Monday, January 14, 2019

Welcome to the Club, I'm Sorry You're Here

Friday when I left work was like most others. Relaxing and decompressing in my car, when I finally got around to calling back my friend, Clarence. Clarence and I go back a few years, he's a good guy. Since he's an avid comic book guy, we chatted it up about the newest Spiderman movie, Spiderverse. And yes, it is one of the greatest movies ever, no debate here. I rambled about work for a few, then I went on to ask him about the ladies in his life. Ya know, any prospects kind of convo.

But Clarence caught me off guard, sharing with me that he'd began living with a young lady that he'd known some years back. She told him that she'd had brain cancer. I shared my apprehension, but he said it was all good. Things had been going along well and he was hopeful. He whispered to her that she was going to make it and that they'd soon have beautiful brown babies together.
She died right before Christmas.
Clarence stated "yeah, it was tough, but I'm cool." Except, I know he's not. He's a part of that same fucking club. I don't know if its age or what, but it keeps holding us hostage. Its like a timeshare in the worst way. I told him a bit of my story of losing Pete and how I still cry frequently. How things like a beautiful sunset or a song will still do me in. How I felt like a piece of my arm was missing and how I struggle to feel normal.

I told Clarence that the fact is, you never feel "normal" again, you just learn to live with the pain. I even confessed to Clarence, that when he and I went to see DeadPool 2 together, during the scenes where DeadPool is communicating on the other side with his dead girlfriend, I wept so hard during the movie. Because I know that deep feeling of "please just let me be near you one more time."
Clarence then admitted that he'd never cried so hard after she passed away. He said "I cried until my eyes hurt. I cried until I couldn't cry anymore." Its kind of interesting how when you don't want to bore people with your story, or sound like a nut, or make a situation all doom and gloom with death talk, you kind of clean it up for your audience. But only with other "club members" can you let out how hollowing the feeling is of losing someone you love.

Clarence and I talked a bit more about the whole thing, as I tried to offer some words of encouragement. As the conversation wound down, Clarence ended it by saying that he had to go. But I know in my heart that as soon as we got of the phone, Clarence began crying again. And as soon as we got off the phone, I began crying again too.

Friday, January 11, 2019

More


So I can't help but to notice that I'm blogging more lately. We're only 11 days into the year and I'm already on my 6th blog. To be fair, I don't anticipate continuing to drop a blog a day, but my inability to focus, coupled with an available computer, and racing thoughts continue to lead me back here. I can't help but to reflect on the fact that a few years back, after some shit with my son's father (although, to be fair, the whole relationship was shit), I'd almost stopped blogging. There were certainly times that I stepped away. After grad school I had to practically dust the cobwebs off of this thing.

I think what has led to my increase in blogging is pretty simple though- I'm happy. I mean seriously, probably for the first fucking time in my adult life, I'm actually freaking happy. No man stressing me out, no family fights, my bills are (relatively) paid. I guess I'm writing so much just to soak all of this up. After years of depression, struggle, anxiety, poverty, low self-esteem, and heartbreak, I'm finally at this point and I'm just fully wrapping my mind around it all. As I write this, even my jeans are getting a bit too big. The same damned scale at work that continued to taunt me with 200 lbs for months finally gave in and budged me to 197. And holy shit, yesterday, it even said 195!!

I continue to look forward to my vacation summer where I will spend time with Fred, followed by a visit from my international friend. Early in the year, I reached out to a friend of mine to share my apprehension regarding going into 2019. I told him how amazing 2018 was, followed by how tragic 2017 was. My fear was that after 2018 was the best, it would soon be followed by more tragedy. I mean, after finally being given a life to be happy about, the last thing I want is to experience again what 2017 did. Guy I like died, broken foot, fired for something I didn't do, forced to work at Petsmart under a raging cunt just to keep my bills paid, and later landing a job in my field that continued to pay me late on top of underpaying me? The only thing that kept me on this planet was knowing that if I took myself out, my son would spend the rest of his life a basket case. I just can't do that to him. Enter 2018 and now 2019.

So I guess I'll have to accept that all of life is not shit and that I can finally be happy. I mean, I made it, I'm here. Yay.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Influence

The scale at work finally showed mercy and dropped my weight to under 200 lbs. I'm now at 197, a first since September. Thank God, I did 3 miles on Saturday and 3 miles on Sunday, in addition to scaling my diet back tremendously. I'm actually okay with this. I'm not hungry, and if I get hungry, a few almonds, pistachios, or an apple tend to do the trick. Too damned cold to work out though. At least for now. My blood sugar dropped by 30 since yesterday, so I'm on track for a comeback. I actually enjoy health food and I think this may have to be a new way of life for me.
When I first met Ted, about 4 years ago, he was all belly. He was adamant about his refusal to work out. The only working out he was interested in was of a sexual nature, which, truth be told, I was more than okay with. He is the heaviest guy I've been with, registering around 280 at his heaviest during our time together. But then one day during the summer, Ted started working out.

