gifts and blessings

Modern workplace with gadgets in cozy room with soft light
Photo by Kelly Lacy via Pexels

A chance–I had to take a chance once again, so I readied myself last Friday and put in for transfers to three different departments within our organization. Apprehensive and fearful of what could actually take place, I had to trust the experience. We have lost so many team members to other jobs–places where they can feel *safe* at home while they work–places that enrich their lives as well as allow them to continue to give remarkable care to our patients. I am taking a chance again. Each job is a remote or work-from-home position. One department, two of my former team members have recently made their home, and one (former team member) . . . decided to put in a good word for me with the direct hiring manager.

An email came today. An introduction to who she is and what she does, after I submitted my resume and cover letter at my former team member and friend’s request. We scheduled a phone interview which is for tomorrow at 12:15 pm, US, EDT. I am excited, but I am also scared. I believe it’s a good scared, though. I informed my direct supervisor of my actions as the transfer will include her signing off and approving my actual resignation or notice if I am hired for this position. I am thankful for this gift–this blessing. When you work hard and do the job you’re supposed to do, people recognize it. They put in a “good word” for you. They speak to your strengths and what you can offer that particular company.

I am happy I had someone on the other side vouching for me.

this could be the change
light at the end of tunnels
God’s making a way

He’s Getting Married - No, Not to Me

And, I couldn’t be happier for him

To my surprise, on August 29, 2020, I opened my mailbox to their invitation. One of my exes and his fiancé are marrying soon. I guess I cannot really call it a surprise. I knew I would receive an invitation. He and I spoke about it, but I buried it in the recesses of my mind and sort of forgotten about it, until yesterday. This will not be a belligerent recanting of how I am hurt or upset or even bitter. I am undeniably happy for him and his wife-to-be.

*Jay is a catch. He is a man I would be more than happy to recommend to a woman deserving of him. He’s intelligent, witty, creative, and in touch with his feminine side — he is a listener who heard me every time I had something to say. And if there was action needed for us to work, he stepped into that action. We just did not work, and there are reasons for that — all of them outside of our control.

I think it’s important for couples in intimate relationships to recognize when the spark disappears and is no longer attainable to move on from one another in that realm. Jay and I stayed friends — good friends, the kind that check up on each other and have lunch or dinner with each other when he is in town. We had/have so much in common, and that remains. But, I knew, years ago, I did not want marriage. And even if we had made it as a couple, I doubt, if he proposed to me — I would have said “Yes.”

Learning of this significant news caught me off guard. I’d sent him a text message one evening, as I am apt to do from time to time and we sort of fell into a discussion about life and he later said, “Hey! Did I tell you I am getting married?!” To which I replied, “You most certainly did not!”

I wish I could describe the overwhelming feeling of elation to you in my response. I want this for him. I have always wanted him to find happiness and whatever he believes that to be — it is my hope it manifests.


I gazed at the invitation for a long time. I looked at him and his beautiful wife-to-be and smiled. I shook my head in disbelief — this is happening! Jay is getting married. And I smiled again. The background image is of the two of them, standing in a record store, holding up an album, and on it are their names imprinted announcing the date. I thought to myself, “This must have been his idea.” We both love music and it is one of the first things that connected us to each other.

Now, this woman, this beautiful person he found to spend the rest of his life with, will get to enjoy his talents and all of whom he is.

They prepared for the times in which we live. Because of the global pandemic, the number of people who can physically attend is limited, however, they will stream it live. I will be in attendance from the comfort of my home. I will also send them a gift. I am more than happy to share in his joy in this capacity.

I wanted him to know I received their invitation. I sent him a text message that read: “My invitation came! Thank you! It’s beautiful and I’ll be in attendance from the comfort of my home. I’m so happy for you!” Knowing him as I do, I knew he’d respond within moments — that’s just him. And he did with, “Lol. Ok. Cool. Glad you got it. Did you have any questions about the live stream? And thank you!!”

