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Archive for the tag “stress”

Pushing toward purpose

I won’t even fake.

It’s been a long and emotional week. Me and my friends said goodbye to a friend who passed away, we spent time with one another, thankful we are still living and healthy and making our little way in the world. I spent time with my parents, I laughed, I cried.

I helped one close relative put an end to one chapter in their life and watched them step out on faith to start anew. I was scared for them, but also proud of them too. Life is really unpredictable and complicated and we are all on this path to trying to be happy and it’s one of the most difficult things to accomplish because you basically can’t be happy all the time.

I’ve started prepping for my grad school classes that start this week and I’ve already learned about a whole lot and the material is exciting to me. One of my classes started out talking about the cells in our bodies and how these cells do nothing but try to help us stay balanced. The world is made up of all sorts of stuff that is in fact, trying to break us down and disturb our homeostasis, and all our body and mind wants to do is maintain that, but the environment that is around us, the air we breathe, the food we eat, our stress levels, the things that stress us out they continue to wage war on us everyday, and our poor, brave cells are fighting non stop to keep us mentally and physically balanced.

Isn’t that wild?

Life. That’s what it all is, trying to maintain balance, being cognizant of a whole lot of stuff that inherently attempts to break us and stop us, but like those cells, we fight. On a cellular level, even if it seems like we’ve given up mentally, our bodies are programmed to still fight until it burns out (cell death– which leads to ultimate breakdowns in health and eventually our own demise).

See? I’m learning stuff.

So I was up late last night prepping for my classes after driving five hours back from NY, and meeting a younger cousin visiting from Mississippi for dessert, dropping him off at a friend’s house. I was up until one a.m. and was deeply engrossed in the material I was studying. There were studies about the “weathering” effects on black Americans and that a middle-aged black person has an equal amount of wear and tear on the body and emotions as a very elderly white person. Disparities and injustice are real. And to see studies, and documentation confirming things black folks felt like the world tends to ignore and that we just have to live with it first affirmed me, then it made me sad, then it made me furious.

There are even terms for how black people are high functioning copers. That black women, no matter their economic status are the most highly stressed even though recent articles have said we have now become the most educated group in the country right now at really high rates.

Reading all of this at first made me proud, like yup, look at us we still achieve we still go higher. But then I got sad and upset. Why can’t the rest of the world see what I see, and even what these academics have found? But instead a lot of people see something else. Something completely different.

I do like that these courses are asking people to look at the complexities of society and the implications of things like racism, and classism and how it does affect the greater good.

I found myself in the texts, my brain working and wondering how I can craft solutions to these problems, to this calling I have to help women and children and people of color and the disenfranchised. I found an energy even at one a.m. I knew I was tired, but I knew I picked the right path.

I’m going to be exhausted. This is going to be tough. But this certainly feels like the right thing to do.

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Workers And “Lunch Breaks”

I had an epiphany.

I don’t really take lunch breaks.

I mean when I do, it’s to run an errand, or get outside to go get some food to ultimately bring back to my desk.

I never just sit and read a book. Or sit and do nothing.

When the weather is fair, and I’m exhausted, I will take short naps in my car.

Sometimes, I’ll go get my eyebrows done, or do a little shopping. But in my mind, those are productive tasks.

There’s no break. No real relaxation or giving my mind and body a much-needed rest to regroup for the rest of my work day.

This work, work, work culture in America has brainwashed me into feeling like, if I leave the office for my lunch break, I better be doing something productive like going to the Post Office, or dropping off dry cleaning or shoes that need to be repaired, or getting more gas, so I don’t have to stop on my way home.

It just occurred to me that I’m a single woman with no kids. Yet, I feel like my lunch break has to be as productive as possible.

It’s friggin nuts.

I keep thinking about the genesis of this eating at your desk business. There’s a part of me that feels like a woman started it. Because men in business do what they want. There are no expectations or assumptions of what they can’t do, so they do what they please and those who work hard and are honest are awesome. Those who are deceitful and get ahead by blaming others and collecting success off of the mistakes and shortcomings of others, well, either man will find their way, still get a check and rise– whether they take lunch for an hour or three or go play golf.

I envision this corporate Eve as was the only woman among men at a particular job (she was so lucky to break the glass ceiling), and to stay one step ahead of her peers and show how dedicated and worthy she was, she declined taking a full hour of lunch, and even going out for lunch, she began eating her lunch at her desk.