I mean, Ted and I have shared our mutual desire to lose weight (although he prefers me heavier), but he, much like myself, would always fall back into bad habits. But not this time. Ted has lost over 50 pounds. I'm amazed watching this transition. I complimented the jeans I last saw him in and said "oh my God! No more dad jeans!" He laughed and shared that apparently those jeans brought about a loud chorus of people that saw them and remarked on his now-too-big dad jeans. I keep telling him that I have to definitely lose weight now because I can't have him being the only slim hottie between us. I mean, this man works out 2 times a day, and it seems like 80% of the time when I call him, he's in the gym.
Its so funny to me that Ted and Fred (again, complete coincidence their names rhyme) managed to be so on top of their weight. I mean, true, men lose fat quicker than women (due in part to their muscle tone). Fred isn't a case of weight loss though. He was a high school all star, pretty much excelling in any sport he tried. Fred and I often visited Whole Foods and shared a love of their vegan chocolate cake.

Moving forward, I certainly wish he was close by to help me kick this into gear. After I gained my weight back previously, I knew that I'd eventually lose it again. And as much as I resent that I put it back on, I was always thankful for the experience of regaining the weight, because it showed me firsthand how simple it is to fall back into bad habits. Sometimes we need people to keep us inspired to do our best. I'm so blessed to not just have one or two people, but a boatload of people to inspire me to stay my best.

Graduate school was a difficult time for me. Sometimes I feel like I made it look easy, but that shit was rough!! I saw more politicking, backbiting, hunger, misery, and utter disrespect than I've seen in any portion of my life while attending a historically Black university. I was moved to start a food pantry that serves Morehouse, Clark, and Spelman, and so help me God, it was a doozey.

What amazed me was that shortly after I finished, I'd had 4 separate people tell me that I'd inspired them to go to school. Word? Me? One is currently finishing up her bachelor's degree, while the other is my ever-so-hardheaded mentee who I've been working with since she was in 7th grade. She should be a sophomore in college now.

As I look at my recent health challenges, and my renewed faith that I can overcome this, I guess I'm reminded how much we're all connected in trying to find someone to influence us. Sometimes we inspire, sometimes we need the inspiration. That's okay with me.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

To Tell or Not?

My uncle, my mother's brother, recently had some serious health problems. Its pretty bad. My cousin does an amazing job of taking care of his father, but watching this has me nervous on so many levels. I told my stepmommy and father that if it came down to it, I'd take care of them, no matter what. But watching a parent get old ain't easy. My cousin tried dearly to handle the pressure of it all, but no one else in my family was aware of just how sick my uncle is. Plus my cousin needed money, because taking care of his father takes away from his ability to run his business. I did what I felt was the right thing and began calling my family to really illustrate how my uncle/their brother/their uncle is. They were shocked. They genuinely had no clue.
Despite how I feel about my mother, I even called her. I dunno, part of me was hoping that my family would toss in some coins for my cousin (lord knows they can spare it), plus I guess I also kind of felt like at the end of the day, your family should be the first to know and show up if you're in bad shape. It was the strangest and shortest of conversations, but I communicated what needed to be said. "Your brother is sick and in Atlanta. He's not doing well." And that was my first time talking to my mother in roughly 3 and a half years. Damn, I'm going to make some therapist rich one day. While visiting my cousin and uncle recently, my cousin shared with me "your mom is going to visit soon and she's bringing your sister with her." I'm pretty sure the stupid smile plastered across my face illustrated my feelings. Fuck. Fuckity, fucking, fuck.
My feelings had nothing to do with my mother, it was moreso at my disgusts about my mother bringing my sister to visit my sick uncle. I mean seriously, why bring that bitch? The fact is that my sibling got into some legal trouble and my uncle was kind enough to help her out of it, and then she later destroyed some property that my uncle had to foot the bill for. My uncle let her know that he was unhappy with her shenanigans, and rather than remaining humble and apologizing, she had the gall to claim that she disliked how arrogant he was in his divorce against my aunt. What?! I'm getting pissed off all over again just thinking about it. This isn't even about the fact that the aunt is a non-bio relative (on the contrary, she's a beautiful woman with a beautiful spirit and I wish nothing but good things for her), this is about the fact that this fucked up bitch jumped into a divorce that had absolutely nothing to do with her, to justify disliking my uncle after he let her know how fucked up she is. Truthfully, she's never even had a real relationship with this aunt enough to suddenly feel like she needs to pick a side. And THAT is the bitch my mama chose to bring with her to see my sick uncle. Some goddamned nerve.
Seeing that really made me consider what I'd want to happen, who I'd want to know, and how I'd want folks to react if I ever got sick. My fear was that my fucked up sib would take one look at my uncle's withered body and throw herself on him and scream, groan, and cry about her poor sick uncle- despite having not seen or talked to him since the mid-2000's.