When I think about who he truly is and who I truly am, we couldn’t last — not on that level, but as friends? There is a beauty to who we are as friends that needs no explanation. I love him and want only the best for him. I have watched his siblings grow up, begin their own families, move away to cultivate and enrich their lives, and I now know he is doing the same.


Four years ago, I may not have been as equipped to feel this way for him — to want him to find true happiness outside of being with me. I held on to some emotions that needed releasing and extracting from my system decades before, but this is what aging does — this is what growth does — it allows you to reflect on what you need to change deep within you and put it into action.

Because of this, I can tell you with no doubt, I am happy, truly happy for this man I once loved intimately and passionately to begin his life anew with his wife-to-be. I wish them wedded bliss–and anyone with evil intentions cannot harm or touch it. And should they want children, that they are happy, healthy, and equal parts of both of them.

He’s getting married and everything in me shouts in elation. And nothing else.


*Not his real name.

Featured Young Mind of the Week

Fatima Mohammed is an exceptional young one. She never backs down from a challenge and truly tests the limits of her writing. She’s versatile, expressive, candid, and doesn’t publish with us often, but when she does–it’s always something to look forward to. This quarter’s Young Minds of Medium Challenge was: “Tell Me About Your Neighborhood/City/Country” and Fatima not only tackled the challenge brilliantly as I knew she would–she did so uniquely. She is our Young Mind of the Week. And now, her featured work . . .


Simulation

Young Minds of Medium My Home

The sound of her friends from the next compound playing a game of ten-ten, stamping their feet in drawn up chalk squares on the dusty ground, drifted up to Ebi’s ears like the aroma of the spicy Suya from across the street often drifted up to her nose and made her mouth water. The urge to defy her mother’s rules and run out to play with them spread slowly to every inch of her body like spilled water meandering into the cracks of the kitchen tiles.

But Ebi knew she couldn’t give in, so she watched from her room. The criss-cross of the mosquito netting depicting tiny cage bars and obstructing the full view of the fast-paced movements of her friends’ hands and feet.

She imagined she was there. She was the one playing a game of tinko with Blessing, her hands moving swiftly, and every slap of their hands together caused a resounding clap that put a smile on both their faces.

Next, she saw herself playing “African bend down” as the other children, after finishing their extra lessons, joined in and the group got larger. They chanted, “sugar!” “pepper!” and clapped their hands over one another’s heads as each person ducked at their turn.

Ebi saw herself roaring in laughter as her hands collided with Amaka’s head when she failed to bend. She saw herself vehemently disagreeing when Amaka begged for another chance and explained to her that the whole point of the game was bending and if it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be called African “bend down.”

Ebi felt the pain in her legs from running around after a long game of fire on the mountain. She also saw herself sitting breathlessly with the others as they each sipped a bottle of fifty Naira zobo from the vendor under the pawpaw tree. She saw herself, cheeks bulging with the red, almost blood-like colour of the sweet drink, threatening to ruin both Blessing and Amaka’s white school uniform shirts with a single drop from her mouth just because she had worn her sweater over her own shirt that day.

She saw the three of them roam the streets, stealing mangoes from Mr. Chubi’s tree, which seemed to produce long after its season. Then she saw them walking all the way to Blessing’s house just to sneak into the cinema close by and watch R-rated movies.

She saw them as they would sing “I’m not okay,” by My Chemical Romance on their way back, louder than their voices allowed them, every note cracked by their unpleasant singing as they affirmed themselves that they weren’t going through a phase like their mothers had said but they really loved everything about classic rock, metal music and screamo.

She was about to see herself under the pawpaw tree after the vendor had left; the stars illuminating the very spot she was sharing a late-night kiss with Dele, the senior boy who had taken an interest in her. But her mother shouting about the spike in Coronavirus cases in Nigeria aggressively flung her from her daydream and back into reality.

It reminded her that no one was outside. Not her friends in the next compound playing, nor the mallam selling Suya across the street orthe vendor under the pawpaw tree with chilled bottles of zobo, and the cinema hadn’t been open in months.