Well thanks, corporate Eve.

You ruined a generation.

We eat lunch at our desks, we eat dinner in our cars.

We put faith in companies that give us 2-4 weeks of vacation for an entire year, and can lay us off, cut our pay, or not pay us at all a few times a year, and increasingly make us pay more for health insurance.

Something has got to give.

No wonder we are obese, socially inept, and shooting people en masse in this country.

We are stressed out, not well-rested, unhealthy and crazy.

As a nation we go on and on about our work ethic, yet our moral ethics and economic ethics are deplorable.

Sometimes, I marvel at the government employees who work in my building.

Now those folks, oh, they take breaks. They take extended breaks and they even walk slowly, relaxed, smiling and chatting with co-workers on their way back in the building.

They are easy like Sunday morning.

They get it. And they hardly give a half of a damn.

So what’s our problem in the private sector? We live under the same labor laws and regulations that say, hey you get an hour to do whatever the heck you please, your companies work-a-holic culture be dammned.

But that’s another blog post completely.

So my question to you, are you breakin for real?

If so, give me some tips.

On Office Rumors And Relationship Closure

I am emotionally drained today.

Yesterday, after the immature text war I had with my ex, I was approached by a co-worker who is always talking about the imminent shake up of our company. Today she heard one of our top-level execs in another state was clearing out his desk.

No email that he’s no longer with us. No other facts, that’s all she had.

It set off a firestorm of hysteria. I was already reeling from just being sick and tired of being at an emotional stalemate about my past relationship and wanting to just end it and walk away for good. No being a supportive friend who wants to hear quarterly updates, no Facebook, just free and clear. So this information about the job did not improve my mood.

I instantly thought of a top 10 list that Forbes put out about signs that your company is going to go through a massive shake up. One of those rules mentioned top dogs, resigning, getting fired, or seeing them clean up their LinkedIn profiles. So I went into full panic mode.

Shit was going to go down.

Welp, let’s get to this morning. It was a false alarm. He was indeed cleaning out his desk, but ridding it of several magazines he has no doubt collected over time. No resignation, no firing.

Ridiculous. So I’m irritated. If I don’t hear anything from the boss or see a company wide email I’m not entertaining any more end of the job world talk. I’m through. I’m going to keep applying for other jobs, so I can get the hell out before things get worse. That’s it.

Boom.

As for “Relationship Closure” another thing I promised in today’s headline, I’m going to try to make this brief.

My ex wants to hang on to his pain, and my pain and punish himself forever.

I told him I forgave him a long time ago, and him inflicting emotional pain on himself will never settle the score or make us even, it’s only going to make him have a horrible life.

We both have to move forward. I still love him, but going on two years just in limbo, or having him tell me every three months that he loves me and he can’t get his shit together is not helping me.

I’ve grown from this and I’m not willing to just roll up and die anymore because I’ve been hurt.

He says it’s easier for me to move on because I wasn’t the one who inflicted the pain.

I asked him if he learned anything at all, and he asked how can he learn and grow from hurting someone so badly?

I told him if anything, the lesson should be that if you ever get the chance to love, you will do everything in your power not to hurt someone so badly, you’ll fight for what you want, you’ll appreciate what you have, and you will have faith to try and get up even if you fail.

I told him I didn’t know the person I was talking to. I was crying that it killed me that he couldn’t see the good in him that I could still see, even after all he put me through. But I can’t make him see it, I can’t make him forgive himself, I can’t make him believe in himself, I can’t make him trust himself and trust God.

And that’s when I knew. The gulf between us had grown into a black hole.

Any man who loves me has to completely love and know himself first, so that when he is with me there isn’t any doubt, there isn’t any fear, the thought of failure in loving me will not exist because if he’s loving me to the best of his ability every day, he isn’t failing. He can’t.

That man has to know that.

I can’t squander my love and my sanity and my mental and physical health on someone like that. And it hurts me right now.

Believe it or not, I want him to succeed and be happy and healthy.

He said “it wouldn’t make you feel better if things were the complete opposite and I was totally happy after all of this.”

I said, “Dude, I love you so much and yes I have pride and ego. The greatest extent of bad I would want to happen to you is to have a flat tire every month for two years. And there, that’s real.”

