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Archive for the month “November, 2013”

Bad Mood Bears

I felt very nervous when I woke up, opened my phone and saw that my GRE scores were available online.

I already felt like I didn’t do the best job, but I held out hope that the essays would have pulled me through.

Welp, long story short, they didn’t.

I have to take the test again. I have to plunk down more money that I didn’t want to. I contacted the admissions person today to see how far this would put me back. Even though I prepared myself for the possibility of having to take the test again, I had a bit of that hope that maybe just maybe I’ll sneak through. It will be just enough.

To make myself feel better, I scoured the internet for inspiration. And I looked for online programs that didn’t have a GRE requirement in case I take the test again and bomb again. I can’t do it more than three times.

So, the feeling of being stuck and suffocated started to take over. It’s a setback, sure. I’m a grown up, I’ve dealt with worse. But, truth be told, I wanted this to be my triumph, the start of a new season of greatness.

I’ve been in a rut going on three years now. Recovering from a terrible heartbreak, the stress of work, being bought out by a new company, floods of coworkers jumping ship, pay cuts, to an eventual upswing which led to a promotion.

I vacillate between being immensely grateful for my life having really fantastic moments where I got to spend time with family and friends or travel someplace new, but to having moments like I’m spinning my wheels.

I’ve been questioning so much, sometimes I don’t recognize myself. Some days I’m super optimistic and I cheer on others around me, other days, I feel like I’m lower than the dirt.

So here I am. I have to take the test again. I have to keep studying, and keep trying and get more questions right, especially on the math section. Period. Those are the facts. That’s real. It’s not the end of the world. I have to keep repeating that to myself. I just hate the feeling of not doing as well as I’d hoped.

So I read this from the Huffington Post. And I liked it. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rana-florida/what-did-you-fail-at-toda_b_3817414.html

Successful people fail all of the time. Blah, blah.

But adding injury to insult, I saw Kyle Barker yesterday. He was flirting by phone and asked to come over. I basically told him flat-out that I was in no mood to be fucked. That I feel vulnerable and tired and I am in need of tenderness. If he couldn’t do it, or if he didn’t mean it, there was no point in a visit.

Not sure if he was taken aback by my brutal honesty, but he responded that he really just wanted to see me and hadn’t seen me in a really long time. So I agreed. We sat on my couch and watched a Kanye interview and he went on his merry way.

I was further frustrated by Wild Card. Around 9:20 p.m. he was sending me text messages, but it wasn’t even like general conversation. He wanted to know if I wanted to come over, in the rain, using a twisty, dangerousish road notoriously horrible under regular conditions.

I politely declined. He said nothing else for the rest of the night. My dearest male friend was coaching me along the way. “Yeah, homie, if he doesn’t respond, he just wanted you to come over and smash. Sorry.”

It was a gut punch. I wanted this guy to like me and respect me and see all of the awesomeness that I’m made of. We’ve hung out three times. Once out for a meal and drinks. The last two times, within the last week at his home.

The first house visit was cut and dry and sweet. We watched an indie flick, had a good time shared a blanket on the couch. He offered that I could stay, I didn’t. The second visit, we decided to have a game night and have drinks.

I over imbibed, and eventually got sick. That night, he did kiss me. And he also spent a part of the night laying with me on the bathroom floor. When we retreated to his super luxurious bed, he held me close as we slept.

I thought that these actions had to mean that he was kind of interested and thought somewhat highly of me. But I can’t peg it. I just can’t. I’m not a repository for penis. I have a brain, I have feelings. Why do I always want to impress men who could care less? It’s infuriating because I know I’m better than this bullshit. I’m told over and over by my older, wiser and amazing cousin that I’m impatient. That is probably my problem. But still. Dating these days is terrible and hard and frustrating.

You are trying to read between the lines of text messages because people don’t call anymore, and when you hang out you are trying to read body language or get a feeling… ugh. We are all just fumbling around in the dark. It’s depressing.

Your girl is in serious need of a break from everything. So Thanksgiving being tomorrow and the five-hour drive ahead is probably what I need, although, I don’t like having that much time to be stuck in a car with my thoughts. I may feel worse by the time I hit my parent’s driveway.

