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.


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Time's Justa Flying

I was vague in my last post. I had to be. I was embarrassed. Pissed off. Ashamed. And more. But now I can share. I was fired from my last job. Not only was I fired, I was fired for some shit I didn't even do. Talk about mind blown. There I was, less than 3 months after I walked with a master's degree, and I was canned for some political shit to cover my former boss's ass.
A few of my friends knew, but none of them knew just how far down the pit of despair I was. They didn't know how much I struggled, not just financially, but mentally. The only thing that kept me getting out of bed was the fact that I had to go pick up hours at my shitty retail side gig to keep my home afloat as I took care of my child. Stuff was starting to look bleak. Upon my firing, many of my colleagues at my former job said they had things they could get me until something else landed in my lap. None of them panned out. I was stuck. I even started driving for Postmates, trying to make extra coins.

It was a perfect cherry on an already bleak year. I'd literally started to compile a list of how much this year had been kicking my ass. George Michael died (I know it was last year, but this just stared my streak of a bad year). Next Nivea died. Then of course, Pete. I broke my ankle. I lost my job. I found out a friend from high school has stage 4 breast cancer. Shit was downright painful. I felt like a dark cloud was following me.

Coincidentally, I'd started chatting with a former classmate who was also looking for a job and told me that she knew nothing of the services in Atlanta. I'd started looking around for her, when I saw an ad for a job in my neighborhood. The zip code was the same as mine, so I figured 'what the hell?' and sent in an application.

A few days later, on a Friday, I got a call for an interview and asked to come in Monday. I went. I was asked to attend a second interview on the following day. I went. I was asked to start the following day. I did.
I got it! I did it!!

So I went from a bureaucratic job, one that required me to work nights and weekends. A job that, truth be told, can be quite dangerous and stressful. To a therapeutic environment where I work with people with substance abuse issues, many of whom have mental illness as well. I work Monday thru Friday, 9 to 5. My job is literally an 8 minute drive from home in the mornings. And 15 minutes in the evenings.

To make things even better, the training that I'm getting right now is incredible. I'll be much more qualified than many of my former coworkers whenever I decide to move on to another job. An added bonus is that in working with substance abuse addicts, I'm able to get another view of the issues that Pete battled. Things I wish I'd known previously, I can now use to help other people. Things I wish I'd said to him. I wish I'd empathized more, or acknowledged how much I really did not understand about his journey with addiction. I still may not completely get it. But at least I get it more now.

I plan to get licensed this spring, something I really wasn't leaning toward previously. I'm a therapist. It is amazing. I honestly look forward to attending work each day. I love looking thru my closet to see what cute outfit I'll put on daily. I love putting on makeup. My coworkers and I get along well. My only gripe is how often we have potlucks, because my ass is getting chubbier.

August 16th, I felt like my life was a mess. I cried. I was angry. I worried. And now here, on November 22th, I feel like I am exactly where I am supposed to be. And it is good.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Figuring It All Out

So my life has taken a turn I damned sure did not expect. I'm okay, and I'm in a good space. I'm having to be more strategic than ever before, which has certainly never been one of my strong suits. But I like this new me. I'm learning new things about myself, and every day I impress myself by seeing how much I've grown. I'm like a whole new woman. I like this Malika.

On the dating end, some how, yet again, Ted has made an appearance. Its kind of wild that he and I are seeing one another again. I thought about it and I realized that he and I have been seeing one another for 2 and a half years now. Sure, its been on and off. But we seem to have an undeniable connection. Lord knows he pisses me off, but he's always on time. I needed him in a real crunch lately (like some borderline life threatening ish), and he came thru like only he could. I love him. Certainly not in love, but love never the less. And as much shit as we talk to one another, I know he loves me too.

I'm getting to see how much this master's degree truly came in handy. I'm currently really grinding to get a better job in my field and I'm amazed how many people are calling me back 1 or 2 days after I submit a resume. So here I am. On my grown woman ish. In demand. Handling it all. Loving my son. Loving myself. I'm finally going to be all right.



Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Searching For the Bright Spot

Smh. I'm in trouble. This time, it honestly wasn't my fault. Granted, I could have and should have done things differently, but I didn't do anything bad or malicious. I just ended up putting myself in a position to be fucked over majorly. This is some bull. I was hopeful initially. Then it fell into anger and rage. I swear, its like I'm going through the stages of grief or something. As I often do as a last resort, I called my father. He told me to look for the bright spot and know and do better next time.
All I could think was "easy for him to say," but then I thought about it. He was right. *sigh* I gotta take this one on the chin.

What would have been a really crappy position for me to be in, encouraged me to look around, and save my own neck, before things got bad. And then lo and behold, a wonderful opportunity opened up that I wouldn't have thought to look for otherwise. I don't think y'all understand how much I freaking hate it when my father is right. So now, I gotta regroup and plan.

I'm going to take advantage of what is in front of me. Yes, I'm being cryptic and I kind of hate cryptic posts, because they reek of "look at me and ask me how I'm doing!" but this isn't one. I've just learned to keep my business to myself. I come here to vent away, so here I am. But I need to get on it. I spent the last day and a half wondering what my next move would be and now the wheels are in motion. Here's to hoping for the best.

Friday, August 11, 2017

It Finally Hit Me

I swear I feel so old lately. I'm sitting here at work in my khaki shorts and sweater (because I work in a building that feels like the Arctic Circle in the middle of August), combing an Anthropologie catalog. I've been on my reflective/old lady ish lately. I'm surprised how much I'm enjoying this. I'm enjoying this subdued life. I think its because I did so much when I was younger, and had so much energy, that I'm more than okay just sitting home and just being.

Yeah, I compared myself to Maya Angelou. What of it?! Anyway, I found myself in my head (yes, AGAIN!) the other day. This one wasn't about Pete though. Well, not as much anyway. I started reflecting on my journey. I mean seriously, it's been a hell of a ride so far. Between my education, my diverse friends, my rambunctious son, the many lovers and loves I've had. My journey has been pretty effing fun. That's when it really freaking it me- none of this would have happened if I'd stayed with my ex, David. Holy shit!

All that time begging, pleading, planning, being mad, hurt, angry, et cetera, et cetera! The woman that I am, the strength, the wisdom, the understanding, the compassion, the bullshit meter, it all came from loving and being let go by the wrong damned man! Like, I'm legitimately THA SHIT because I went through that. I never would have imagined 12 years ago, when I was at my breaking point, that I'd look up and be this wonderful confident woman that I am!! I have so much peace and insight into my life!

I look at who and what I'd be if I was still with him. I look at the opportunities I would have missed out on. So maybe, just maybe, things really do work out for the best in the end. At least they did for me!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Real Love- I Get It Now

So while I don't consider myself "dating" at the moment, I consider myself open to the idea of it. I chatted with a cohort today about a bit of a snag I encountered recently. A gentleman caller and I have been sniffing around one another lately, and he asked me for a favor that I could have easily come through on. I took a moment to consider, but after some deliberation, I declined. I lied to alleviate him expecting me to come through on it. I felt horrible lying, but I realized that in far too many relationships in the past, I started a precedent of being a savior. I'm no longer pulling that shit.

I talked to a female cohort about the situation. Initially she urged me to pull through on the favor, but once I explained my grand lesson of not doing too much too soon, she understood. We both then lamented on our pasts of being superwoman to men that didn't deserve such behavior. As often happens in most conversations about relationships these days, I took it back to Peter. While she said that she still feels that her "one" is out there, I told her that quite honestly, I'd be okay being single a lot longer.

I told her that my time with Pete wasn't about hugs and kisses. It was about how he made me feel. This evening, as I drove home thinking about him, it really hit me- I loved him truly. It wasn't about me being hooked on how good he was in bed. We only got close to having sex once. Our schedules never quite synced up. He wasn't calling me for quickies. We'd agreed that whenever we did link up for coffee, if we got it in, cool. If not, cool too. We never got to have coffee though. Quite honestly, Pete was the first man I'd ever fallen this hard for, who I can say that I never had sex with. Hell, we only even kissed once.