“But in terms of you having all of this anguish off of hurting me, you not growing, you not learning, you making yourself a martyr, that doesn’t please me. That doesn’t make me feel better. You have to heal. That’s what real love is, that’s what deep love is, that’s what it is to love someone on the level I love you. It’s sick to want you to carry on like this for the rest of your life.”

“I’m a fucked up person, that’s the real me,” he said.

“Baby, I’m not ready to let the pain of you and me kill me. I’m not ready to die. I want to live. I have to live. I can’t have you have this hold on me. I can’t go into another year feeling like I can’t really dig into new relationships because I’m hanging on to you, or worried about you and what’s going to happen to you because you are talking the way you are talking. You have to get help, you have to talk to somebody.

You don’t have to feel like you have no purpose. Even if you have to pick one thing to thank God for everyday when you get up, start there. But you got to want more for yourself. You got to want to do better.”

He replied he doesn’t want anything. That he is no good to anyone.

I didn’t know what else to say. I cried and begged him to get it together, not for me but for himself. To dig deep and heal his wounds from us, from his past, from his family, because the road he is on is dark and horrible.

I cannot join him any longer. Even though we haven’t been together for going on almost two years, I was still with him on this path.

This is really the end for me.

I’ve come too far and I see it. I can’t look back. I can’t wait for the fantasy I once had. I don’t want to say that it’s a hopeless situation. God can turn anything around. But what can you do with a person who does not want to save themselves?

I see him drowning. But I told him as much as I love him, I can’t put myself out there for him again or say we can start over. I can’t put myself out there to save someone who is so far gone. I barely survived the last time.

Still crying, my last words were, “I’ve got to hang up now. Goodbye.”

Semi-Private Outburst In a Public Restroom

Whatever you do ladies, don’t cry at work.

That’s the advice that’s passed down from woman to woman in the workplace for ages.

Question is, if you don’t have your own office where you can close the door, is the bathroom a judgement-free zone?

I’ve written about uncomfortable goings on in the workplace bathroom before, but this one had me feeling some kind of way.

I was handling my business and a group of women were leaving, and I guess someone brushed against the light switch on the way out. I was mid-tinkle so, there was nothing I could do.

Four stalls down, I hear a frantic, “What the hell? (Sniff, sniff.) Like are you serious? (Sniff.) Why would you turn off the fucking lights? (More sniffing.)”

Now,  in the squat pose (great for your thighs and core), with slacks down to my ankles, I’m thinking, we know where our parts are, let’s finish up and keep it moving.

I walk out of the stall, and she hears my heels against the tile.

“If you’re walking in, turn on the light,” she barks.

To which I reply, “I’m walking out of the stall.”

“Just turn on the light!” More sniffing. Keep in mind there were two smaller lights on, just not all of them.

I really want to unload on this chick for her attitude, but I realize there is obviously something deeper going on here, so I turn on the light and wash my hands.

That encounter made me think. This heifer must be having a really, really bad day. She knew the rule not to cry at her desk or in public, so she went to seek the safety and anonymity of the bathroom stall to emotionally respond and cleanse from whatever is going on.

But my question is, in an office full of women, is the bathroom a free cry zone?

When women are warned not to cry, usually it’s to not appear weak in front of male colleagues or superiors.

Interestingly enough, men don’t cry, but they can get loud, or bang on something when they are frustrated out in the open. The men in our IT department can get crunk with one another real quick. But people write that off as men being men.

So what’s the difference? An outburst is an outburst isn’t it? And whether it’s reacting by crying or by yelling at someone, we all have to keep that stuff in check, walk away and calm ourselves down.

Me, I don’t want to appear weak to anyone– male or female. I usually go for a walk or abruptly take a break outside and sometimes go off site in my car to clear my head (this may involve McDonald’s, ice cream or a trip to Marshalls).

But what if you are in an office full of women colleagues and superiors? Do you think women give other women slack in this regard?

I actually do think women cut other women a break when they cry at work. They may even cry with you and give you a hug. But is it still professional? Or are should we be emotionless droids from 9-5?

As a woman, I walked out and said a little prayer for homegirl. She has to be having a crappy day. Having your cry and your moment is fine. I just didn’t like her dramatic and snippy attitude in response to a couple of lights going out while she was on the porcelain throne. You obviously have bigger problems right now, boo.

Here is an awesome example of men yelling AND women crying at work. From “A League of Their Own.” (No copyright infringements intended. I’m not using this blog commercially…yet. :))

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