So yep, I’m a bad mood bear today. I feel like an unloveable failure, doomed to a life of mediocrity and loneliness, who peaked too soon in her early to mid twenties. Boo. The struggle is real. But it is what it is.

I do want all the 29 to lifers to have a fantastic holiday weekend! Don’t eat too much, but enjoy every bite and every moment with the folks you love the most. If you can’t be with your loved ones reach out to them, tell them you are thankful for them, and send up a prayer of thanks for those you’ve lost. Hugs!

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What’s Your Zodiac Sign, Baby?

I have a confession.

Back when I was a student at Howard, there was a moment in time that everyone I knew had a copy of “Black Love Signs” in their dorm room or on their apartment shelf.

It was the must-have book aside from the ever ubiquitous required reading of “Things Fall Apart.”

Every time and I mean every time a new love interest came into our lives and we wanted it to actually go somewhere, we’d refer to the book.

And if things were starting to go downhill, we’d refer to the book and agree that yup, we weren’t really THAT compatible to begin with. The book warned us.

Some people may think our blind devotion to that book was absolutely a bunch of malarkey, but we believed it. Oh man. We consulted that thing like a Bible. So sad. The author should have made a pocket or purse version. We would have purchased it.

And truth be told, I didn’t realize I liked the “Wild Card” as much as I did, until I happened to look up our compatibility on the internet earlier today. I found myself laughing at myself.

Looking it up and hoping for the best reminded me of how faithfully, we’d consult and instruct our friends to consult “the book.” And we’d flip through the pages intensely asking again, “When is his birthday? Oooh, ooh ok. Ok.”

But now that I’m older, and have done a lot of dating and have been through the process of being in serious relationships and picking apart how I was in those relationships, just looking at any material on the Aquarian woman, kind of trips me out.

A lot of what they say about Aquarian women tends to kind of hold true about me and has a lasting impact on how I tackle relationships and people. So is it a bunch of bunk?

If you think it’s a bunch of bunk, it is. If you think there’s something to it, there’s something to it.

Unlike my college days, I don’t swear by every single thing. Individuals are just that and how we mesh or don’t mesh with other people mostly depends on just that, individuality, life experiences, etc.

But, to me, it’s still a whole lot of fun!

Do you take into account a person’s zodiac sign in terms of compatibility? Do you even consider it out of curiosity, like me? Be honest!!!

“Signs” Beyonce. Don’t even act like you weren’t paying close attention to this jam!!

You Down With GRE? Yeah, You Know Me

Well folks, queue up the music.

I’m free!!!

I don’t have to think about studying for a while because I took the GRE this weekend. It was a strange feeling taking a test. I hadn’t done it in gasp ten years. So the concept of studying and preparing was something to get used to on top of working and getting in a date here and there.

So I went, took the test, did my best and freaked out because during the math sections I ran out of time. I tried to run back and guess as much as possible, but yeah, that didn’t work out.

One thing I can appreciate is that they will give you raw scores for your math and verbal sections. You just have to wait for people to hand grade your two essays.

So I left there feeling some kind of way about the two numbers the computer spit back at me. Basically, I didn’t kill the verbal the way I expected to, but I do think I did a really good job on the essays. And math, oh, math was math. I wasn’t awesome. At all.

Keeping in mind I suck at math, when I tried to calculate what my potential score could be, it was a little unsettling. Even if I get the highest scores possible on my essay, it appears that if I make the requirement of my grad school, I’m going to make it on the nose.

And if I miss it, I’m going to miss it by a hair. Missing it by a hair will really upset me.

At this point, I can’t take the test again for another 21 days anyway, but I honestly don’t want to take this test again. I don’t.

As one good friend pointed out to me when she pep-talked me, she said not getting the score I need will NOT be the end of the world. I will just try again.

And she’s right. But I prefer not having to “try again” or have to postpone the beginning of my studies.

So after the grueling four hours, I decided to have some lunch, a celebratory sangria and meet up with a friend to see the Best Man Holiday.

Sidebar: It was an awesome movie. I laughed, I cried. It was filled with emotion. The actors were amazing, the clothes, the everything! EVERYTHING!

As for today, part of me knew I needed a pick-me-up after the test, so I scheduled to speak to some local high school students first thing this morning and I came to work late.

