Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Aftermath

Sounds like a Dr. Dre album, right? lol!  Well, it is dammit!

I cut off the emotional fat I mentioned in a previous post.  I had no choice.  It was either go mad, or save myself, and when I did it, after I'd done it I felt a weight the size of a ton lifted off my back.

It's never fun to break the heart of someone you love, but what are you supposed to do when they keep stabbing you in yours?  Stand there and take it?  For decades?  What I have decided to do is wish everyone well and work on me, with the hope that in the future, when everyone is ready to acknowledge and address outstanding issues, there can be one big happy family.  If that day comes, great.  If not, I have have to live and preferably be happy in the process, so great either way.

Interestingly, for the first time in I think my entire life, I feel free to implement the kind of changes I know I've needed in my life for a long time, the only difference being that I don't feel the obligation to bring a whole gang along with me. I am a solo act when it comes to working on my sanity, happiness, quest for knowledge, peace, excitement and wholeness.  I'm getting older.  I want to get old.  I want to be around to see my son's many achievements... be a grandmother to his children... be a pillar in his time of need as an adult... to still say funny and raunchy things at times that will earn me the label "bawdy old broad!"  Whether I have financial success or success in my chosen artistic field - at the end of the day, before it all fades to black, I need to know that I made this a good run.  And so it begins (or "began" about two months ago), and I, therefore, offer a belated "On your mark...set...go!"

 Photo courtesy of the Digital Photography School

Self Preservation

I wrote the first draft of this post 2 months ago, and now finally have the guts, and the am free enough now, to share it: 

January, 2011
I have been contemplating something very heavy for the past couple of days, at least consciously (sub-consciously, I think this was something that I had wanted to do for a very long time but I didn't fully comprehend exactly what "this" was).

I learned a lot growing up, especially from my mother, and all of those things have shaped who I am today for better or for worse.  Growing up the oldest of seven... just remembering all that I did to "help out" exhausts me to this day.  I look at my son, who is about to turn 10 years old next month, and compare the responsibilities that he has versus what I had at that age and I am amazed that I am not in a mental institution or hate the world or something like that.  I cooked, I cleaned, I took care of kids, I disciplined, I slept with one eye open whenever my mom worked the overnight shift, I made Sunday breakfast even though people would complain that my pancakes weren't as thin as mommy's.  I knew about the bills- which were being paid and which weren't.  I knew about the frustration my mom was dealing with as an adult and a parent. I knew about the drugs my father took and the other women.  I knew that my father had a big job and a big position as director of a few group homes for teens, but he didn't share any of his money or pay any bills, which is why my mom would get on the cheese line often instead of being able to raise us in an actual house.

Did I also mention that for a majority of my childhood I actually lived in a two-parent household?

Did I mention that my father finally kicked my mom, me and my 5 siblings (at the time) out of the apartment we'd lived in for 11 years and kept the dog?

Honestly, just listing those few things alone exhaust me, but I have to ask, "is it a wonder that I am 35 years old and never married?  Single parent?  Still swimming in issues of self worth?"

See, I was the good girl.  The one who took care of everything.  The one you didn't have to worry about.  The one who - despite objections - would fix everything.  I'm surprised my nickname isn't The Fixer.  And even though I left home at 15 (got a scholarship to a prestigious boarding school), took care of myself financially since then, but was still be there to write a check for whatever anyone wanted,and be 'bad cop' to my mom's 'good cop' in the parenting area- what about what I needed?  Apparently that has never been important, well, with me being 'the oldest of now 7, who fixed things.'

To this day I have to remind people that I have 1 child. To this day I was still holding out hope, ready and willing to help any of my immediate family members who were ready for my support should they decide to finally do something opposite from the 'nothing' that they'd been doing.  To this day I still keep getting screwed over by those same people who are supposed to be there for me the way I'd been there for them most of my life.

In the Summer of 2009, I was in a car accident (I was not at fault -- I was hit).  My child was in the car. Car (which is names Kyle Reese) was almost totaled.  And we were driving through Virginia, en route to New York after coming from my grandfather's funeral in North Carolina.  My father - who had disowned me when I was fifteen - drove right pass the accident (for a minute I thought I was dead because it was just too coincidental to see him on the same road at that time).  Sometimes I wonder if God jokes around on folks, but I swallowed that because my father and I hadn't spoken with each other since I was 15 and he decided to fight me like a dude because he "thought" I didn't say hello to him one day - TRUE STORY, June 28, 1995.  And when I finally got home, back in NY, after taking my son to the emergency room just in case he was injured, after a now 12 hour drive... my mom didn't call me.  She called and spoke to my brother (who was in the car that hit me), but she didn't call me.  Why?  Well, I found out when I finally called and asked her - that it was because she "heard I was all right."  About a week later I had an emotional breakdown finally, because it'd really hit me: right after the accident all I cared about was if my child and the other passenger in the car was ok, and how I was responsible for getting them back to NY safely.  Forget the fact that I drove through VA, MD, NJ and NY with a hood that looked like an accordion.  Forget that my car was the only car in the 3 car accident that looked like it got the snot beat out of it. Forget that I had just come from a very emotional event.  I had to make sure everyone was all right - and there is nothing wrong with that.  What is wrong is when other people - my own family, my own momma - don't care if I'm all right.

