gets kind of old. Especially when you know that they’re full of shit. I’ve talked extensively about my desire not to date at the moment. But I have a secret- I’m willing to date, but it has to be the right person. The guys around me just aren’t cutting the mustard and for the first time in my life, I have no time for simple shit. A former coworker who was given fuccboi status a year ago saw me today and gave me his number. I pretended to put it in my phone before walking away. However, I was on campus a while ago and I met a charming young gentleman who I certainly wouldn’t have minded tinkling around with my keyboard. But things didn’t go that way and we ended up being good friends, which I’m certainly fine with.
The problem is that so many of my would-be suitors are so plain to me. You see, Pete was magic. The man knew how to light up a room. His smile and charm won me instantly. He introduced me to his magical world of art and he knew how to lift any down moments. He was a gentleman and a freak. He was fearless and beautiful. Pete will be a hard act to follow. He was magic.
            
Not toot my own horn, but I also bring a bit of magic to the lives of the men I’m around. I’m quirky and eccentric. I’m random, fun and outgoing. A guy told me some years ago that I’m like the woman in the crowd wearing red when everyone else is wearing grey and tan. And he was right. The problem with being this kind of person is that complete wastes of space will fight, kick, and scream all to be part of your circle. They want to suck up your energy. They want to consume you, they want to be like you, they then resent your freedom and your comfort with yourself. I swear, when I tell you that I can’t even put a number on the people that start off loving how independent and quirky I am, only to resent my personal freedom later on. They either want to use it, control it, or destroy it. You eventually reach a point where you learn to be mindful of who you share your magic with. Not everyone that loves what you bring to the table actually loves you or even knows how to love you.

So this is why I’m stepping so far back from dating. Not only was Pete a hard act to follow, he helped me to realize how vital it is to have people around you that see you as you are and not only respect it, they encourage you to grow it. So no, I’m not going to be a flower that is easily plucked and left to wilt in the shadow of a man. I’m going to shine brightly in my field until I come across the man that knows how to pull me up by my roots and plant me where he can love me and nurture me. Pete would want it that way.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Allowance

I woke up this morning and the first thing I thought about was the Jazz Festival that's coming up next month. For any other individual, this wouldn't have been much of a thing. For me, this represents huge progress, because its the second day in a row that I woke up and didn't immediately think about Pete. I'm really glad I'm making progress in this. On top of that, I ended up in a 3-way hug with some classmates and I didn't immediately fall into tears about Pete. I'm finally moving forward. On the other hand, it seems like I'm constantly being tested in the fuckery department. Yesterday, a former classmate I'll call Eric hit me up. I was bored and stuck in traffic, so I took the moment to reconnect for the first time in 2 or 3 years.

Eric jokingly accused me of intentionally quitting talking to him some years ago. I assured him that was not the case, but that life simply happened and that grad school doesn't leave a lot of time for extraneous conversations. I confessed that I'd been so busy in the last 2 years, that my dating life at some point consisted primarily of my young friend in undergrad. Eric grew a tad miffed and reminded me that the whole time we sat together in our Human Behavior class that I never threw the cookies at him. I reminded him that unlike Eric, my young friend didn't wear a wedding ring the whole time we were in class. Eric stuck to his original story of being separated at the time of wearing the ring. I told him that separated or not, I wasn't trying to get caught up in some shit. Eric segued into asking about now. I gave him the whole "going through a grieving period" thing, he did the typical "condolences" thing and we chatted a bit more before he needed to go get some work done. He called me back last night, while I was in the middle of my House of Cards marathon, so I was polite, but I hung up quickly.
This morning, on the way to my first jog in ages, Eric texted me and apologized for calling last night. I assured him that I was fine and that he simply caught me in the midst of relaxing. He then offered that he figured that I was in the middle of entertaining "company" and that he may have thrown a wrench in my mix. I texted back about not really dating at the moment, grieving, just me focusing on the kid, blah, blah, blah. Then he texted back that he'd always dug me and wanted to see if--- but then he read my text about not dating at the moment and he fell back. I swear, as I read the start of that text my first thought was 'are you motherfuckers having weekly meetings to see who can come in the quickest and fuck my life up?!' Real talk, I just wish people knew how I physiologically respond to being hit on right now. Like my heart stops and I freeze like a deer in headlights. Not only do I not really want to be touched in a sexual manner, I'm petrified of some certified dickhead working his way into my circle and destroying my peace. Outside of the grieving, I'm rather okay with where I am and don't really want to entertain bullshit right now.

