Whenever I’m Ready

January’s focus was health, and February’s is sexuality… so it’s only fitting that this post bridging January to February be about my sexual health, right? I mean, don’t you wanna know all about my vagina? LOL Nah, I’m kidding, this post won’t be bad, I promise.Well… I hope.

Friday I went to see my reproductive endocrinologist (RE). An RE is a OB/GYN who specializes in fertility and hormonal functioning, including PCOS, which I have. PCOS has been… a nightmare… for me. Specifically, it is why I struggle(d) with obesity and infertility, and why I am at an increased risk for a host of chronic illnesses including cancer. While there is no cure for PCOS it actually can be managed, and I’m doing a pretty damn good job of it!

However. I’m… ready… to have… a child.

*GASP*

Yeah.

I said it.

I’m…

Ready.

I’m ready.

(I had to say it fast to make sure it was real, lol.)

Now, if you’ve been reading from the beginning of the year, you also know I’m very, very single. Still, as I round the corner to 34… which is exactly one month from today (eek!)… I am acutely aware that I desire to have a child, biologically, myself. And chances are I won’t be meeting, loving, and permanently partnering with a man in the limited amount of time that I consider myself to have. Each woman has her own timeline for when she makes this decision. My timeline is a few years earlier than many other women, but my life is different than theirs, too. Having a baby does not come easily for me or those who have what I have. I have already been on the fertility table filled with meds and crushed hopes times 1 million. I have done the research on fertility and age and I know the truth about just how real the biological clock is, and have no desire to wait until I’m 40 and say “I’m ready now” only to find out it’s way too late/too hard at that point. I also do not desire to adopt. At all.

So there I was, staring at the inside of my uterus on the screen. A space that looked, finally, healthy and ready for a life to inhabit it. It has been a bumpy few months in the reproductive health department… I had a couple cancer scares… saw something in my uterus that wasn’t supposed to be there… had some weird, mystery test results… shit just kept happening. So we kept searching for the causes and treating ghost symptoms. But Friday, finally, I stared at my empty-but-beautiful uterus and was told, “Whenever you’re ready.”

Whenever. I’m. Ready.

 

Posted in health | Leave a comment

Slowly but Surely

I said I’d focus on my health this month. I’ve kinda stuck to the plan but my eating habits, while healthy, could really stand to be a little more consistent… as in, I should eat more and more often. I’m about 15 pounds down over the last two weeks. It feels good to have some of my smallest clothes fitting again, but I need to eat, and that’s been a struggle due to a case of the sads.

I’m headed to Jamaica two weeks from today and I’m really looking forward to the break. Initially, the chant was “Drink! Smoke! Party! Repeat!” But now it’s more like “Spa! Spa! Spa!” lol. I’m tired y’all. All over, I am tired. Body. Mind. Spirit. Just… tired. BUT it is getting better. Slowly. Over a month ago I got rid of the depression and anxiety meds because when I removed the stimuli of my anxiety, I no longer needed them.

And now I’m probably about done with the sleeping aid, too. The last couple weeks I’ve slept without it. The key to being able to wean off of it has been instituting a strict sleep regimen. One of my Christmas gifts was a sound machine and a variety of herbal sleep teas. (and black diamonds! *fucking grin*) Here’s a sample regimen:

  1. Turn my phone to Do Not Disturb
  2. Sit very quietly and have a cup of tea, usually meditating, for about 15 minutes (I sometimes do this in a bubble bath)
  3. Set sound machine for 30 minutes of rain
  4. Start reading

I usually don’t even make it through the whole 30 minutes before I’m sleep. One of the trouble areas though is if I wake up in the middle of the night. Waking up around 4AM is one of the most emotionally challenging times for me. When it happens, my loneliness is heightened. If I don’t get back to sleep almost immediately, my mind starts to spin to sadness. I’ve been working on narrowing down a “cure” for that. So far, I know it happens more often if I go to bed before 10. I think my body only wants about 7 hours of sleep, so I’ve been trying to wait until at least 10 before I start winding down, which is hard because, for me, the nights are theeeeee hardest. So, naturally, I try to go to bed early. But that’s an avoidance tactic, and while I believe sometimes you do need to just do your best to not even think about shit and just get to the next day, eventually you have to face shit head on, no matter how much it hurts. I much prefer to do that now than have to revisit all of this later. So I’ve been balancing between avoidance and facing the loneliness head on.

