Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Co-Worker Demise

It happened again. Well, not quite the same thing. My co-worker didn't die this time, but it certainly felt like it. A couple of months ago, I'd went to work at a different department within my organization. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I love my current clients, but the lower functioning clients are a bit of a challenge for me. The other department had clients that were a bit higher functioning and more independent. I like that. I enjoy watching clients reason and connect the dots, and the fact is that with lower functioning clients, you do not often get that experience.

The supervisor there is a guy I'll call Roger. Roger has this commanding presence that made me swoon. He understood his clients, because at one point, he'd been in their shoes. I never asked what his ailment was, figuring I had time. At one point, while talking to him, I found myself fooling with my earring, something I don't often do. I thought it was bizarre that I committed this act out of nowhere, and learned that apparently fooling with your ears/earring is a subconscious sign of flirting. *oops* My first day in the other department, Roger pulled me to the side and asked if I enjoyed my day over, and told me the clients loved me. He then asked if I'd be willing to transfer. Hell yeah!! I didn't hear much in the meantime, although we did occasionally check in with one another, and he had me to submit my resume.

I dropped him an email last week, asking him to follow up. That weekend, my current supervisor texted me and asked if I'd be willing to help in Roger's department for the week. I figured Roger reached out and asked for me by name and I felt that I'd use the chance to go over and talk turkey with him. I got to work that Monday and learned that Roger was no longer with the organization. What?! To make matters worse, he was terminated, due to a relapse. I was crushed. It almost felt like when I learned that Pete died. I had to remove myself for a moment. I teared up. I was and am so worried.
So in this case, relapse doesn't refer to substance abuse, it refers to mental health. There were allegations of some inappropriate behavior, in addition to him simply not going to work for a week.What the hell? This simply cannot be the same man that the clients adored. They hung on his every word. He met them where they were and they respected and honored him for that.
Now that I'm temporarily here, they placed me in his old office. This is kind of odd. As I walked in, they had to move some of his items from his desk. Not gonna lie, he won't miss this pen if I borrow it and I'm emptying out the lotion bottle he left here though... Some of the clients see his door open and they walk by to see if he's in here. Its almost like he's dead. I mean, obviously he isn't. At least we hope he isn't. Fact is that no one has talked to him. Clients have asked how and where he is, in addition to what happened, so we just keep it professional and tell them that he's having challenges and needs our prayer/encouragement. His former co-worker told me that he has called Roger, but no response.

When I first got into his office, they had his name on the phone list and was spelled out on his phone. Now it just says "vacant." I only worked with Roger once, but I learned so much about the field and clients from him. He definitely heightened my awareness of working with our population. After one day of working with him, I went back to my old site with a brand new way of tackling and uplifting clients. I'm so thankful to him. I don't know where Roger is right now, but I'm rooting hard for him. He deserves it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Gemini Ruling



I was at a going away party for a friend recently, when a woman, also a Gemini, asked me to describe the two sides to my personality. I paused. I'd suggested in passing who my two sides were, but I'd never seriously considered it until then. Once I thought about it, I realized that my two sides were my mature professional adult, and then my country girl side. Only later on did I consider something glaring- my two opposing sides are a large part of why my dating life is poo.

I kind of miss Steve. We still text on occasion, but he's been busy with school. But that simple question made me realize what I'd missed realizing about Steve- he likes my country girl. He's made for my country girl. The mature professional adult, not so much. My mature professional side works full-time, wears nice clothes, adores my Coach bag collection, makes sure my jewelry matches my outfits. My country girl is barefoot, wants to travel the world and be held to no calendars or clocks.

My issue is that men tend to meet one side of me, and assume that side of me is all there is to know and satiate. Occasionally they'll do something to shut up my other side, not understanding that both sides need to be pleased and stay pleased. When and how just depends on so many things. There will be times I'll meet professional men who see me at work and assume that I'm a regular 9 to 5 woman, assuming that I'm strictly by the book, no frills. Or I'll meet a man drawn to my inner wild child and he won't understand why I expect him to have a regular job (or legal source of employment) and for the most part have his life in check, with the very least, a 5-year plan.

And looking back, THAT was my issue with Steve. He'd be great for chopping wood, campfires, road trips, fishing, or playing at the beach all day. But if we start talking about mortgages, 20-year plans, or a lot that boring, adult shit, he'd melt. My old standby, Fred, is much the same way. Spontaneity is is middle name, but if you ask him a 10-year plan, he can give you a generic answer, with nothing to back it up or prove he's working toward it.
On the opposite end, my old (sometimes) flame, Ted (total coincidence that Fred and Ted rhyme), barely tolerates my country girl. The idea of random ass road trips practically give him the heebee jeebees.

The facts is that most men that I meet either fall on one end of the spectrum, and they are often even attracted to the opposite side. For instance, I've learned not to date deeply religious men. It baffles me that they often like me, but I've figured it out. They are typically drawn to my bad girl side that is unapologetic and doesn't answer to anyone. But then as time goes on, they always want to go back to their religious side, and they expect me to settle down with them. Not a chance. Or the bad boy is drawn to the side of me that pays bills and goes to work 5 days a week and works toward a decent quality of living. But then they get annoyed when they want to run the streets and throw caution in the wind, and I have to remind them that I am expected at work at 8am.