I’m pretty glad I did. The kids (mostly 9th graders and seniors) asked really good questions and a few of the students came up to talk to me after. It also didn’t hurt that I hit it off with one of the panelists, handsome and a former NFL player, who lives near me! Yes, lawd!!!

But all of my dreams were shattered when he said, “We bought our house seven years ago.”

I checked for a damn ring while we were on the panel. He wore one on his right hand though. He was so nice and we even walked out together, and when we shook hands, he asked for a hug, so I thought I was onto something. So oh well. He has my card. Just strange.

But all of that aside, the kids. Yes, the kids. They were sweet and I really enjoyed myself. I really love speaking to people. There is something about it. I guess I do like the spotlight a bit. I forgot that about myself. So I need to do more of that. I’m glad I had the opportunity. I really wish I could have done the second class, but we are down a person on my team at work. I love the organization. And the seniors who are apart of the program were poised, polite and just great kids. I enjoyed talking to them too. I look forward to doing more with this group.

Part of me felt funny talking about journalism and how I always wanted to do it, when I’m in the process of changing up. I did tell the kids that the industry changed and I had to change with it and develop other skills, which is what I’ve been doing.

I do think that going to grad school and studying public health won’t completely take me off my path. I think I’ll always write, but I want to do more in a greater sense. The kind of world in journalism I wanted to have just does not exist anymore. Therefore, I got to go where I belong and where I’m supposed to be and taking this step will get me closer to whatever that is.

The panelists all agreed folks have to work hard, dream big and team up with folks who believe in you too to make things happen. I was taking in the information just as much as the kids. I was inspired to hear the setbacks and the accomplishments of the people I was speaking with.

Sometimes you have to take a step back and do something different. I’m glad I did. Going to talk to the kids was actually a perfect way to close out a period of intense study and stress and usher in the holiday season. I can’t wait to spend time with my family and friends. I’m going nuts. I need to get loved on in the worst way. I appreciate all of the friends who called me and asked me about the test, it really meant a lot to know people cared. I’m all mushy.

I blame the Best Man Holiday. That’s enough! Go see it if you haven’t, see it again if you already saw it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Naturally” Supportive????

Hmmmm I feel stuck, blog family.

I really do.

My work rival/bully was in the office today, and I don’t speak to her much. But every now and then, I will pop in to check on her and ask how she’s doing.

She’s been attempting to go natural (and I’ve joked that once again she’s copied me). Some days have been more successful than others. Ok, most days haven’t been successful.

Because hair is a sticky subject for black women, especially those doing the natural thing, I haven’t commented on her hair. Because trust me, I’ve had my fair share of moments where I felt downright ugly.

The truth is I do think her natural look, while she is still trying to figure out what works for her, is probably an improvement from her relaxed hair that had no life, no movement and straw-like. But I was taught early on, if you don’t have nothing nice to say, or you don’t know what to say, shut up.

So I popped my head in the office, and I mentioned my latest product obsession. I really like it a lot. And I wanted to share it with her.

Then it happened. She said no one mentioned her hair save for a very kind, chatty, liberal white woman (who once lived in Africa with the Peace Corps). She said even me not giving her a compliment caused her to feel like her efforts were in vain. She even said she felt invisible. When she mentioned to our co-worker that no one complimented her hair, she did what most nice people try to do.

They were in the break room and two other co-workers came in. Kind, chatty, liberal oohed and awwed over homegirl’s hair and asked the other women, don’t you like it? Welp, as sister girl told me her story, she said she knew the other women didn’t like it and to avoid further embarrassment of seeing the looks on their faces, she purposely opened a cupboard to not look at them.

This broke my heart.

Keep in mind I was recently invigorated by watching an amazing discussion featuring Melissa Harris Perry and acclaimed pioneer in black feminism bell hooks. And they talked about black women, and our esteem and our bodies and shaming and fighting negative images and stereotypes of ourselves and I was cosigning and nearly in tears at how profound they were, and another sister was hoping I’d step in and lift her up.

We’ve had beef though. So more often than not, I don’t see her as a sister in the collective sense, because there have been times she’s stepped on me and seemed to take delight in my discomfort and set backs.

So this dysfunctional relationship that we have continues to challenge me spiritually.

She said she supported me, she complimented me, so it hurt that I said nothing.