It’s all a work in progress.

I am a work in progress.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mala: A Tangible Prayer

This past summer, my best friend came and picked me up after sunrise. She and her daughter took me to a wooded park. We swung and went down the slide at the abandoned playground. I collapsed in the grass, staring through the tree tops at the sky, the world made blurry by my tears. I did the same thing in a field in Virginia in the days after my husband left, abruptly. I never thought I’d be abandoned in such a way ever again. Foolishly, I thought the universe only dealt you that particular card once in a lifetime.

But now I know, because as the old folks say, live a little longer.

Thankfully, that temporary ending has been smoothed over and turned into something much more palatable and much less traumatic. But over the summer, in that moment, the pain was… suffocating.

With a sermon streaming in the background and beads stacked, splayed, and sorted all over our picnic table, they showed me how to string together a mala. Since then, I have held, worn, and fingered the smoothness of those beads in an attempt to hold on to my peace of mind.

I had been searching for a mantra for my mala- one that drowns out the voice in my head that screams used. unwanted. discarded. I needed a mantra that heals as it’s repeated exactly 108 times per rotation.

I found it.

Sunday, at my first meditation class, cemented that this is indeed the one:

i am whole as i am.

Because the meditation was practiced in 10 minute groupings, I was able to repeat my affirmation hundreds of times. It takes practice, but I had a few moments of calm. This is especially impressive for me considering it was Sunday… a day my mind is known to wander to my most extreme sexual fantasies, which- as of late- is not a positive place for my mind to explore. While I have no intention of squelching my sexual needs and desires, I do acknowledge that some fantasies are connected to a kind of partnership I do not have, and therefore the kindest thing I can do for myself is reorient myself to something less triggering. That simple (well, hard… wait, pun?) act is an example of self care.
.. not to be confused with aftercare, which I also m…wait…

See how my mind wanders?

*goes to find mala*

Posted in growth, health, mental health | 1 Comment

Self-discipline

I have a feeling one of the concepts that will come up over and over again in this journal is self-discipline… cuz I struggle, lol.

self-dis┬Ěci┬Ěpline
noun
1.
…the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it.

 

I’ve struggled greatly with self-discipline in the last few years. I have moments… sometimes month-long moments… of having great self-discipline, but then I falter.

I’ve chosen January to kick-start my health in this, the year of self. There are several habits I’m tackling this month: regular exercise, abstaining from alcohol, taking a multivitamin daily, and sticking to a sleep schedule. I have a goal to lose 15 pounds. The same 15 pounds I’ve been losing and gaining all. year. long. *rolls eyes*

Many of these are things I’ve done over and over again throughout the year. So why haven’t I maintained the habits? Some are simple to answer… I have no desire to abstain from alcohol for a whole year- so that particular “habit” is always temporary. But regular exercise should really be a year long, life long habit. And a multivitamin and sleep schedule certainly wouldn’t hurt over the long term.

Where is my self discipline!?!

Laziness. Hard pill to swallow. I’ve gotten lazy. I used to work multiple jobs and attend college full time. Some of that was because I had such clear goals which gave my days a certain kind of purpose, and I was simply to busy to be lazy. And with school starting next week, maybe that’s just the thing to make me feel like I’m actually working toward something, anything.

But also lethargy secondary to depression. This year, I found myself severely depressed, briefly. (When I removed the stimulus, the fog lifted pretty swiftly, considering.) Depression zaps your energy… which makes it harder to exercise… despite the evidence that exercise is an effective treatment for depression. Sometimes, getting out of bed is hard enough. So… you’re depressed… but you wanna exercise… how do you motivate yourself? I don’t have all the answers, but these are the things I’m trying:

1. I created a “Why I should exercise” list on my phone. Yours should be specific to you. Stuff that actually motivates you. Mine is short- only 5 important items- and usually works to get me moving:

  • I don’t want to take blood pressure medication
  • I want to give birth out of the hospital, which means
  • I need to lose weight
  • I can’t run from a predator
  • JAMAICA

2. Rewards system: I’m a spa kinda girl. I haven’t had a pedicure, manicure, or eyebrow arching in over a month. And you know what? I won’t hit the spa until I’ve actually accomplished 2 weeks of solid exercise. At 4 weeks? A massage. These are effective motivators for me.