So I think I'm learning a bit more about myself in this process. I guess I need a man who is split down the middle like myself. Except no more Geminis. Pete was a Gemini, and he's one of the few men who ever sparked both sides of Inner Malika. But we all know there will never be another Pete. But now I have to have a man who caters to both of my polar sides.

At least now I know.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

The Betrayal- My Armoire


Ain't this some shit. I liked him. I swear I did. I wore myself out, trying to find ways that he could fit into my life. And I broke things off with him. I broke it off with Steve *sigh* I kinda hate telling my friends why, because it makes me sound like a bitch, but I'm totes not a bitch. So here's the reason- I asked him to move my armoire, he mucked it up, and I ended it. See? I sound like a bitch, right? But it runs much deeper than that.
Story:
My amazing neighbor, Lisa, is moving soon. I'm going to help Lisa with the move, and she was kind enough to gift me her armoire, as the thing is huge and heavy. The only thing Lisa asked is that I get the damned thing moved. Enter Steve. To give some insight here, Lisa and I both live on the bottom floor of our apartments. We share the same building, but are on opposite sides. Steve and I stopped in to do a recon mission to find the best way to get it moved. We sized it up, and Lisa and I both agreed that the easiest would be from her sliding glass door to my sliding glass door. To give a bit more detail, to come from the parking lot, one would have to go up and down narrow steps to enter our homes. So sliding glass door single level, no steps, right?
Two days later, Steve gets ready to move it. To make a long story short, he took the steps. He dropped the armoire, got scratches on it, smashed a handle, smashed my door, broke off my banister. I was okay when he texted me and told me the mirror broke. But he damned sure left off the other damages. I took one look at this poor armoire and knew it was over. I'll be honest, I was enraged. I genuinely could not figure out how two grown men messed this thing up so bad. I dunno, it just showed poor decision-making to me. I mean we talked about it, we had a plan. And despite the weight, height, and narrow space, the decision was made to go the more difficult way. I guess at this stage in my life, I want a man who is capable of handling stuff.

That wasn't the only thing. I feel like he didn't always listen to my needs. I've been requesting an actual date for forever. Not fucking calling me at 10 o'clock at night and asking me to meet him at a bar. I'm not opposed to the bar scene, but bars should not take the place of a nice night out every now and again. Or the fact that I explained numerous times that I hate being cold and had no desire to go swimming at 12 o'clock at night (cuz its cold!) but it didn't stop him from asking me frequently. Never did I get a call at 4pm, saying "hey, when you get off work (and the sun is still shining and its hot outside), meet me at the pool." I just felt like he didn't recognize that as a full-time mother with a full-time job, I need more than just random meetings. Make me a fucking priority and plan a date.
There was another issue. It kind of involved a personal space issue. I think that in his mind, it was good-natured teasing. In my mind it was irritating as shit. I've had abusive guys in my past who found it cute to do things that genuinely bothered me, so I have a special sensitivity to men that bypass my feelings to do rude things because "its funny." It isn't funny. I don't like it. And I shouldn't have to tell you 3 separate times to knock it off.

So here we are. I know Steve is sorry. He plans to fix the armoire. Perhaps he will, but honestly I doubt it. I dunno, maybe he'll prove me wrong. The armoire is still in my living room and I get annoyed every time I view it. One of my friends described Steve as a "drinking guy." He is. He has a few beers with his guys and enjoys life. Certainly not mad at that. But that isn't the life I lead. And not knocking that life, but it isn't me.

Steve and I still text on the occasion. Perhaps we'll patch things up, but I dunno. It ain't completely over, but it ain't looking good. Its so much bigger than the armoire. The armoire is just a physical manifestation of where things are. I'm looking for a partner. A rider. A man who meets me where I am. I man who I don't have to remind frequently of the big and small things that I need. A man that can move an armoire.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Explaining Myself

I'm not really one to explain myself. I've always kind of done things my own way in my own time, so the idea of having to tell someone why I do what I do irks the shit out of me. And I think that's why Steve bugs me. I said earlier that my fear is that people will think Steve is my "white guy band-aid for Pete" but he isn't. I just can't help but to think that a woman that looks, acts, thinks, and was raised like me is not supposed to have a thing for this country bama. But I do.

I wasn't prepared for the hostility that comes with it. With the looks of disappointment I get from Black men and the looks of anger I seem to get from other people. I don't explain myself. I don't have to. But when my loved ones (particularly Black men) give me a laundry list of how wrong it is for me to date a white man, I want to give a 10 minute summary. I want so badly to shout "IDIDNTLIKEWHITEGUYSBEFOREBUTMYCOWORKERPETEWASAMAZINGANDITOPENEDMYEYESTODATINGALLKINDOFMENISTILLLOVEBLACKMENBUTSTEVEGETSMEANDIDATEDMANYBLACKMENBEFORESTEVEANDISTILLLIKEANDLOVEBLACKMENPLEASEJUSTBEHAPPYFORME!!!"