I decided then and there that if I got sick, I'm not telling a lot of folks. Nothing would make me angrier than a bitch that was downright evil toward me collecting sympathy points during moments of my illness. Enter the other day.

So I wrote before about the news that this diabetes thing isn't going well. My first thought was to keep it to myself. No need to worry people. But then I thought about it, and I knew that I had to tell my mom. Well, she's actually my stepmom, but she's shown me more love, compassion, kindness and wisdom than my bio mother ever did. Yeah, this is my mom, right here. So I called her. I told her. Neuropathy. She was worried, but calm. She told me to make sure my diet is okay, she encouraged me to take care of myself and not get worried. My mother is incredible. I felt like that was it. No more telling people.

But as time went on, I felt like some people just needed to know. My biggest fear was something happening to me, and those closest to me being the last to know. Not cool. So I called Sky. I told Daisy, my sister from another mister. Then I called Fred. By the time I called Fred, I was pretty upset. Sky and Daisy both offered insight and support and I'm so honored by how much they showed their concern. But Fred really calmed me. This is a man who can have some pretty dickish tendancies, but he listened to my fears and reminded me that worrying doesn't help things and to do what I know for sure will help. I told another close girlfriend yesterday. At one point, I choked on the words "If I don't get this straight-" I paused. My friend, Christine offered "you'll die?" And the floodgates opened.

It isn't lost on me that I'm sharing all of this on my blog, where it is readily available to any and everyone. Oddly enough, I've always felt like this blog and my facebook page are like my record for when I'm no longer here. So if these words are what people cling to, *shrugs*

I'm feeling more hopeful today. The warming sensation is lessening. It was pretty  hardcore yesterday, but has scaled back. I decided to go hard on the veggies for the next week and some change, and then visit my doctor to see how things line up. But whatever happens to me, I want to make sure that all of the emotion around me and my condition is genuine, not people clinging to me because of fear of leaving kind words unsaid. If you can't be kind to me while I'm here to receive them, I certainly don't want you sharing them when I'm ill, just to alleviate your own guilt.
When the actor, Sherman Hemsley, died of cancer, he didn't tell the public. He lived his life to the fullest until the end. He didn't want the chemo. I also feel that he didn't want a bunch of fake, half-assed people showing up and offering their apologies for whatever they'd done and getting shit off their chest and trying to create fake connections in the end. I kind of dig that, and at his age, I'd like to go out much the same way. I want my true friends and loved ones to be that to me til my casket drops. And I want the fake people that hate me to keep that energy til the end. If its good enough for George Jefferson, its certainly good enough for me.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Neuropathy

I recently disclosed that this stupid diabetes is rearing its ugly head again. I can't be mad, this is my own effing fault. I sometimes do an amazing job of keeping things together. Other days, this is a kick in the teeth. Of course the holidays didn't make things better. But overall, I've done well. I've been running and walking through my  neighborhood and sometimes through the park. My diet has been better.

So imagine my surprise when I felt this warm sensation shooting through my leg? I was at work, at my desk, where I often keep a space heater at my feet to stay warm. Except, I looked up and the space heater was nowhere near my leg. That's odd. A bit later, I felt it again, in the same leg. Random warmth. Yesterday, while wearing sweatpants, my leg felt so warm, I felt like the sun was shining directly onto it. Except it wasn't. I was wearing black sweatpants. But it was still warm. I gave up and gave Google a spin. I saw a few things linked to diabetes. Fuck.

This morning, I decided to talk to a nurse in my building. I told him my symptoms and he said to me "it sounds like neuropathy." He then explained "neropathy is the body's way of telling you that you're at a breaking point with your diabetes. If you keep going the way you're going, you'll be at a point of no return. You have to cut out pretty much everything. Salt, sugar, all of that." I was crushed. What? Huh?

What scared me the most is the fact that I've seen other people die from diabetes. Its a long, nasty, painful process. Not even painless, open wounds, amputation, strokes, all kinds of shit. And there lies my life, potentially. *sigh* Fuck.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Malika, The Theme

So I'm single. I actually enjoy it this time around. Ted is closeby to keep my back scratched, and he does an outstanding job of it. No dating though. I mean, I'm somewhat open to dating new men, but truth be told, I'm expecting some changes later in the year and I don't want the bullshit of some dude to distract me from my goals. I like being single, because it allows me to be at my best, without playing the dating game. I'm over the dating game. I'm really in love with the woman that I am becoming. And part of becoming her is learning to protect her heart and mind, via cutting off bullshit at the door.
The crazy thing is that I'm not typically short on men that would like to date me- the issue is that I don't come across many men that take my time and heart seriously. Facebook, which has served as an incredible social outlet, has also led to quite a few men in my inbox. I've learned something from the inboxers though- none of these men are into the actual me. Quite often they see me online, cracking hysterical jokes, making intellectual quips about life, and they assume that's all there is to me. That I'm just an easygoing woman with a high sex drive who likes to laugh. They see me as a theme, as a representative.

