How often, as parents, do we really sit back and marvel at our children? We birth, nurture, protect, provide, and guide them into adulthood, but do we really just look at them? As the people they are?
Today I am doing just that. As much as possible anyway. As I type this, it is exactly 9:10 am EST in the United States. 20 years ago today I was pregnant with my twin sons and sitting in Thomas Jefferson University hospital being prepped for induction. You see, I had fed my twins so well during my pregnancy that they didn’t want to come out, lol. Yet, they were too big to stay in and I made the mistake of watching a cesarean section video on YouTube. Nope. I told my doctor she would not be slicing open my innards. I already had insecurity issues with my body so a C-section was a hard no for me.
I had gone into false labor twice (at work) over the last few weeks but at 3 cm dilated, the hospital kept sending me back home. My preschool students were fascinated at watching my body change over the months and had adopted my babies as theirs, especially since two of my parents were also pregnant. My co-workers were concerned about me working, the deacons in the church had been trying to convince me I needed to be on bed rest for months (because of how huge my stomach grew early on) but my doctor said I was perfectly healthy to work up until I deliver. In hindsight, I think my doctor was excited to see how far I could carry as all of her previous twin deliveries never exceeded 26 weeks. I was induced at 35 weeks.
My pregnancy was normal for me. No morning sickness but constant hunger, and constant cravings. I did experience nausea when I tried to eat some of my favorite foods like shrimp fried rice and any kind of chicken. My boys said those were hard nos for them, lol. Their personalities were distinct even then. My eldest was pretty chill. Twisting and turning mostly to get comfortable. My youngest was energetic and constantly hungry. My stomach growled as I was eating most times.
Now, as young adults, I see them watching to see which direction they want to go in life. They are quiet and introspective, for now, until they discover what lights them aglow. I am excited for when that moment comes and they flourish in their passion. I knew this phase of life would arrive but it is as bittersweet as the day of their birth. I was excited for their new chapter yet sad that our chapter, in that capacity, had ended. Work and bills will always be there as a reminder of responsibilities but remember to take time to enjoy your children before they branch off into their own lives…
These last 18+ months have taken a mental toll on many of us. Far too often we are unable to take much needed rest because of life’s obligations. Jobs, children, aging parents, even pets have all still needed us performing at an optimal rate. But what is an optimal rate when burnout is looming around the bend? How do you protect your peace of mind and recharge yourself before spazzing out on an unsuspecting person? What can you do?
I don’t know about you but I have tried returning to my poetic place of solitude… nope. My inspiration tank was as dry as my mother’s first Thanksgiving turkey 🦃 🤣. Love you, ma. That in itself was concerning to me because poetry was always my go to place of relief and release mentally. Next I tried baking. Cookies, cakes, bread and pies. Delicious 😋 things smelling up my kitchen and swelling up my waistline 😭. No good. I tried forcing myself to interact with others outside. I attended some vending events, showed support for some of my IG friends in real time but it just didn’t do it. I still felt blah.
Ok, I thought to myself. Music is always a sure fire mood lifter. I scrolled through Pandora. Nope. YouTube Music. Nope. I even dug out my box of old cds from the late 90s-early 2000s. Not a happy toe tap to be found.
I couldn’t kick the funk I was in and it was seriously affecting my interactions with everyone around me. I was always irritable and cranky (and no, it was not that time of the month) and was ready to snap on anyone at a moments notice. Work pressures didn’t help. At that point I did 2 things. I called a friend for a referral to a therapist and I picked up my knitting needles.
I am so glad I did. My therapist is down to earth and real. She listens. We meet weekly through video chat on Duo and I couldn’t be happier with my choice. And since I’ve picked my needles back up I have been knitting consistently for the last 2 months. Today I decided to bring my current wip (work in progress) to work with me, to work on during down time. My commute was crazier than normal this morning (3 road construction slow downs and 2 road closures with a clogged detour) so instead of sitting in traffic frustrated as normal, I picked up my project and started knitting at every stop light and slow down. 🤗 I wish I had thought about doing this sooner. Now I look for the red lights so I can knit more stitches and my irritability is fading one stitch at a time.
Knitting may not be for you, but then again it might. You won’t know until you try. My sure fire recommendation is to try something new to you. If you like it, go for it. If all else fails reach out to a professional for help. It’s confidential and that may be just what you need to release what’s on your mind. At the end of the day be good to you because today is yesterday’s tomorrow…
As I celebrate my new year, a return to my sun rising, many are mourning loss. And as I empathize with the pain, I already understand the importance of showing love to those you love everyday because you don’t know when the last time you see them is the last time you see them. So for those you love, make the time to see them. Make the time to call them. Make the time to tell them how you feel or clear up any misunderstandings. Time is precious and stops for no one.