But I can't. Because that would be explaining. And I don't do that. So I'm just stuck here. Being happy for me. Yikes.


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Jamie Foxx and Katie Holmes

Stuff is going good with Steve. I mean damned good. We had some issues before, but we managed to hash most of it out. We haven't spent much time together, due first to our schedules, then he up and got bed bugs, so he hasn't been home much, and I've got house guests, so no alone time on that end either. I think about him often. We share the most random of jokes. We've discussed moving in together, to the point of sending one another links to properties we'd like to see. I've met his family, he's met my brother and I've talked about him to Stepmommy. Considering spending Thanksgiving with him at my best friend's home. We mesh. We blend.
I was out with friends lately, when I messed around and got a bit more tipsy than I needed to be. I devised a plan to walk to a local spot from where I was to buy some food to sober up so I could drive home. In passing I texted Steve to mention that I'd gotten drunk. He immediately texted me back to ask if I was okay to drive, and even encouraged me to take a Lyft home and he'd pay me back. Then out of nowhere he texted me "I love you." He'd been flirting with the idea of saying it, but he never had. Shit, I still haven't said it. Been nearly a year now, and I still haven't. This is undeniably the longest I've been in uttering that.

But anyway, it completely freaked me out. My best friend, Sky, happened to be across the room and saw my face when it was read. My heart raced. Palms got sweaty. I was definitely an Eminem rap battle. I didn't respond. I kinda felt it at the time, but just wasn't ready to face it yet. Not yet.

I was on the phone with my cousin recently when I began to gush about Steve. I told her that he's unlike anyone else in how he dotes on me and doesn't just care about me, he cares for me. Hurricane Michael is roaring up the coast and he just texted me to ask if I have eggs and milk (its a Southern thing, don't ask). My cousin and I both talked about our shying away from commitment with our respective men, when I began to say "yeah, I llll-" then I caught myself. Shit, I almost said it. Whew, Ice cold, Malika, Ice cold. (Outkast reference).

So what I have neglected to mention to my blog and most of the world is that Steve is white. It pains me something bad though. It burns because the fact is that I don't like Steve because he's white, I like him in spite of it. But my fear is that people who know me will assume that he's just a "white guy band-aid after Pete," but he's not. Pete was never meant to be a boyfriend or permanent fixture of any sort, other than friendship. I've dated several black men in the year and half since Pete died (has it really been that damned long?!) Steve is funny (in a dad joke kinda way), he's kind (almost stupidly so), he's supportive, affectionate, a hard worker, and he's someone that gets me for who I am. I've found myself as the object of so many men's desire, only for them to falter once they realize that I am a real live woman, with emotions and feelings. Like who does that, right? Plenty of men. And whether I'm done up in work clothes, or wearing sweats, Steve makes me feel like a princess. Steve isn't Pete. Steve is Steve. And that's all that matters to me.

Normally by now I would have gone public with him (at least on Facebook), but the fact is that I know many of my Facebook friends would have shit to say, and I'm just not trying to entertain it. I genuinely spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to introduce Steve to my world, but then it occurred to me- Jamie Foxx and Katie Holmes.

These two have been rumored to be together for years. Not just months- YEARS. Rumor mill says that they've had to be mum due to Katie's prenup, or some jazz. As of late, a few more pics of them out in public have began to surface. But its all speculation. No one can say anything, because no one knows anything. And that's the life I'd like to lead. No one on Facebook can say shit if I'm not posting pics and being all out there with my dating life. I even found myself wondering if Jamie and Katie would have made it if they'd been public about things early on. I think back on it, and I highly doubt it.

Last night, I lay in bed and it occurred to me that if I got married, I'd do a Vegas wedding. Nothing huge, maybe a few friends fly out with us as we say "I do's." Fuck Malika, what are we thinking?! Then, being the dumbass I am, I texted Steve and said "If we got married, I'd want to do it in Vegas or Reno." Steve immediately texted me back and said he'd want to do it in Vegas and he'd want an Elvis there. We talked timeline- I said 8 years, so my son would be out of high school. He texted back suggesting 8 years is too long. 2 years? I suggested a possible 5. The night wore on and I got tired. We tabled the discussion.

This morning, I looked at my Facebook page (naturally) to find this post I'd made before. I dunno, maybe this is a sign? Or maybe not? 

"I don't know a lot of happily married couples, but as I get older and observe the ones I do see, I've learned that marriage takes hard work, compromise and dedication. If you go into a serious relationship or marriage with absolutely no desire to be loyal or dedicated, you're wasting everyone's time. You can't go in thinking 'I'll be me until the day I die and I refuse to change.' Both parties have to want it and be willing to work for it."