I mean, yeah, that is a part of who I am, but I'm so much more. I'm funny, kind, introspective, big on social justice, educated, pro-Black, pro-children (just not pro having more children), I have moments of insecurity. To put it in a nutshell, I'm human. I'm flawed. I'm multi-faceted. But men see me goofing off on Facebook and assume that dating me means a few inbox messages and I'll be sitting on their face in a week and a half.

Not at all. I like dates. I like men who are gentle (but not wimps). I like men who travel (and have plans to take me with them). I want a man who shares his hopes and dreams. I mean, who would have thought that the same guys who inbox me, meet with me once and discover that I'm a normal woman, not the fantasy they built me up to be. It happens. A lot.

I had a girlfriend who used to may slick comments rooted in her jealousy (she and I are no longer friends), where she would say that she wishes she had men around to fuck, much like I do. I'd explain to her that 1) plenty of guys wanted to sleep with her, she just didn't see it and 2) being an object of desire isn't all its cracked up to be. Men will lie, cheat, and steal to get pussy. It feels horrible to spend time with a man, ask a million questions, begin to let down your guard, only to find out he's a creep. Yet its the story of my fucking life. It isn't cute, it isn't fun, it isn't funny. But all she saw was that I was an object of desire. But she missed that part. An OBJECT.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

The Look of Grief

I've accepted that I now belong to an elite club. An organization with the strictest of requirements for entrance, yet a club that no one wants to belong to. Its kind of a "I lost the one I love" club. Believe me, no one wants in on this shit.
I was just watching TMZ and they interviewed Sean Combs. He thanked them on camera for being respectful as he and his family suffered from the loss of Kim Porter, although he declined to say her name. Gone was the flashy, over the top Puff Daddy we knew of the mid-90's. Something was missing, and I could see him trying to find it. I know that look and feeling, because I experience parts of it every waking moment of my life.
He'd been in the process of hiking and he took time to film and post the hills he'd been hiking on. When the cameraman asked him how he was holding up, he answered something along the lines of "day by day, minute by minute." Sean and his ex of 10 years, Cassie, had been rumored to be close to their final break up, and immediately after Kim's passing, she was by Sean's side, but lately she's been seen booed up elsewhere. I don't blame her, because I knew how I was immediately after Pete's passing as well. Well-intentioned (and some not-so-well-intentioned) men approached me constantly. And I was nice, but firm in my desire to be alone. I don't want your dick, I don't want you making me laugh, I want to be left the fuck alone. I know that feeling well. So I feel Sean. Other people may not have seen it, but I certainly did. I wanted so bad to hug him and say to him "I understand, take all the time you need."
In my time immediately after, I took to the mountains twice. I needed that so much. To simply be next to nature. Its amazing how being in the mountains you almost feel like you're stripping down, energetically raw. Nothing but you and your emotions, as you sort through all of these thoughts and feelings. Its almost like "if I can't be near the person I love and lost, let me just be in this moment with nature, since this is the closest I'll come to their spirit" I still look up at sunsets on occasion and feel like the light peeking through those clouds is a message from Pete.
A girlfriend recently hipped me to a male musician in Atlanta who has these banging ass house parties here in Atlanta. The man lost his partner over a decade ago, but I could feel his loneliness, his aching as he performed at a party. My friend swore to me that he wasn't lonely. She assured me that he's surrounded by women of his choosing and he lives this wild musician lifestyle, the ultimate bachelor.
She couldn't see it, but I could. Its amazing how you can spot it. How unspoken it is, this hurt, this longing. Trying your best to make sense of seeing a person, loving them, and being loved by them, then one day the Universe says "that's it, time to go." There is no arguing. No pleading. No complaint department. You just gotta deal with that shit. And it leaves you with a hole in your heart that you just wear, like an anchor. You spend, essentially the rest of your days looking for the part of your spirit that left with your loved one. You'll never get it back.
A few months ago, I played the lotto. I imagined what I'd do if I had $100m plus to blow. Anything I wanted, I could buy. The very first thing my mind wandered to wasn't fancy vacations, huge homes, fast cars. For a very split second, when I said "what would I have if I could have anything? I'd bring Pete back." It was a passing moment, and then I was sad again. When considering the one thing I wanted more than anything, the first thing that came to mind was something money can't buy. Even if I hit the lotto and had fancy boats and clothes, I'd still feel that same longing. When Kim died, that's how I knew Sean felt. $820m is what he's worth, and with all of that, the awards, the women, the cars, the trips, all of that, he'd never have back the woman he loved.
I remember when Caleb was a baby, there was an elderly woman who lived in the same building that I did. She'd always greet me and Caleb and ask our names and introduce herself. Her name was Ms. Pence. Her husband of 2 years had died when she was younger. I don't recall how, but I know that despite not remembering me or my son, she talked steadily about her husband. Honestly, I never got it, until now. She remembered those small details of her love and although she'd dated since then, none of them ever matched up, so she opted to remain alone. I feel her in that. After losing a person you love, anyone you're with seriously afterward has to be amazing, because you get to the point of choosing to be alone rather than settling for some wack shit. Either that, or you cling to whatever warm body will have you. And even then, you cling to the memory of the person you lost.
That was 11 years ago and Ms. Pence was older then, so I kind of hope that in that time, she made her way home to her departed husband.
So I'm in this club, the Lonely Hearts Club. My cross to bear. Such is life.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Dragging Along