Ironically, one of my last intimate conversations with Pete, I confessed to him that my girlfriends and I, who are all around the same age, often commiserate about increased sexual urges at this stage in life. And here I am nearly 2 months after that conversation and I want nothing more than to be left the hell alone.

I arrived at the park and enjoyed the solitude. I originally chose against Piedmont Park because it serves as a bit of a distraction while jogging, but I chose to go nevertheless. I jogged and walked as always, but while jogging, I found a quiet dock by a lake and realized that after all I've been through, I'm long overdue for some mediation. I was irritated at the sound of a loud dump truck in the background, but I reminded myself that masterful meditators can move past distractions, and so should I. I rested my eyes and allowed myself to relax, focusing on the trees beyond the lake. Then it hit me like a bolt of lightening. Allow this moment. Allow the air to move, allow the wind to blow. Allow life to happen. Allow these trees to grow. Allow the ripples in this lake to keep moving. What I needed was to stop trying to flow against the tide. Buddhism teaches that attachment is what creates suffering. All of my crying and mourning has been my attachment to Pete. I need to step back and allow life to happen, and unfortunately, in life, death does happen.
My mediation also told me that I needed to allow myself to grow. While well-intentioned friends show concern about my mental state, the fact is that growing and shifting. I'm not the all-night long party girl that I've been known to be. I'm moving into a different space in life, and that is okay. I may again one day become the all-night party girl, but for now I'm opting to be more withdrawn, and I have to allow myself to feel that and be okay with it. When I woke up thinking about the Jazz Fest, my thoughts were that rather than crash a friend's blanket and hang around all day, I'd probably quietly drop in and see my favorite acts, say hello to a few faces, and quietly withdraw again. And I'll allow myself to do that. No guilt in allowing myself to alter how I choose to live my life. And that is the ultimate freedom.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Rejection Letter

I met a guy the week after Pete died. He was nice enough, and when he asked for my number I told him that I'm going through a grieving process and told him that if we'd exchanged numbers, I'd reach out more via text than actual phone calls. He said he would be fine with that. After a delay, really from my own shit, I decided it was time to emerge and spend some time out of the house with a new person. Surprisingly, I had a great time with him. The alcohol certainly didn't hurt. Man, I was lit! I laughed and giggled, and found myself thinking 'man, you're all right.'

The next morning, I awoke to a "Happy Easter" text message from him at 8:30. I didn't respond. Around noon he sent a text telling me he hoped my day was going well. I responded that I was having a good day nearly an hour later. He immediately texted me back telling me that he wanted to play in my hair again. SEE?! Um... He's doing too much. Granted, the alcohol had me nice and lubricated the night before, but that didn't mean that I was up and ready to introduce all kinds of new people into my space at this moment in time. Here it is nearly noon the next day and I still haven't said anything back to him.
His response followed by my response just indicated to me yet again that I'm just not ready to date. I've made a conscious decision that any man that approaches me will pretty much immediately be met with the "I'm grieving the last dude I was interested in, so no, I won't date you." Honestly, grieving isn't the only issue I'm having, but I like to think that giving my spiel will encourage men to kindly back away from me.

I explained to my home girl "Tanya" about my decision to basically curb new potential suitors with "well, I'm currently grieving the last man I was interested in, so I'm not in a space to date." Tanya surprised me by suggesting that I not offer that to men. She suggested instead that I simply state "thank you, but I'm not interested." I may be impulsive as all hell, but I've definitely worked out my verbal rejection letter to a science. While grief may be about 50 percent of why I don't want to be bothered, there is also the fact that I'm in the process of completing school, job hunting, and realizing I need to zero in on my son more. I just don't have time for bullshit.