Like everything else, I'll let time play this one on out.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Excited

Life is ever evolving. So much. So soon. To say that I went through a rough patch is a bit of an understatement. But I'm better. Much better. Up until recently, I still felt ready to meet my end. I can say that I'm still ready now, but I'm ready and willing to live every moment until my end to the best of my ability.
So many things I have experienced recently have me finally looking forward to upcoming things. I will have the chance to serve people the way I wanted and not how they wanted me to. I can take that opportunity to make money for myself. I can start writing again and focus on the topics I want to focus on. I'm ready to party. I'm ready to travel more.
Steve is still in the mix (I fell back from the other guy) but this isn't even about Steve or any man. I'm not depressed, I'm excited and optimistic. I'm ready to see what life has for me next. I'm finally ready.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

The Impasse: Why I Need My Therapist

Life is pretty good. Overall, no complaints. The job is well. My son is doing absolutely amazing to the point where I'm damned near wondering if he's really my child. Steve is still in the mix. He absolutely adores me and this is quite a new feeling. It feels good to be with him. So natural. Except-
I recently exchanged numbers with a guy, whom I like. I don't have nearly the connection to him that I have to Steve. He actually reminds me a lot of Freeman, in D.C. He's professional, together, logical, practical. Everything I've needed in my life up to this point. Before my total reset with Pete's death, this guy, Daniel, would be the first guy I'd be trying to marry. Sometimes I feel like I need a man like Daniel in my life. Someone strong, organized, a planner. A man who knows that I'm bat shit insane, but is willing to just ride with that.

He's not Steve. The idea of a Steve didn't come to me after Pete's death. A woodsman, nature lover, easy going, good ole boy who is all about going with the flow. No need for rings and titles, we just do what is. Sometimes I feel like I could spend a lot more time with Steve.

I met up with a guy friend yesterday who reminded me that I have until roughly the age of 45 to figure out what the hell I want. Do I want to be the eternal bachelorette, afraid and unwilling to settle down, but deeply alone underneath it all? Or do I want to be settled and trying my best to make myself happy, despite wanting to just date around? I don't know.
I can't help but to feel like these two men represent various parts of my psyche. Part of me is a raging hippy, who just wants to sit by a lake barefoot and watch the days stroll by. The other part of me wants to progress, organize, save money and have the next 30 years of my life planned out. It isn't just about the screwing around, its about the other stuff too. Do I want the big house, the plans, the guy who is going to hold me accountable and make me responsible? Shit yeah!! Do I want the guy who goes swimming in the middle of the night, who I can call with the most random and weird of stuff, who seems to actually enjoy when I fall further into my web of weirdness? Absolutely!!

This all goes back to my therapist. Its funny that when I was meeting with her, we were there because of my deep-rooted mommy issues, but she was able to observe my inability to commit to one man. Then I went back to her after Pete's death. Its been over a year, but I'm ready to go back. She warned me that if I saw her afterward, we'd have to deal with my parents. I think I may be ready.

I happened upon my therapist in a Facebook group that I'm a part of, and I took it as a sign that its time for me to tackle this shit once and for all. She doesn't take insurance, and despite it all, I'm willing to pay cash for her. I'm comfortable with her and she knows me. She knows my quirks. Knows what I need to work on. Knows that I have so much resentment toward my mother, that if I focus on it too hard, my whole life falls into a shambles.

But I can't walk this tightrope forever. Or can I?

Monday, August 6, 2018

In the Now

Holy shit, have I really been blogging for 10 years?! My God!! Welp, its official, I gotta keep this going. Life is, well, its life. The job is still here (thank God) although I may be falling back from my part-time job soon. The biggest transition is the car accident that I was in on June 8th (coincidentally, Pete's birthday).

Leading up to that point, Steve and I had restarted our friendship, but barely. I was skittish and still feeling some kind of way about the fact that I had to practically beg him to enter a relationship with me, yet 2 weeks after we broke up, he had a new girlfriend. I knew that he still carried a flame for me, but I refused to play the side-chick, so I kept him at arm's length. He'd always promised to take me fishing one day, so out of no-where, I texted to ask him when he'd take me. That was when he broke the news that his grandfather had been killed that morning in a house fire. My heart broke for him. Sure, I may have been kind of salty about how things happened, but I knew that Steve adored his grandfather and he spend most of his waking time at the family home. Like I tend to do for friends in crisis, I made myself available for Steve during that time. He was surprised that I was there for him.

The same day of his grandfather's funeral, I'd just gotten paid and decided that I needed to buy a few things for my son. On my way home, I saw a truck veering down a hill, with sparks flying from it. I watched as a tire rolled down the hill and hit my car. It knocked the front bumper off and really shook me up. My arm was achy. Thankfully the kid was okay, neither of us had real pain at the time. As we went to the hospital, there were two people I wanted more than anyone- Steve and my stepmommy. Stepmommy was at the hospital when we arrived.

While in the hospital, I was given a muscle relaxer that did me right. Steve came by my home with his cousin and chatted with me about the whole thing that night. They both chuckled about how clearly out of my head I was from the muscle relaxer. When it was time to part, Steve put his arm around me and walked me down the steps into my apartment, to make sure I didn't trip and fall. That's the thing about Steve- he's always been the kind of man to make sure I was okay. I'd always felt that if I ever got sick or injured, he'd be the man who would help to take care of me. Now there he was, in his own little way, making sure that I was good. The next day, he followed up by asking me if I needed him to send a pizza over for my son. Not even for me, but for The Boy. I'm not sure if Steve knows how much that will always warm my heart.