This is the New Year. Or almost. And I'm exhausted. So much to do and say. I'm over it all. I want to be somewhere new, with new people, new adventures, but I'm stuck here. I'm broke. I'm cold. I'm over it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

More Surprising Love

I love that I can now blame my A.D.D. in my difficultly of letting things go. After my utter surprise at Him contacting me, I reached out to Ted. One thing I love about Ted is that he's logical and emotionally intelligent enough to give me answers that make sense. So as much as I hate answering the question, and as tacky and desperate as it sounds, I had to ask-
"What do men see in me?"

Ted went on to describe a few of my physical attributes. "I'm a breast man, so you having big boobs is a plus," he started. "Plus I love your lips," he added. But then he added "I dunno. I guess you're just attractive." I was like, "Huh? Attractive? Me?" Now don't get me wrong, I know I'm not an ogre or anything. But I'd always thought of myself as "cute" but not "attractive." Ted considered the terms synonymous, but I certainly don't. In my eyes, a man who is attractive has an uncanny ability to draw women in droves. A guy who is cute is considered a guy who isn't the ugliest damned thing I've laid eyes on. I mean, he may be nice to look at, but he ain't the finest dude on the planet.
For instance, Idris Elba is attractive, Tyler Perry is cute.

So me hearing myself as "attractive" was different. I mean, when and how? I still see myself as that awkward girl with big teeth, who can't dance to save her life. I see all of my flaws. In my mind and heart, my flaws are magnified and the whole damned world just doesn't know how bad they are.
But I guess I learned in that moment that maybe I'm not as bad as I think I am. Good to know that someone out there thinks that.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Surprising Love

I remember walking around my neighborhood in the summer when I was about 15-years-old with my 2 best friends. We walked by a group of boys, when the cutest of the group called out to us. "Hey" he said. We turned around and I prepared for him to approach either friend, as I sat back and waited patiently her to get her mack on, as was customary. But as we waited for him to approach us, he shocked us all by walking up me. Me? Me?! The surprise shook us all. I was the chubby girlfriend who always came along for support, and I'd occasionally get some fall off, mouth breathing asshole friend of his who couldn't hold a conversation if his life depended on it. Of course the guy who approached me ended up being a gang-banging loser who dismissed me and tried to get with one of my other friends.
So when you grow up with this sort of social dynamic, it shouldn't be a surprise that I grew up feeling non-physically desired by the opposite sex. It may serve as a shock to some, but these feelings of being the undesired, awkward sidekick are still with me.

The first time I lay eyes on Fred, I thought he was amazing. I was friends with a roommate of his, and I recall how he'd come in, say hello and head back out. A year or so later, I began casually dating a friend of his. I always thought that he was yummy, but my thought was that a man that sexy surely had slew of exceptionally beautiful women (a.k.a. women that looked nothing like me). I'm sure he'd tell a different story, but the first time we hooked up, the three of us started out the night hanging out together (myself, Fred and our other friend) when the other guy got a phone and had to cut the night short. "No biggie," he said. "Y'all can go on and hang out." I'd always felt some stupid vibe with Fred, an electric attraction, but I just knew it was in my head, because, I mean, look at him! So anyway, the other guy left, leaving Fred and I alone. We went back to my apartment and he kissed me, and we pretty much were a go. Clothes flew off and 12 years later, here we are and I'm just as sexually attracted to this modelesque man as ever.