3. Reality Jolt: I have a very… unflattering… semi naked picture of myself lying in bed, saved on my phone. When I look at it, I think, this is what men see before we have sex. Now, I realize it’d be “better” if this didn’t matter to me… but… I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t. Yes, the goal is to love myself right now, as I am. However, right now, I don’t. That’s the honest truth. I do not love the way my body looks right now. I like to wear sexy shit to bed. I like to look and feel sexy when I’m having sex. When I look at the picture, I go get on the elliptical.

Monday is the official start SexyShred which is a great catalyst for my health goals this month. But I’ve already started easing into things.

Posted in fat gurl, health | 4 Comments

Welcome

Why this journal? Why now?

My 2013 opened with the death of my biopaternal grandma.

In the moment, I was strong: I cooked and fed her her very last meal. Did the things she had long pulled me aside to tell me to do in this moment that she knew was coming. I designed her funeral program. I eulogized her. And then I watched them lower her into the ground. I was the last one standing on that frozen dirt… and suddenly, I lost my strength and wailed. Wailed for the woman who helped raise me, living only a couple houses away. The woman who taught me how to cook as I sat on her counter and who fed me tirelessly. The woman who saved pennies to take me to every circus, every Septemberfest, and Peony Park every year. The woman who believed in my every. waking. dream. She took me seriously, and that’s extremely important for poor black gurls with inconceivable dreams. And equally important, she always, always, told me I was beautiful.

And then she was gone.

They call me the little version of her… I know why, and I am not ashamed. You see, she was bold. Mouthy. Quick-witted. Bluntly truthful. She was a big woman; she took up space, without apology. She was… herself. I want to spend the next year the same way… being wholly, fully, unapologetically, me.

The end of 2013 closed with as much heartbreak as it began. I built a friendship and fell in love with someone who ultimately walked away from our friendship- understandably so, after I walked away from a friendship with his partner. There have been very few moments in my life where I’ve felt such pain. There was something there that…is extremely hard to find. I love him dearly, and as time goes by I recognize through his apologies and his actions that walking away from me was truly the most loving thing he ever did for me. It was not what either of us wanted, yet he had the courage to make the best decision for me over himself. I will always respect him for that, even when it’s hard to see his love though the carnage that remains.

Considering all the life that happened between those events- incredible highs included- I understand why I’m emotionally exhausted. Truly, for the first time in my life, I know what people mean when they say, “just give me peace of mind.” I have had reasons to be mentally unsteady in the past, but my mental fortitude has never actually failed me. But this year, sitting in my brand new therapist’s office, there came a moment where I felt nothing. Absolutely nothing. Numb. She asked me what I wanted. My response was, “to breathe”. “Excuse me?” she said. I felt the beginning of a new panic attack and choked out, “To breathe, I just want to breathe.”

Apply your own oxygen mask first.

So this year, the focus will be on me- the choices I made and didn’t make, the gut-checks I ignored, the shit it cost me, and what I intend to do about it now for the sake of my healthy future. This is an exploration of what I want, what I need, and why. I realize I’ve been haphazardly/circumstantially single for a couple years now. This year I’m making a conscientious decision to be single for one year. No searching. No hoping and wishing. Just me, myself, and my shit, for better or worse.

Why do this publicly?

  • I write more consistently when I know people are reading… it provides a sense of accountability.
  • To not feel isolated

I, and other black women, risk a lot when they write… when they dare to speak. I have had people take the life experiences I share and spit them back at me with more venom than I knew possible. I stopped writing. I stopped sharing. I stopped talking. Then? I asked myself, who the fuck are they?

So, welcome to the year of self. I hope you read and comment if you feel so moved.

Posted in beginnings | 4 Comments