The sounds she thought she heard were a simulation her brain had created to survive the isolation from everything she loved. It had been happening a lot lately, but Ebi couldn’t deny that it made it all easier.

So she lay back down, ignoring her mother’s rant, and continued her conversation with Dele, standing in the spotlight from the stars, under the pawpaw tree.


Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.

The little things that make me smile . . .

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Praying Mantis, praying–perhaps?

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Jernee: she finally let me brush her hair so that I could take a decent picture of her.

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Oh, dear . . . a deer.

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My copy of Kristin Garth’s latest book of sonnets.

Sometimes, all I need are the small reminders in life to let me know I’m still living and grateful to be alive. Sometimes . . . this is what I love most about living–the little things.

My Coworker Wrote a Letter for Me

And I didn’t know I needed it

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood via Pexels

It isn’t often I get letters from people I care about and love, so when my coworker told me she’d written a letter for me, my heart lit up. She was self-conscious about letting me read it, reminding me I write and how it wasn’t written in a way I’m used to reading, but I had to tell her, “Don’t worry about that. This is from your heart. I will be happy just to receive it.”

And, I was. There is nothing that can hold a candle to someone sharing their heart with you — their overall concern for who you are and what you do. And to take it a step further — how you make them feel as a human being sharing this earth with them.

My coworker was vulnerable in this letter — baring all and making it known just how much she appreciates me. She let me know what she sees in me and how she has noticed my stumbles at work. They do not overshadow my strengths.

I see the love you have for Jehovah in your life and I deeply respect that about you. Also, I admire the compassion for people and your desire to be a force for change.

I know who I am

I do not question who I am and what I do or how I do it. But, at work, I am questioning how long I can do what I do and how I do it. I am drained and every part of me loud enough for anyone to hear is silencing itself. I used to say, “I am a people person,” but of late, this is running away from me. I am sick and tired of most people.

People are work — hard work, and there’s so much about us as a collective with which I am extremely exhausted from facing. The selfishness in the hard hearts of a few beings I encounter every week puts a foul taste in my mouth. It makes me not want to be in a position so closely connected to human beings.

Because of your compassion for people, you carry the burden along with love for the right thing.

I want so much for us as inhabitants of this world

I have it in my head that I can help change the hearts of my fellow brothers, sisters, and occupants of this world, but I am tasked with first knowing they must want to change. The depths of my soul yearn for us to be more loving, understanding, willing to work with each other for the overall betterment of this world, and to respect one another.

I feel defeated when I come across someone who flat out couldn’t care less about being a responsible member of humanity. The weight of it sits on my shoulders, seeps into my system, and layers itself into the recesses of my brain. Sometimes, I get physically ill from this.

My thought process is this: during a global pandemic, one should be willing to do what needs to be done in order to protect everyone. Many do not think this way.

I take more days off — especially mental health days because a large part of me recognizes coping with my job is much harder and there is no end in sight. It will not get any easier. The more I do what I do full-time, the more I wish to end this level of activity in healthcare.

These are stressful times, so we need to be there for each other no matter when or what.

A simple deed reminded me of the goodness in others

What this letter did for me is remind me I am not alone. My team — my friends see me and they know my worth. They acknowledge my struggles and are in tune with why those struggles occur. They care about my well-being and want to help make sure my sanity remains intact. They are sounding boards who will prepare a space for me, hold it, and allow me room to move in that space however I see fit.

You have become dear to me, and I need you to know you are a strong, kind, and caring person.

A letter showed me this: although my days are full of exhausting interactions with some of our nation’s most selfish beings, my efforts in dealing with them are not in vain. Someone sees how hard I am trying — how hard I have tried. And she took the time to put it in writing.

If you’re wondering how impactful your words can be for someone else; I’ll be the first to tell you, they can build you up when you have been torn down.

I needed this. I didn’t know it.


Originally published in C.R.Y. via Medium.