Another thing I've realized is that as a woman, guys simply love the challenge of hearing a woman say "I don't want or need a man to come in and fuck my life up." There is nothing a fuccboi (pronounced FUCK BOY) loves more than the challenge of a woman who has declared that she's putting down the pipe. Fuccbois know they ain't shit. But when a woman has stated that she no longer wants to be sidetracked by the shenanigans involved with new penis, fuccbois take that as a challenge to break down her walls, pun intended. I can only think back on the many men that knew the didn't want shit, yet somehow worked their way into my life just to fuck up my progress, or fell down on their knees apologizing for being fuccbois, only to turn around and do the same shit again.

One of the blessings about death on my end here, is that no one wants to hear about it. Lord knows I've stretched the ears of my loved ones to the max with conversations about my departed friend. But people that don't know me and never knew Peter simply aren't going to want to sit around with me as as I cry and go through this process. So I consider it quite a blessing when I say "Sorry, I'm grieving" and men back away. Guys are trying to get in and smash. They aren't trying to bring down their days with my shit. Good. That's the way I'd prefer it. Honestly, I've considered keeping up the story, long after I'm done with this process, simply because I love how it deters would-be fuccbois. I'm sure Pete would be okay with me blaming his death on why I don't want to be bothered with another loser.

Back to Tanya, I told her that I don't owe anyone a pretty explanation for my grief. I don't have to wrap up my feelings in a pretty little bow, just so that the fragile male ego could handle me telling him that I'm not interested. She then said that I could, in fact, be hurting the feelings of men by stating that my grieving means that I'm off the table. I told her that I don't really give a shit how my grieving makes someone else feel, and that stating my loss is, in no way, a statement meant to harm others, but instead explain my mental space. She then told me that if I'm not the offended party, I don't get to say what is or is not offensive. I swear, I'm pissed off again just writing about this shit. Am I seriously supposed to hold back my truth, just to make a man feel good about himself? And in the meantime, have a guy hear me say "no thank you, I'm not dating" so that he can then zoom in on me with the intention of destroying my life?!

I've known Tanya for a few years now, so I know she can be kinda contrary at times. I'm going to chalk this bullshit up to one of those moments. But still. I shouldn't be made to be quiet about who or where I am. And I won't be.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Exestential Crisis II: All That Glitters

So after my near mental break early in the year, I managed to tuck all of my feelings back under my hat after a conversation with Daisy. I appears that these emotions are starting to seep back out. Undeniably Pete's death had a bit to do with where I am now mentally and emotionally, but truth be told, whatever I'm going through seems to be bigger than him.
The day started normally yesterday. I went to a job fair, with no real expectations. As I got there, I walked around, seeing what may work for me. I was happy to find a couple of school districts located way out, which would allow me to live in solitude, as I've been seeking. After the job fair, my colleagues and I went to lunch. As the conversation rolled on to different topics, I told my friends how much I'd like to just flee to a small country town and be free of the simple shit that we experience here. Eventually an impromptu intervention began. My guy friend in the crew, Cliff, went on about my horrible selection in men and how given Pete's substance abuse past, I should have known to steer clear. I reminded him that the fact is that Pete was actually never bad to me. He treated me well and we had a great time together. Yes, he had a past with heroin, but I have never regretted his friendship.

Another friend chimed in that ever since "ya know" happened (I'm not quite sure why his death became unmentionable), I've been in a funk. A third friend commented that it is quite strange that after only 5 months of friendship, I've grieved as hard as I have. As the questions and comments rang out, the tears started falling again. I simply said "I don't know why or how things happened! All I know is that I miss my friend!" Seeing my response, my friends backed off. Thankfully the topic eventually changed, but as we got ready to part, my friends assured me that moving far out is just something temporary in my head.

Little did they know that I've been over this shit since way before Pete's passing. I'm kind of perplexed at things right now. Ironically enough, I feel like Pete would be the one person that I should be talking to because he'd understand exactly where my mind is. I feel like white people are allowed to feel like I do. They're allowed to be over it all and flee and travel and be over simple shit like Instagram models and whatever rapper they're fucking. I feel like black people are supposed to want to move to Atlanta and do brunches and drink mimosas, and hang in fancy black circles. On the other hand, just last night I sat at a presentation given by the Lowery Institute, sat in a room with plenty of well-established people, and sat in on a photo op as the pantry I started was given $5,000. Stuff other people strive for, I live. And I want to give it all back, just to have a simple life. This damned sure isn't what I bargained for.