As time went on, he and I just continued to kind of lean on each other. I was without a car, and he grieved. Two days after the accident, I also realized that I'd had a concussion when I developed a deep stutter. I hated it. I was so depressed and angry. I was just driving down the damned street, and suddenly my car was gone, I was achy, and I had a brain injury. I felt useless. I hated that I couldn't have a conversation without getting tongue-tied. I felt like a moron. Steve made me feel beautiful.
We definitely got closer, but I remained conscious of the fact that Steve had a girlfriend. He never thought it was much of a thing, but I saw how much his children needed him, the mothers of his children needed him, compounded with a girlfriend to answer to. A constant statement I made to him was "you don't have room for me."

He eventually broke up with her. We still spend time together. Sometimes I think about getting back with him. But then I remember that things fell to shit when we got together the first time and it makes me nervous. So we stay in limbo. I battled a stomach bug for the last two days and he came over last night and gave me an i.v. drip (he works in the medical field). I flinched like a bitch, but he looked me in the eye and he was firm but gentle. I needed that.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Moving Forward

This isn't getting any easier. Her name is Celeste and I went to high school with her. Although she was only there a number of months before she transferred elsewhere, we bonded and kept in touch even after she switched schools. She got pregnant right after high school, and had her daughter the following April. Celeste and I were pretty thick. Running the streets, chasing boys, she was my road dog, even after she had her daughter.

Eventually Celeste got pregnant a second time, and the family she had here sent her back home to Illinois. That was the last I'd seen of Celeste for a long while, even though we managed to stay in touch via social media. She got heavily involved in activism in her area, and I was pretty impressed and amazed that even though we'd led separate lives in separate cities, we maintained similar interests. She began the Clear Book Bag Initiative, which sought to give children clear book bags, filled with school supplies, all while I worked toward the food pantry at the Atlanta University Center.

A little under a year ago, I'd seen posts on Celeste's Facebook page, in an album she created called C-Journey. I called her immediately and asked what was up. She told me then that she'd been diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. Coincidentally, about 3 days before she told me, I'd read an article about what to say if someone tells you they have cancer. The article suggested not making the patient's diagnosis about you (so no getting emotional and focusing on your own sadness and potential loss as the other person has to console you, despite them being the one with the actual sickness). Also, no offering examples of the person you know that was magically cured from cancer. Essentially, let the patient talk, let them lead the conversation. So that's what I did. I didn't cry while I was on the phone with her. I didn't offer miracle solutions. I just listened, told her how sorry I was and offered my help. Her words were then, "I've made peace with it."
I spent about 3 days in a funk. I cried, I was angry. I planned to drive up to see her one day. At the time, the job I had paid shit, so there was no way I could have afforded to miss work AND drive up. I was robbing Peter to pay Paul. I swore I'd eventually find a way up. Like it always seems to do, life got in the way.

I'd occasionally text Celeste to check in. She'd text back, but not really say much. Her posts on Facebook got fewer and fewer. People would post on her page, and there would be silence. No response from her, no likes or anything. I observed this, and hoped for the best. One day, I decided to call her. Her phone was disconnected. I knew how to find out what I needed to know. I typed "Celeste ### Obituary."

She was gone.

She'd been dead for about a month by then. I guess I'd gotten all of my tears out by then. I didn't cry much. Just focusing. How could a woman my age get Stage 4 breast cancer? She's not old because I'm not old. Also focusing on her children. She left 4 daughters. When she gave birth to her first daughter, she made me a god-mother. I had no earthly idea that I would be called in to step up to the plate one day.

Over the years, her daughter and I didn't communicate at all. I'd see her pictures on her mother's Facebook page, but being that she was graduating high school and I hadn't seen her since she was an infant, I thought that contacting her before would be a tad out of place. But now things are different. Now she is a 19-year-old young lady in college who's mother died a couple of months ago from cancer. Yeah, this is a good time to reach out to her.

As all people do when reaching out to new people in 2018, I inboxed her on Facebook. I introduced myself, telling her that I was a good friend of her mother's when she was born, and asking to meet up with her one day. She reached out to me and said that would work for her.

It was kind of odd initially (for her, I think, not really for me). I picked her up from her god mother's house (lol apparently I was replaced over the years). She was as beautiful as I remembered. Very sweet. Mannerable. Reserved. We sat down, and I told her that I knew her mother from high school and that I was hanging with her mother around the time that she got pregnant and asked if she had any questions for me.

She did have a few. I had her do the math and explained that her mother got pregnant with her essentially right after high school. I explained to her the situation regarding her sister's birth. She asked about her sister's father and I told her what I knew. The daughter told me how she'd lived with her father for the first few years of her life, before she moved back with her mother. She shared that things were rough with her mother. I explained to her that being a single mother of 4, who started having children at a young age, was probably a challenge and that at the end of the day, we all do the best we can.