And then there was Pete. I'd always assumed that some of the other women in the office had a thing for him, and I'd even assumed he'd smashed a few of them. But I asked him one day if he'd ever flirted with them and he said no. And based on the way that I was the only woman that was shaken to my core at his services held for coworkers and clients, he clearly was telling the truth. I remember the day I told him that I was attracted to him. We sat in my supervisor's office alone and I indicated that I suspected that he'd kept me from joining him at YouthBuild, a new department at the internship. He was taken back and asked why I'd think such a thing? I responded "I dunno. Cuz I'm kind of weird." He looked at me and said, "you're just eccentric, you're fine. I never tried to keep you from there. I saw the emails on it, but I had nothing to do with it." Out of nowhere, I simply blurted (and blame my A.D.D. for this one) "I am so attracted to you." I immediately regretted it. Too forward. Too soon. I'm such an ass! Then he said to me "Its okay. I'm attracted to you too." I still marvel at that. Pete was attracted to me in return. I mean, Jesus Christ, he was a hottie.
Another instance of surprise is the model and martial artist I fooled with briefly. I met him at a party one day. Green eyes, beautiful body, light skin, locs down his back. He could have given Calvin Klein a run for their money. I'd sat around with a new crew of people, laughing it up and he was one of them. At some point the crew was dispersed and I kind of walked a few feet away. I looked up and he was still walking with me. Um, what? Hello? Have you looked at yourself?
Those feelings of inadequacy still shake me. When men like me back, I'm like, "are you sure?" Between my fucked up childhood and the losers I've dated in adulthood, bad thoughts seem to have sunk into my psyche, making me feel undesirable. Funny enough, a few years back, when I'd lost that 30 pounds, I got hit on then more than I'd gotten hit on in my life! And I fucking hated it! These guys didn't hear me joke around or talk about spirituality or philosophy. They took one look at my face and body and wanted to smash. It felt horrible. All those years I'd wanted to be the girl that got the guy, and here all these random ass dudes wanted to fuck me and discard me. Losing weight didn't erase all of my problems. I'd always thought that being more attractive would be a magic pill to a better life. I can honestly say, I was wrong.

I talked in my last post how I was told recently that I have diabetes and that I'll need to take medication, and how I almost fought the idea of it. I shared that moment with Fred afterward, how for a brief moment, I said to myself "fuck these meds, I hate this place anyway, I'm ready to go!" but then I realized I had a kid to live for. Fred then said to me "man, you better stop that silly shit and take that medicine." As nuts as it sounds, touched me. Deeply. Fred told me in his own little way that he cared about me. I guess it only makes sense that he'd be attached to a woman he'd been romantically linked to for 12 years, but I was genuinely surprised. This gorgeous man, can have any woman he wants (I've literally seen women eye hump him from across restaurants), cared enough to speak up and tell me to take care of myself. Me?! Me.
And now yesterday. I haven't spoken of Him in some years. For new readers, and the old who may not remember Him, he was the first man to make me feel whole while dealing with my son's father. Him made me smile and laugh and feel beautiful, when I felt my worst. Before Him, I told myself that if my son's father and I didn't make it, I wouldn't date again. And then Him entered. We never slept together, but we almost did. At the time he didn't want to because I was still living with my ex and he had some other stuff going on, but the desire and the emotion was there. Later on, Him ran into some medical problems. He'd disappeared for a while, but stuff was touch and go for a second. For my own sanity, I had to back away from him, while remembering the good times. I'll always love him for bringing me back from the emotional dead though.

So anyway, Him called me yesterday. It was a pleasant surprise, although we still talk 3 or 4 times a year. He'd asked the normal questions, 'How are you? How is your son? How is life? Dating anyone?' kinda stuff. I asked about his health and whatnot. Then out of nowhere he goes, "I know this is kind of weird and random, but I'd like to make love to you." I paused. I mean, I know he did and still does. I just learned to play stupid on that kind of stuff with some guys. The fact is that Him's health makes me know that I can't get too close to him. I love him and I always will. But I just can't. All I can think to myself is how 5 years ago, I'd have done it with no questions. Now things are way different.
But that round, insecure girl in me is still like "Me? You chose me?!" Granted, my stock has risen since then and between his health and hard living, his has kind of sank (I know it sounds cold, but its the reality), but I'm still like 'are you sure you want me and not the woman behind me?' I guess I'm just tripping that at 38 years old, I still don't see myself as the kind of woman physically deserving of the attention of some of the men around me. Perhaps one day, I will.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

My Other Struggle

I think I've been pretty up front about most of my life here. Sometimes I fear the idea of certain people reading what I write here, but the fact is that I put it out there, so if it gets read, its my truth and I'll stand by it, good, bad or indifferent. And while I've openly grieved numerous friends in this space, talked about love and heartache, my effed up family, my recent A.D.D. diagnosis, and a bunch of other things, I've never talked about one of the things that has plagued me most of my life- my weight.


I was diagnosed as diabetic just under 10 years ago. I'm not sure if I blogged about it or not, but I remember how I learned about it. I was hurt, angry, disappointed, worried, but eventually, I accepted it and moved on. My diagnosis was first met with vigilance, eating healthy, tons and tons of salads and veggies, gym membership, I began jogging, all of that. But life did what it does, and stuff got hectic, and I fell back into old habits.

A while later, roughly 2011, I was at a barbeque with my bestie, Daisy, when a woman sat down across from us, and promptly stood to shake our hands and introduce herself. "My name is Cat" she said. My jaw dropped. I remembered her!!! Her shop was the shop where I'd first started my locs back in 2004. She'd always been so wide in the hips, now here she was, mush smaller than me, and just beaming. Naturally, I asked her secret. How did she manage to lose so much weight? She simply responded that she gave up starches. That day, I knew what I had to do.