It's been about a year and a half since the accident, and a lot of drama has happened over recent weeks.  Apparently, I wasn't supposed to ask my sister's and my mom why my brother's mistress was hanging out at their apartment.  And now interestingly, I have been silently shunned.  I say silently because no one has said anything to me directly - and I'm all about the direct approach - but when your little sister un-friends you on Facebook... "Houston, we have a problem!"  When your brother yells that you and your sister (the sibling after me) are "bougie" and we need to fuck off (forget the fact that I'd not had a conversation with this dude in years), AND your mom witnesses this, and says NOTHING... (this bears repeating: "dot-dot-dot").

Look, I'm gonna stop with the bullshit that I hate and just accept the fact that I have to make the phone call (if they actually answer the phone when I call) and tell everyone to lose my number. I recently told a friend that it makes no sense for someone with such a huge family to be so alone. There really isn't.  This type of thing has been going on for so much of my life, and now I've finally had an epiphany. I realized that I have to stop the madness. I have to cut the bad part off. I have to say to everyone - I'm done. Because I am not ready to give away my happiness any longer.  It makes me really sad to have come to this conclusion, but there is a sense of relief as well.  I'm really interested to see how I play this out.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Working My Way Back

I'm the kind of person who, when I get into a funk, I hibernate.  I am not one of these "misery loves company" people, and when I am going thru 'it" I fall back and work on getting my shyt together as opposed to infecting everyone else's aura with my bad/lost/depressed moods.

Well, I feel like I'm working my way back to the me that I know and love.  I attribute exhaustion - physical and emotional - with my temporary breakdown.  All of a sudden, things that didn't bother me before drove me nuts.  Actually, to clarify: I allowed things that didn't bother me before to drive me crazy.  It was like my tolerance level for all things annoying was non-existent.  For a minute I went into the 'woe is me' 'why me' 'what did I do in a former life' detour that had me feeling like Charlie Brown constantly going to kick the ball and having it pulled from my path leaving me lying on my ass.  I couldn't leave the apartment on time in the morning, I was constantly looking for my keys, a day would pass and I would remember that I hadn't eaten, anxiety was keeping me up until 1, then 2, then 3, then 4 am - every day.  People weren't fulfilling their responsibilities which affected my home.  I believed the job was trying to kill me (or at least get me thrown in prison) - I actually still believe this but I refuse to give them the satisfaction (stubbornness can actually be a good thing!).  I basically allowed everything in life to spin me around in a circle until I was so dizzy I could not see straight. 

Well, the Mama Bear has woken from hibernation and is in the process of stretching out my kinks before getting back to work!  I won't go into too much detail right now - simply because the transformation process that I have experienced in the past month was so nuanced and massive that I don't want to do it an injustice by glossing over it, but I will get into it at a later date.  What I did want to talk about was a change encounter with a stranger.

I was standing outside of a huge Botanica that I had just exited.  When I went in I grabbed a basket and wanted to purchase all of these "things" and realized after 10 minutes that I didn't really need anything because I'd had supplies at home already.  So, I put the basket back and leave the store, but I stop when I see a window display that I had never noticed before.  It was a display of talismans and amulets.  I looked at them, proceeded to walk away, but came back, staring, reading the meanings behind all of the 35+ talismans on display in the window.  I eyeball one that I keep coming back to, but tell myself not to make snap judgments just because I recently emerged from the fog of crippling depression (I would say I've only simply stepped out of the door of the house of depression, and have yet to walk down the steps and down the street from it so this is still a very fragile time, BUT I feel like that 1 year old who just knows she's going to walk all on her own today!). 

Anyway, I stare at the display, and I notice a woman in my peripheral vision heading to and walking into the store.  She had a very striking and complimentary blond braided do, and she walked with something about her that made me say to myself that she is wounded right now, but knows stuff (don't ask me why).  She sees me staring hard at the display and says "I never noticed those before!"  and then our conversation began.  I responded, "Me either - they have so much here, I can't stop looking" and then I notice a tear slowly falling from her left eye and down her face, but she still looked determined and knowing.  In the conversation we through out hints of things that we were going through as we talked about the talisman's.  She tells me that she is tired of repeating the same mistakes over and over, I tell her that when she is ready in her core to change those behaviors, she will, it will come... she tells me that she has things, but it's not what she wants.... I tell her that I had an epiphany just yesterday, a voice said to me "stop trying to get what don't want to be got".... we hi-five each other.... she tells me that she's on a mission to do the work she needs... I tell her about a book that I just finished yesterday and recommend it to her.... she just heard about the book the day before on Oprah.... I tell her it is worth the purchase - I read it in a week.... she tells me that she thinks we were supposed to run into each other and have this conversation.... I agree.... we grab hands as we continue to talk, now finishing each other's sentences because we are in SYNC!  I wish the sister well, and she does me.  I leave the window display, needing to pick my kid up from his school interview, but knowing that I will be coming back to get the talisman that has grabbed my soul, and so elated to have encountered who I believe to be a guardian angel.

I get my son, come back to the store and stare at the display again.  My son says I want one too - I need something more.  I know what he means.  I made my decision on what I'm purchasing so we concentrate on what we're going to get for him.  It's an interesting exchange because he usually rolls his eyes at the thought of going into the Botanica, but there is something different about the both of us today.  I feel like there will be movement.  We choose his talisman, go inside, purchase them and leave.  As we walk down the street my son says "I feel so much better."  I ask "What do you mean?"  He responds, "There was something about going in there... I feel like I can breath now, I feel lighter, better."  I say in my mind, "That's exactly how I've been feeling this week baby... finally."

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hair Growth: Update

Here's a look at where I was a little over a month ago (silly me deleted an update photo from February - I'll take another one this month)

I will start posting the various styles I do as well!