That is why for my birthday this year I chose to do something just for me. My birthday has been like a rose bush for me, pretty but painful, for too long. The short version – my father never bothered to remember my birthday, ever. He remembered my brother’s birthday which is 2 days after mine. From 1987 on I do not recall one birthday call. So my birthdays have always been bittersweet…
Fast forward to 2020. My birthday has returned, the bitter has lessened and the sweet is increasing and for those who choose not to see – well, it’s their loss not mine. Our time in these bodies are not infinite. So I choose to walk into my new decade, into my new season, leaving any and every thing behind who does not honor or cherish me as the divine being that I am. I am here on purpose and for a purpose.
I revisited my original blog I started 13 years ago and feeling nostalgic, started posting again. Well, tonight I was inspired by another poet and wrote, Thank You on my other blog. Check it out and leave a comment below.
I don’t like winter or winter-like weather. I feel the cold beneath my skin, into the bones. I need warmth. I like warmth. Cold air makes my body retreat into itself.
On the upside, winter makes for good cuddling if you have a cuddle-buddy. Hot chocolate or warm apple cider and a good movie or two while bundled in a warm blanket makes for a comfortable evening. Throw in some bulky yarn and your choice of needles or hooks (my fellow yarnies know what I’m talking about) and you have a recipe for heaven – for some.
But me, I like the yarn and chocolate and cuddles yet I’d rather do without the freezing temperatures. I don’t like opening my front door to Sub-Zero yelling “Finish Her!” for three – six months out of the year. That is not my cup of tea!
But since I am on the East coast of the United States, there’s no getting around it. So I’ll just bundle up, stock up on yarn and hot chocolate and knit my way to summer! Stay warm in the meantime.
First, I have to apologize to you. I have exposed us to years of unnecessary heartache and pain through allowing your innocent vulnerabilities to be taken advantage of. You are a loving and powerful woman. I did not trust you enough to allow you to spread your wings and grow. My fears kept you bound to those who could not give you what you needed and deserved to fly.
My fears kept me from believing there was anything better for you out in the world. You deserve the world. Your smile cheers up those you share it with and you share freely even when you are crumbling inside and I appreciate that. I love you for that.
You put others before yourself when they are in need. You give even when you are in need. You are fiercely loyal to those you love, even when they hurt you deeply. And when you want to retreat and heal I have interfered, and for that I am sorry. When you needed to sever ties and heal your heart I interfered and for that I am sorry.
Even in pain you still emit a celestial beauty through your writings. Everytime I read your poetry I feel your memories and cry your tears. Thank you for sharing your words, not only with me but with the rest of the world.
Continue to shine your brightest light because I need it. I thank you for being the woman you are.
Hello. I have been quiet for quite sometime, and for good reason. I am approaching my 40th year and I promised myself that I would shed toxic people from my life before I reached that milestone. I finally left a toxic relationship I had been in for more than 10 years. Tomorrow will be 1 year since I left to make a new and peaceful life for my children and I. It hasn’t been easy because there is always the obstacle of standing firm in my belief when the other party tries to re-assert control over me. I am more acutely aware of the behavior patterns during this month because I left during this month and because it is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
I have to fight for my safety and that of my children because I don’t know who may be watching that need encouragement. Many people unfamiliar with the terror of being in an abusive relationship believe that you can just walk away – it’s not that simple. Especially when children are involved. The officers of the family court system are not trained properly to effectively handle domestic violence situations leaving many victims (men are abused also – but because of social stigmas they are less likely to report being abused) and children in serious danger. This has been my season and it is coming to an end.
I have a long healing road to travel but I am grateful that I am alive to travel that road as so many women did not have the fortune to. I have reconnected with friends and interest in activities I had stopped doing. I have begun writing, knitting and crocheting again. I have even knit a pencil skirt free hand! Although that last season was painful, it was necessary for me to grow and re-connect with myself. I accomplished several of my long-term goals I didn’t think were possible for me and that felt amazing!
This is the first time I have been single in 13 years and it feels good. When I go to sleep at night it is peaceful. I laugh more. I smile more. I hug my children more. I am slowly learning about who I am at this point in my life. The old me is introducing me to the new me that is emerging from these challenges and I love her. She is spunky and funny (I don’t tell jokes I just state the reality of some stuff) and excited to experience the goodness that life has to offer.
Life is still moving at a break neck pace. Physically I can keep up until my body makes me sit still. My mind, on the other hand, doesn’t stop. Ever. Which is why I need to incorporate more self-care into my daily routine.
My thoughts fly even while I sleep. All of the conversations I want to have but can not usually surface during my sleeping hours – most times interrupting my sleep. I wish I could have these conversations awake so the thoughts and emotions could leave me alone. Yet some of those conversations would be fruitless anyhow.
The most random thoughts surface usually when I force myself to sit still. I feel the need to always be ‘doing’ something so I’m not viewed as lazy or irresponsible. That makes me feel scattered and unable to relax. What I really want… Well, what I need is for these plans to coalesce like pudding and go down smoothly. Still working on how to ensure that happens.
What ways do you sit still? What is self-care for you?