Fast forward a few months later, and I'd lost 30 pounds. I went from 200 to 170. I looked good, I felt good, and an unintended consequence of losing the weight was that I was no longer diabetic. I couldn't believe it! No pills, none of that, simply eating well. Truthfully, I wasn't even exercising at the time, it was all diet.


Shortly after losing the weight, my dumb ass fell in love and managed to gain it all back (won't do that shit again...) Since then, I've struggled to get back to that glory weight. When smaller, I felt that 170 was still a bit bigger than I wanted, that gut still plagued me. Now here I am, back at 200, wishing like hell I was a size 10 again, rather than 14/16. I'd done good about my diet this time around until I went to Maryland to visit my bestie this Thanksgiving. I went in (it was Thanksgiving for God's sake), and I came back unable to shake my lifelong addiction. I kept trying, planning, went to the gym once after watching my on/off friend, Ted, drop 50 pounds after hitting the gym twice a day and dieting regularly (he looks great now and his sex drive is even more amazing and now I feel like I can't let him be the only slim hottie between the two of us). But junk food has stayed my monster.
                                             


My diet has continued to go through healthy and unhealthy cycles. I recently went to the doctor for the first time in forever because I finally have health insurance like an adult and why the hell not. It was a general check up, and I asked on a whim that my blood sugar be checked. They almost didn't, but I felt that since we were getting all of this other stuff done, why not? My doctor took one look at my results and said "you have diabetes, I'm putting you on meds." My response was along the lines of "nah, I'm good, I'll just diet and eat well." Doc was like, "no, you don't understand. Your ass needs meds homie." I felt like I'd been punched in the stomach. I'd beat it, it was gone, diabetes was no longer my problem. I'd won! Remember? Nope? My body doesn't either. Truth is that when my doctor first told me that without the meds I'd die, my first thought was relief and that I was ready to get the hell out of here anyway. But then I remembered my sun, light, moon, and stars, Caleb. That little boy needs me like I need him and I'll be damned if I'll check out leaving him to grieve me. Every person that I know whose mother died when they were a kid is a fucked up adult (some are more functional than others, but yeah, it takes a toll). I took and am still taking my meds.


So I started driving Lyft recently, to make coins on the weekend. This Saturday, I picked up an older woman who was on her way to an appointment for dialysis. I couldn't help it- I asked the woman if she'd had diabetes, and admitted that I too struggle with keeping my diet in check. I told the woman that I needed some sort of push to get back on the wagon.


The woman went on to inform me that she'd almost had her food amputated, and had her toe amputated instead. She shared the gruesome story of what led to the amputation, and then later talked about, how her teeth had fallen out, and she also has heart disease now, on top of needing dialysis. What really struck me was how she shared that with diabetes, you don't always feel the damage immediately. How you can eat all of the junk food you want, and feel fine afterward. Except you're not fine, it just takes a while to know exactly how much damage is done.


So I'm not sure where she is, but Ms. Rhonda probably saved my life. I haven't eaten bad since. I'm eating more fruits and veggies than I ever have in my life. But I'm okay with that, because I'm diabetic, but I know I will beat this.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Coworker Demise Pt 2: I Love Who You Are, But I Hate What You Did

Things are going well over in my other department. I head back to my regular office on Monday, as a new supervisor has been hired and I will no longer be needed. I'm kind of looking forward to it, although I know I will miss these clients. We've definitely developed a bond in the month that I've been here.
Anyway, the other day, I led the clients in the beginning of our Christmas decorating. As they sorted through the old boxes, and began to assemble the artificial tree, it became clear that a part of the tree was missing. We searched high and low, but to no avail. At some point I asked around, trying to figure out the best way to get us some money to buy a new tree. I was told that the petty cash account should have some. The only problem is that we couldn't find it. My office (the office of the former supervisor) was searched to no avail. The other coworker that often handles cash was out for the day, so we couldn't ask him. We'd just find it later.

Thankfully we were able to get someone over in the finance department to order one. The tree went up and it was beautiful. The clients really enjoyed putting up the tinsel and decorations. But the money- the money was never found. Its gone. The petty cash is gone. In the wind. Just like Roger.

This hurts me to my core. I went from really feeling bad for Roger and praying that he is safe and warm somewhere, to being downright pissed. How could he do this? How could he steal from the very clients he was supposed to be leading? As we've all kind of grieved him in one way or another since he left, this coming up a month later only reopens the wounds we'd began to close. Only we all went from concerned to a healthy heaping of "fuck you, Roger."
On top of the sting of learning what he did, we are in the process of planning a Christmas party for clients and having no petty cash to do it with. He is kind of like "The Roger that Stole Christmas." We're going to hustle to build it, but what a blow. As a I left my office yesterday, I tried yet again to wrap my mind around this. I mean, its one thing to simply walk away, knowing that you're damaged and knowing in your heart that people are better off without you. When you're left with that from someone you love, you feel like someone cares. That as jacked up as the situation is, that person wants to spare you any heartache, so they leave. And it may hurt like hell when they leave, but that hurt is minor compared to what they're capable of when they stick around. Is this what loving a person with addiction is like? For the first time forever, I felt that maybe that's kind of what Pete did. Perhaps he checked out before inflicting more harm.