I had no real response for her.

So I said, “well how do you feel about your hair?” “Do you like it?” “Is this journey worth it for you?”

Yup. I deflected.

I told her that there were plenty of times I woke up in the morning and thought I was ugly. I had my own parents look at me sideways with disapproval the first time I came home. But I had to keep working with and on my hair.

It became a new thing I had to study. I’m still learning what products will or won’t do.

She’s just started and she’s going through what thousands and thousands of black women are going through and in the earlier stages, after you’ve big chopped and your hair is really short, YOU GO THROUGH IT. Especially if you hadn’t worn your hair short before. It’s a shock to the system.

As for the other work people. There are only four black women in our office.

The white people at my job are smart people, and while they’ve had a number of cultural snafus in the past, they knew damn well to steer clear of our hair. They leave it alone. Honestly, the same sweet, kind, liberal lady was the one to compliment me on my hair when I changed it. No one else said anything to me either. But she understood the context, and she understood what it meant for me to do what I did, she’s quite aware.

It still broke my heart. My newly natural co-worker apparently needed my support and in my silence, I dropped the ball. There was no point in giving her a compliment now. So I didn’t.

I’m really not sure what to do at this point. She also mentioned that her boss told her she needed to be “nicer” and say “please” and “thank you” more.

The truth of the matter is, the boss was kind of on point with that. She has always had a smug kind of attitude, that didn’t sit well with most people.

So, there are self-esteem issues galore. Which I get as a fellow black woman. But at the same time, as a human being, an individual, you dish out funky you get funky. You funky on the inside, it radiates on the outside. People can’t see your true beauty if you don’t give up something and make yourself vulnerable.

I don’t agree with being fake either or overdoing it on the nice.

And sometimes I wonder what kind of vibe I put off at work and I try to be conscious about that. I do speak to people, say good morning, give compliments when it’s warranted and offer to help people out when I can. But, I know that my conversations only go so far because aside from the race, I’m a different age than most of these people, I’m single and I’m childless. I just don’t have the same interests.

So I’m stuck yall. Should I have bent over backwards to show my approval of my co-worker’s natural journey because I also went natural? Or am I right in the belief that choosing to go natural is a very personal and intimate thing, but it tends to affect the way others look at you and the way you look at yourself. It’s scary. It is raw.

But I’ve found, the more comfortable I got with my hair and the more confident, people started seeing other features of mine more clearly. I felt really, really honest and I noticed, that I felt other people and their reactions to me were really, really honest, positive or negative and I accepted those things.

I don’t suggest drastic changes to your hair if you don’t have a solid foundation of self-esteem anyway. Because it takes a long time for your hair to grow back or change color.

So, maybe my co-workers reactions and feelings of isolation reflect something deeper and reflect a truth about how she deals with the world and it doesn’t feel good. I sympathize with her. But basically saying I had a responsiblity to compliment her because she did it for me, ergo, because we are both black women in a workplace of so many white folks, it kind of had me stunned. But she said it.

He final words before heading to a meeting, she said she just didn’t even know if all the twisting and untwisting was worth it, and that she struggles because she’s raising two little girls and she wants them to feel that their hair is beautiful.

But if she’s walking around miserable, and expecting other people to say she’s pretty, hair isn’t the only thing her girls have to worry about learning from her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breaking the Study Wall