Still, it hit me. I loved how he made me feel. How he hit my spirit. I loved and adored that man, even having never slept with him. He came to see me at work, with that beautiful smile. And he'd sit down across from me and our laughs would fill the hall we shared. And we never got physical. We uttered the words "I love you" but never had sex.

Tonight, in my car, as I shed tears, it occurred to me that the reason I hold him in such high regard is that he was the only man I've ever loved without the manipulation of sex. Our love was real because it wasn't physical. It was spiritual. It wasn't about the urges. Its about how it hits your heart and strikes you. That was when I realized that the next man I love has to be amazing. Wack pickup lines won't do. Dicking me down won't matter. If his soul doesn't speak to mine, then I'd rather wait for the person who will. Pete was the man who taught me what real love feels like. Thank you, Peter.


Monday, July 10, 2017

Another Dream

Wow. Over a month since my last post. Needless to say, I've been busy. I started my new job. It feels crazy to be able to afford all of the things I want and need in life with no problems. Like wow, a valid government work i.d. I get up everyday and go to work, and then 2 weeks later, I get money magically in my account because someone out there thinks I deserve it. How the hell is this my life?

I'm still not really dating. I managed to reconnect with Ted lately. He's a total sweetheart when he's not being a terrible person.Tory even apologized for going ghost on me. I'm still gun shy about the whole thing though. I don't know. I think I've been involved with one guy or another for so long that subconsciously I'm just enjoying being solo. That's the thing. I enjoy this. No stress. No drama. I've got plans for the next 10 years and I'm happy that I don't have outside distractions keeping me from my goals. All I have to focus on is myself and my child. My goals are to save money and travel. So far, all is well for me to be able to do both of those with no problems.

I'll be honest and say that Pete is still a constant for me. But its different now. Its not so much tears, just thoughts and feelings. My new normal is him with me in spirit. Oddly, I'd gone years on end without dreaming or at least remembering my dreams. Since he died, I've had 3 significant dreams that somehow related to my life. The first two related to floods. The other one happened last night. I dreamed about snow. I looked up and out of nowhere, everything was covered in snow. Later in the day, all of the snow was gone. As soon as I could, I looked online for dream interpretation. This is what I found:

To see snow in your dream represents a fresh start or purification of some area of your life. A new feeling of security or a second chance. Experiencing something has come to an end. A new sense of clarity. Alternatively, snow may symbolize spiritual peace and tranquility. 

Negatively, snow may reflect how harsh or cold a cleansing experience is. A very unpleasant new beginning or feeling as though you're being punished. Emotional isolation. Feeling "out on the cold" or like you got a "cold shoulder." A loss, a breakup, or an unpleasant ending of some kind. 

This actually encompasses my life in a few ways. I do feel new. I'm not carrying the weight of relationships, family, friendships, etc. I'm going to work and home. Newly enjoyed interest in my health as well, as I've become a regular at my local gym. I don't know anyone there. I love walking in and being able to simply put on my headphones and work until I'm drenched in sweat. Not a bit of casual conversation that I don't want to entertain. I feel light. No darkness or negativity. But then as the interpretation stated, there is some "emotional isolation" as well. I'm not exactly dying here, but I do have moments of feeling oddly alone. The crazy thing is that its kind of self-imposed. I frequently go off of Facebook. I need quiet. But at the same time, I sometimes feel myself being pushed away by some of the very few people I'm willing to get close to. Its kind of perplexing. But such is life, I guess.

I guess this my life now. I'm surprised at how much I enjoy this. The simplicity of life is oddly welcome, especially after the whirlwind existence I've had up until this point. I'm not one for the night life nearly as much and being alone with a good book is one of my favorite pastimes. Yay progress. At least my dreams suggest it might be.


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 strained 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.