I teared. Her daughter teared slightly, and admitted that our conversation was the first she'd had about her mother in depth, since she died. I laughed and told her that I'd just put all of her mama's business in the streets. Then I started to wonder, did I do the right thing? My intention wasn't to be gossipy. I just knew that her daughter would want answers. My mama is living (she's dead to me, but that's a different story entirely), but yeah, I'd want answers.

So Celeste is gone. No more impassioned Facebook posts. No more plans to drive to Illinois. Now I have to do everything in my power to make sure the young lady gets out of college. Celeste would have wanted that. That's why I'm the god mother.



Thursday, May 31, 2018

Trapped

I'd set my trip to Cali for July. I've wavered on this, so I bought the damned ticket to force me to go. And now that I'm roughly 6 weeks away from this trip, I get a lump in my chest whenever I think about it. I need money. I need time. I need this fucking vacation in the worst way possible.

I've blogged extensively about my dating life, to the point of where I'm bored talking about and reading about it. I'd dated my neighbor, Steve, for roughly 3 months, and it fell about after we'd been official for about 3 weeks. I just couldn't deal with some things. So he asked me what I wanted (he really should have just given me time to sort out my thoughts, but he demanded an answer, and my answer was that I wanted out). Crazy enough, I know he still likes me. We're still in communication, but that ship has sailed. There was another guy I'd liked and we were seeing each other for a month. Then he pulled some bullshit. So I got the hell on and won't look back (at least after he fixes my car).

One of my good friends has decided that she's going to keep this one non-essential bullshit relationship going because she can't stand to be alone. And while I love my friend, I just don't know if I can do this. Its one thing to cheerlead a friend through the bumps and bruises of getting to know a new person. But its a whole different monster to listen to a friend cry for the 30th fucking time over someone who has proven time and time again that they are not able to be who and what you need them to be. I'm really torn here. As a person who has spent many years of my life chasing non-available men, I get it. But as a woman with this newfound clarity regarding not wasting my life energy on vampires, its hard as hell to watch and continue lending time and energy to this. I feel fucking drained.

As of late, I've found myself extending my self to people that are emotionally in need. Some are dealing with mental illness, leaving abusive relationships, physically ill... and I love each of these people immensely. I'm just finding myself unable to give as much as I once could. A part of me feels guilt, because I wish other people had this same level of clarity and I'd like to bring them here with me. But a part of me feels like my own load is pretty heavy, so I can't get you where you need to go.

Plus I work in the field of mental illness, which can be exhausting itself. I took myself off of Facebook for a while. I just need to figure me out.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Current Struggles

It has been a year since he died. I was good. Not quite great, but pretty freaking good! Then that damned anniversary came. That day was like ripping off an old bandage. My pain isn't quite as raw, and I'm not having to limp through a semester of grad school this time around (thank God), but this is still rough. This time of last year, he was gone, and I was grieving. I was starting to give a long, hard look at my whole life. The men I was seeing, the goals I'd set for myself, career objectives... and most of those things are in a better space, but my fear of commitment continues to linger.

I'm blessed in many ways. My job could be better, but my bennies are awesome, hours are great, my boss is a godsend, my coworkers are incredible. The clients can be challenging, but the good news is that I have decided that the next leg of my career needs to be a focus on clients with substance abuse. I currently work in mental health, and while some of my clients are easy to love, others take a bit more patience on my part. My previous job allowed me to work with clients in substance abuse, and I loved watching them process their emotions and grow. My current clients have a different set of challenges, so I'm having a hard time mustering the same amount of passion. But nevertheless, my goal is to stay here and do my very best.

So from this point last year, things are great. But I still ache in some ways. I've had a few admirers. I know, good men, are available to me. The problem has been that I had such passion with Pete. I lit up every time I saw him. My colleagues ragged on me like we were in high school. One of them knew something was up before I even said anything. She said that she spotted us talking one day and could feel the energy between us. Dating was easy before I had that. I had no clue what I was missing. It was nice to be with a man who could show me bits and pieces of his life without being condescending and snotty. I get sick of having to dress men up and explain things, or being talked down to. Why can't we just share mutual interests?

My friend Portia has been beyond patient in listening to me rage on about wanting to finally meet the man I can share my life with. The issue is that every damned time I tell myself that I'm ready, my fear of commitment rears its ugly head. I've really fought this part of my existence, but it may be time for me to get some therapy. My mommy issues run DEEP. I knew I was fucked, and I've dealt with it in various ways, but it may really be time to take this head on.

I told myself that I was ready to get back on that horse and try again. I was wrong. So wrong. I need to emotionally retreat again. I need to recenter. This time isn't about Pete though. It's about me. I need to design my next step in life. I need to focus on me.

Friday, March 16, 2018

I Made It

I made it. One year since he died. Life, did what it does, it went on. I feel like I should be more reflective. Lord knows I was a mess on the actual day. Like a dummy, I scheduled myself to do a CPR training at work on the anniversary. I left the room crying, explained to my trainer why I couldn't possibly stomach talking about heart attacks on that day. He let me go and agreed to reschedule for next month.