It made me consider if this is what it is like having a relative with addiction? To just wake up one day and all of your jewelry, electronics, and cash is gone? I'm having a hard time right now, separating Roger from his crime. I'd earlier attributed his absence and poor decision-making to a relapse of bipolar disorder, not a relapse of drug use. But here is is, in my lap, for me to see, hold, examine, and swallow. I hope that Roger is safe. But what a blow.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

A.D.D. That To My Problems

I've always been a bit of a space cadet, and I'll take ownership of that. Those closest to me know that I'm often late, I zone out, I forget stuff, and other normal "Malika" stuff. I remember telling a friend a mine a while back (my friend who happens to be a clinician) about my lowering of my caffeine intake, because drinking too much of it would put me to sleep. I'd never developed the problem (or perhaps noticed it) until grad school. I'd taken to visiting the same coffeehouse frequently and to support the cause, I'd often buy a small coffee to justify sitting there for a few hours at a time, plugging away at my paper. I'd go there perhaps 2, 3, or even 4 times a week, and always buy coffee. As I started drinking more coffee, I'd started to notice the pattern of my afternoon naps. I don't mean a quick 30-minute power nap, I meant 3 or 4 hour naps, on top of my nighttime sleep. I eventually just settled for buying and drinking bottled water, since I hated their decaf. My clinician friend said to me "you know that when people have A.D.D., caffeine makes them sleepy." My response, being typical Malika, was "bullshit, I do not have A.D.D.!" He responded with a simple "okay."

I was at work a few weeks ago, when I'd stopped in to chat with a clinician co-worker who I've taken to. I'd told him how a friend of mine let me try an Adderall pill a while back and how much it did for me. She'd warned me that if I didn't have A.D.D. the pill would do nothing for me, but if I did have it, it would work wonders.

I used it to clean my home and I was amazed at how focused I was. I wasn't jittery, angsty, or anxious, I was simply able to focus, and not in some kind of freakish manner either. I'd gone on to tell my coworker that I have a difficult time cleaning my home because I can't focus on one part of the home, instead I work on small piles at a time, before I become overwhelmed.

My coworker looked up at me and said the words:
"Malika, I think you might have A.D.D."

My response was a simple "bullshit, I do not have A.D.D.!" Then I paused and grabbed a chair in his office. Wait a minute- do I? I took a moment to think about my coworker who often is done with her notes by 4:00pm (quitting time), while it isn't uncommon for me to languish until 5, 6, or sometimes even 7 to get mine done. Its not that the notes are hard, I simply can't focus on them. When our clients leave at 2, I have to debrief, so I get on Facebook, I may blog a little, text friends, play games on my phone... Then I'll start doing my notes, but then I'll have to check Facebook again... And then I began to think about how hard it was for me to focus as a kid and I often just check out and began to stare into space. When I was in grad school, I was never able to focus on just my paper, so I'd sometimes set a timer, allowing me to goof off for 20 minutes, and then I'd get back onto my paper for 20 minutes, then back to Facebook.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized how much I never was truly able to focus on needed tasks, I simply stumbled through. Holy shit, he might be right! I walked back into my office and immediately looked online for the signs of A.D.D. (of course I wasn't going to do my notes, who the hell wanted to start focusing?!) I scrolled around until I found this website, and I felt like I was reading my whole life. The one particular list on the page that struck me through the heart was 
  • * Poor organizational skills (home, office, desk, or car is extremely messy and cluttered)
  • * Tendency to procrastinate
  • * Trouble starting and finishing projects
  • * Chronic lateness
  • * Frequently forgetting appointments, commitments, deadlines
  • * Constantly losing or misplacing things (keys, wallet, phone, documents, bills).
  • * Underestimating the time it will take to complete tasks.
Dear God, this was it!! This was ME! I'd felt like such a failure for so long, unable to focus on tasks, and just impulsive as hell. I felt like a weirdo, a freak, unable to ever really fully fit in, yet here it is. I'd honestly thought I was just a bit broken, and I'd only recently accepted it and embraced it as who and what I am. But no, I wasn't a freak, I have an honest, diagnosable mental illness that I can learn to work with and through. That is so amazing to me.

Honestly, after I first processed it, I grew a bit angry. I mean, what would my life have been like if 30 years ago, someone picked up on this? What if they'd understood that I honestly can't help it? That I didn't mean to zone out when I was in school? Or if I honestly thought that everyone took 20 to 30 minutes to begin working?

The best thing about this is that my 11-year-old is exhibiting most of the same traits, and truthfully, I was beginning to grow frustrated and perplexed with him. But now that I know what this is, I can take the signs and get him the assistance that he'll need to live a normal life and shine like a rock star at school. So I have A.D.D. And I'll learn to be okay with that.

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.