I hit a wall of walls yesterday, trying to study for the GRE.
The panic and anxiety were setting in that at this point it was a week away.
As the days inch closer, I ain’t gonna know, what I ain’t gonna know and the reality of that is settling in.
So I’m trying my best to get really good at what I do know and ride that till the wheels fall off.
It’s so much information.
It’s so overwhelming.
So after staring at the study books, and staring. I decided, I’ll go to the gym.
And that helped. Then I went to the grocery store and got some veggies and a cookies and cream candy bar and ate the joker in my car on the way home.
Did I negate my hard work at the gym?
Possibly. But that wasn’t the point. I needed motivation I needed to physically do something to get my juices flowing.
And they began to flow.
I took out some poster board that I use for my vision boards and I began to write.
I wrote the school I was going to attend. I wrote my March 2014 start date for my program.
And in very large letters I wrote my graduation date and new fancy title. Masters of Public Health.
I wrote things like, “Change the game.”
“Shape Policy” “Create Access”
“If you do your best, let God do the rest.”
Then things changed in my spirit. I wrote things like calm.
Redefine success.
Then I started writing the names of women who inspired me. And they started out as celebrities, singers, artists, dancers, great thinkers and writers, and women in politics, educators.
Then it started to get personal. I listed mentors, and old women from church, women who passed on, and then I wrote the names of my contemporaries, my friends, my sister friends.
I found myself praying for them, praying for their strength to keep on doing what they are doing. I was proud of them.
I found myself thanking God for the women who were no longer with us on Earth and their influence on my life. Just the writing of the names, the speaking of the names was giving me an unexpected strength. I even thought of my ancestors. Women who didn’t have very many choices. My great, great, great-grandmother, who according to some records had no name but negro woman, who bore my great great-grandfather. What a world.
To know what I’ve come from.
I realized I had no choice.
I couldn’t sit and get upset because I’m not great at math. I just had to pick myself up and keep working.
I spoke to the only person I knew who would get it. And not think I was crazy for writing down the names of all these women and feeling some spiritual connection and feeling overwhelmed and humbled and blessed, just by taking time to acknowledge.
The friend told me it was a wonderful experience I had.
She reminded me that I wasn’t like everyone else and that I was far too talented and creative and gifted to just sit down and claim mediocrity as part and parcel of becoming an adult in this world.
She told me, this is my time.
This is my time to study and research and be at the table in terms of helping people with mental illness. The world needs someone like me, who looks like me, who has experienced what I’ve experienced, who knows what I know to go forth and take my place at the table.
These were powerful, yet true words.
My wise friend told me to shut out the noise. To not live in the bubble and to fully and truly follow the path I feel deep down inside of me and not abandon that.
I managed to study for a little more before going to bed. I didn’t log several hours, like the previous day.
But the spiritual boost I had from her, from my prayer and from going to the gym, proved to be just as essential.

You Must Not Know Bout Me

So my jams of the morning have been Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable” and TLC’s “Switch” because Renaissance fell, bumped his head, lost his mind and your girl just does not have the time or energy for it.

I am not in attendance for this.
He fell off the radar because now his pledgees are into the final and most intense stages of their “process.”
I had to ask around to my Greek friends about this foolishness before I pulled the plug on his life support.
They said this dude was trippin and a male friend said, if anything it’s not unusual for old heads to show up at the end. But he’s too far in, even if he is the one who is like a founding father to a chapter.

Blah, blah. It all makes my head hurt.
This dudes pledges are “on line” not him, so I don’t get how he can’t eek out a text or a phone call.

He sent me the half assed email, and a text or two.
But here’s what’s got me feeling some kind of way.
Weeks ago I asked him to see a show of an artist we both like. It was going to be my treat. I asked him if he would be done with the pledgees by then and he said yes.
A week later, I told him I had the tickets and to lock it in. He said cool.
When he didn’t hang out with me on Sunday, as he said he wanted to on that Thursday and only sent me one text message and didn’t answer my messages, I knew on Monday, I need to confirm. So when he sent me that wack email from his job, I asked him to please let me know by mid week if it looked like he wasn’t able to attend because that would give me adequate time to ask someone else and not waste my money.

He sent me a text asking about my day, but never brought up our upcoming date. So I asked him to confirm. Nothing.

Yesterday after not hearing anything at all, I left him a Voicemail. “Could you please take one minute or a half a minute to tell me if you can make it tomorrow night.”

Still nothing.
I dare this fool to pop up today or even show up at the venue. Because he’s about to have his feelings all the way hurt.

I have two guy friends I enjoy attending events with. Both I haven’t seen in ages. So one friend couldn’t make it and the other friend was excited to join me and jumped at the chance. So ha ha ha!

And me and this guy friend always have a great time when we hang out. So I Aint Worried About Nothing. BOOM.

So friends, I wasn’t wrong, correct? I gave this guy numerous opportunities. I had a feeling in my gut he would flake. So I just wanted him to come out and say if he would or would not go. When you are just MIA like that, it’s not crazy for me to wonder if you are still going to show up. Especially since you’ve stood me up in the past or changed plans last minute.

Oh well.

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