I've been sort of in "fuck you" mode lately. I ran into a guy that managed to stop talking to me TWICE when he got married to different women. Wasn't my dude or anything, just a good friend. He tried to hit me up recently. I curbed his ass and blocked him. Things went well with Steve, and then he admitted to me that the whole time we were dating he was torn between me and his ex. I put his ass on ice and blocked him. I suspected that my former stalker was trying to go through someone else's page to see what I'm up to. Blocked bitch.


My life is no longer about keeping up frivolous relationships and friendships. I'm possibly going to lose someone I really adored over some foul shit she did. And how do I feel about it? BYE. The time of reflection after he passed showed me where I was fucking up. The people around me were more quantity than quality. I'm okay with my own presence. I'm funny. Fun. Smart. And all around an amazing individual. I see now that there is nothing wrong with blocking out people who just don't serve me, especially when I've always served them. Yep. I finally get it.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

bleh

Things are looking up. So I should be happier. I'm just in this constant state of wtf, wading on through, waiting for it all to make sense.


I met a guy in early November, who happened to be a neighbor of mine, in a different apartment complex. We hit it off immediately, and were as thick as thieves. After 2 months of dating, I started to lay the pressure, and told him that we should kick it up a notch. He heed and hawed. For a week, he went back and forth. During that week, I was sure I'd had enough. I remember Jarronn's last words to me where he told me that he knew his wife was the one because things with her were "just easy." That became my reaching point for a relationship. I needed it to be "just easy." Perfection was never my goal, but I needed us to be on one accord. And this dude going back and forth for a week told me that this wouldn't be easy. If a dude needed a week to figure out how he felt about me, I already knew to keep it pushing. My time in reflection after Pete's death only strengthened that notion.


After the week was up, he came back and told me he wanted a relationship. Unfortunately by then, I had checked out. However, because I'd lain so much pressure on him to do the damned thing, I felt I owed it to him to see how things would go. Roughly 3weeks in, I knew it was a no go. The issue was that he wasn't a bad person. No, quite the contrary. I just felt like he had some personal shit he had to work through (common theme among men I seem to be attracted to). I wanted to stay friends while we just worked on getting to know one another more, and check back in later.. He didn't like that for an answer and pretty much forced me to choose him or stay away.




I chose the latter.


There have been things going on with him since then. But I remain firm in my faith that I don't need drama. I have faith that there is a man who isn't riddled with personal problems who can hang out without insecurity, guilt, mommy/daddy issues, and low self-esteem.


In the other part of my life, I'm loving my new job. My boss is awesome, my coworkers are amazing, the clients are adorable, and my schedule is outstanding. I love getting my ass home at a decent time. My "nigga we made it!" moment came when I walked into my new office. The job I was fired from had cubicles. The job I just left had us sharing offices and bouncing from office to office on a daily basis. But I finally got my own office. I have a door. A full fucking door! Okay, whatevs, I'm easy to please. I'll own that. The key to this office has me feeling like I run this place. Clearly I don't, but still.


On another note, I'm rounding out the time of the first anniversary of Pete's death. Last winter was a rather tame one, so whenever I experience warm winter days, I think of seeing Pete in passing at work, on the walkways that connect buildings. When I got my office, one of the first things I did was print out a pic of him to keep on my wall. I know it sounds crazy, but I like the thought of feeling like he's here with me, especially since he was so passionate about the field of social work and mental health. I often practice in my mind what I'll say on Facebook on the first anniversary of his death.


Will I talk about the first time he and I met? Will I talk about that time he saw me in a colleague's office and came in and chatted with me for 15 minutes? Will I talk about the time we admitted to being attracted to one another? Will I talk about the moment my world shattered and I learned he was gone? Or will it be how my life has completely deviated since then? Maybe it will be a combination of all? I honestly don't know.


But I'm in a space now. An odd space. Sometimes I feel like I'm just floating till I get this shit in order.

Monday, January 1, 2018

New Year, New... I Don't Even Know Anymore

Last year kicked my ass so much. A man I loved died. Found out via Facebook that an old college friend had died from cancer and was buried two weeks before I read her post. Learned another girlfriend of mine currently has Stage 4 cancer. I lost a job. Broke my ankle. Finally over my shiznit with Fred. Got another job that I love so much, yet recently realized that I'm paid way less than I thought I did. Met another guy, a great guy who I had a whirlwind romance with a man who made me feel like a princess. And now, despite me liking what we had initially, I'm starting to wonder if I should let this go and move on to something a better fit for me. *sigh*
I try to spice things up in my life around the New Year and set new goals, as do a lot of people. In the past I dedicated myself to eating healthier, exercising more, etc. This year, for the first time in my life, I'm trying to focus way more on my money. Not just the pursuit, maintenance of it as well. I've got some major changes to look at in the next few years, and I need the money to be right for those to go as planned. Not only that, I'm so tired of being the broke friend. Granted, my support system is amazing, and I'm blessed to have people that understand that I'm doing the best I can. But still, I want to be able to give back to them what they've given to me.

I don't know what to expect with 2018. I sure as heck didn't expect 2017 to go anywhere near what it did. Quite truthfully, even with the broken ankle and lost job, what marred most of my 2017 remains and always will be the death of Pete. I can't help but to marvel at how one of the worst things to ever happen to me, as also been one of the best things to happen to me.

Pete's death brought not just anger, tears and confusion, it also brought clarity, insight and peace. The thing is, had Pete lived, we would have had one or two nights of passion and gone about our merry ways. I would have kept doing the same mindless things, seeking happiness in a shallow existence.  Before he passed, I used to imagine us meeting up in some old cafe, 15 years into the future and sharing how our lives had been over the years. I never could have imagined that I only had a few months with him.

When I met him, I really was a different woman. Flitting from casual relationship to casual relationship- no thoughts or ideas of real commitment. Which, also ironically enough, is part of what drew he and I together. Neither wanted kids or marriage. We just wanted to have a good time. My future consisted of political pow wows. Had he not died, I'm pretty sure I would have been front and center of this year's mayoral race, gathering support for Vincent Fort, or at the very least, championing for affordable housing in Atlanta.  
Once Pete died, as the dust started to settle, my goals and priorities shifted. Didn't give a shit about fancy purses or politically connected friends. I started to think more about what I wanted for my life. Now I have a completely different agenda, a whole new outlook on life even. I may still get my hands wet in the political activism arena, but in a different way.

In a way not quite as Pete related, losing my job also was a huge blessing, although I didn't see it at the time. Truth is, I'd only taken the gig because it was there. After years of plugging away in graduate school, I didn't want to spend months and months of interviews and selling myself. I wanted a job and by that point, I knew I'd take whoever took me. I'd even interviewed where I interned and was rejected. I was hurt, even a tad embarrassed. Crazy enough, when I interviewed for that job, their fear was with my degree, I'd leave for a therapy job the second it opened up. I assured them that was not the case, as I had no interest in therapy. I thought it was too much work. Shit, I just wanted a job and assured them that if given the chance, I'd commit for at least a year, which they'd requested. Still I didn't get it. Enter the next to job, where I was fired unfairly. Which led me to interview for a case management position, which then promoted me into a therapist anyway. With a renewed interest in substance abuse because of Pete, I was able to have and obtain more insight on addicts in recovery, which most of my clients are. See how that all worked out? Enter Malika, the Therapist.
So yeah, what next? No damned clue. Keep a closer eye on making, and keeping my money. I may have another job lined up, only because it pays more. But I'm crunching numbers to see which one benefits me more. Which lines my pockets now, and gives me the experience I need for the next branch of my career journey? I'm also keeping an eye on my new guy, Steve. For 2 months, it was a fairy tale. Last two weeks, not so much. One of my girlfriends posed, "what if you only met his representative?" Which is a possibility. And if it is, I'm out. No need to stay in an unhappy situation. And what if shit was just thrown because of the holiday? A possibility too. I'm not all that vested either way. I'm too busy chasing coins.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Malika the Therapist

In my previous position, and seemingly, my previous life, I was a case manager. In my current role I have a different title. I am a therapist. I get to conduct groups, as well as have one on one sessions with clients. I act as a case manager as well. I use a lot of my Buddhist teachings to guide me in practice, much as they do in life. What blows my mind is when I say something, matter-of-factly, to a person and I can watch their wiring connecting in their head to apply what I'm saying to their life. Like damn, I'm really able to make a difference here, and I get to watch that difference play out.


Last month, I met with a client who'd told me early on that her previous husband had died, and she even fell into tears when talking about him. I asked my supervisor and others if they knew anything of this. None of them did. Last week, we started discussing her husband, and I explained to her, point blank, that she was not the reason her relationship went bad. I explained that many women who were far more successful on the surface were also guilty of picking horrible partners. She smiled and said "really?!" She had no clue that it wasn't just her, it was a common occurrence across races, ages, educational and income levels. She even admitted to me that she'd made up his death in her head, to ease the pain of her abusive relationship and its demise.

I had another client, who'd started telling me about his time as a drug user in the streets and how other people only came around when he had drugs to share with them. He talked about the pain of losing his wife and he cried, right there in my office. When our session was over, he said that was the most he'd talked about his life in years.

I was charged with running a group about grieving and I showed a YouTube Ted Talk video where a woman talked about allowing people to grieve and live as they needed to in order to heal. Of course no one knew how much that video helped me in my personal life. After the group, members shared how much they appreciated hearing the woman say that there is nothing wrong with grieving and using that grief to spur happiness within ourselves and others.

I did that. Me. I even found myself able to help a girlfriend who's mother stopped talking to her after a huge family situation that involved her brother stabbing her husband to death. It feels so good to have purpose in life. To finally be making sense. To take my personal turmoil and use it to help other people that are able trying to get their lives together. In no way am I taking credit for the work that other people are doing for themselves. But it feels damned good to be a "peace" of their puzzle.