Hello, Me. Let’s Take Care of You

**I am sharing this here as well. In about another week, I will do a post for WordPress announcing my two week break from my participation here. I always like to give a head’s up to you guys as you’re not just a great community here; you’ve become family too.

My new glasses; a favorite book. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt


A much-needed break from ACG

On February 19, 2021, I was diagnosed with keratoconus. In short, the corneas are bulging forward; shifting and moving away from my eyes. When I first noticed the dramatic change in my vision, I thought surely it had to be aging as various body parts tend to depreciate as one gets older. However, I was sadly mistaken.

The glare, sensitivity to light, misshaped corneas, and astigmatism all revealed it was definitely something more. I sat in the patient chair directly across from my optometrist as she explained this new thing heaved upon me.

She said “keratoconus” as if it was second-nature to her. I asked her to repeat it. And then again. After her repetition of the word, I asked her to please write it down. She spoke and as she did, I sat there dumbfounded by the words that tumbled out of her mouth. What is this thing and why am I its new host?

Noting my “lazy eye,” she inquired if I had ever worn an eye patch as a child. I am sure the look that shadowed my face spoke louder than I ever could. “No, I never did.” It was all I could say. I was still practicing (in my head) this new word I’d never heard. Keratoconus. Keratoconus. Keratoconus.

“Please, if you don’t mind, can you repeat it one more time?”


“I’m referring you to the specialists at Duke. They will examine you, determine the level of damage, and set a course for treatment.”

“Is this curable? What am I looking at as a worst-case scenario?”

I had so many questions. Referral to Duke? Treatment? Level of damage?

I’ve been wearing glasses since I was twelve years old — contacts since I was seventeen. Not once did I ever truly envision the possibility of losing my sight entirely or requiring some form of surgery to set my vision back to a suitable standard. I never thought I’d need contacts designed especially for corneal deficiencies that cost an arm and a leg.

None of this ever crossed my mind.

I have new glasses now. New contacts. And with both, my sight is a bit better, but there’s still a glare and some things are still blurry. But this is due to cornea damage. More about this and whatever treatment designed for my case will be discussed on Thursday, April 22, 2021, during my consultation at the Duke Eye Center.


I have already begun implementing methods to help salvage my sight: reduced my daily screentime, purchased blue light glasses, purchased new glasses and contacts (as mentioned above), and now . . . I will be taking much-needed breaks from a few obligations to help limit my time in front of a computer screen or laptop.

Effective March 31, 2021, I will temporarily pause publishing in A Cornered Gurl. I will not be accepting any new writers or new submissions at that time. The tentative date of my return to duties in this publication is Sunday, April 25, 2021. If I feel, at that time, that I do not want to move forward with continuing to host the publication, I will make an announcement about that fact.

From March 31, 2021, until April 25, 2021, I am asking all current writers to not submit any new work to ACG. If a draft is received, it will be sent back to you referencing this letter. I am asking any writers interested in A Cornered Gurl to please not send any requests to become a writer via email. If received, it will be sent back to you referencing this letter.

I want to move through this new phase of my life continuing to learn more about this condition and press forward with any tools I may need to help me save my sight. I truly hope you understand this.


You will still see me on Medium as I also edit for P.S. I Love You and I will have writing published from time to time but I will not be nearly as active.

I want to say thank you to each of you who took interest in this publication and decided to support it. Without you, ACG would not be the publication it is — a safe and creative space for writers unafraid to break out of the box. You have my complete and total adoration.

I wish you kindness, understanding, love, peace, and a hell of a lot of writing and creativity.

Until next time, stay safe and be well.

Peace and blessings.


Originally published as an informative letter in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.

Feeling the Feelings

A Lamentation

Have we always been so
bad at being human or
did we arrive at this point
over time? 
Is inhumanity ingrained
in our souls and passed
down to generations after us?

We’re flailing about in time
knocking down common sense
and running over logic.
I’ve had my share of selfish
people and my stomach is full
of disdain for my brethren
who’d rather skip rules
and toe a harsher line.

One day, the spirit of togetherness
will envelop us and mark us
with its care.
But first, we must crawl out
of our shells and move closer
toward acceptance of others.

On my dying day,
I want to be remembered
as a task manager who
managed to love everyone
but right now, I am nowhere
close to that.

I hope I still have time left.
I want to still have time left.
Please let me have more time.


Originally published via Medium.

Patience

Photo by Rachel Sanner via Unsplash

it’s nearly hurricane season
Spring is rushing in with
her hands flailing wildly
among the trees
the sky is hovering in wait
it spits violently from its mouth

we are huddled in safe spaces
keeping away from windows
and finicky doors
meteorologists plot and plan
and untruthfully dictate when
to expect the worst
I flit from channel to channel
praying for validity

I can hear the wind howling
a loud and present reminder
for me to remain patient
the sun is eager to shine again
and we’ll find ourselves gathered
out in the open to feel
something more than the
enclosed spaces of our homes

crows caw and boast from
building to building
mocking each other during
their calls to mob
the other birds
their means of survival strikes
me as terrifying but
what would they say about us

I press my fingers
into my right palm
a stress reliever
a gentle and surefire way
to calm my nerves
this weather won’t last
and one day
we’ll emerge from the
comfort of our homes
happy to greet the sun again

one day . . .


Originally published via Medium.

To Love a Dog is to Grow in Love

Jernee Timid Loadholt in a Poncho. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt


A Tribute Poem

We are both aging
bones creaking, sight deteriorating
finding ourselves slower
than we once were.

I look at the brown globes
for eyes looking back at me
and remember how I felt
the first day I lifted her
to my face, nose full of puppy scent,
she saved me.
 
I crawled outside of myself
and into her heart — 
we’ve managed to keep
each other alive for nearly
thirteen years and as much as
I’d like it to be,
another thirteen will not occur.

My safe harbor, my boss
*my wife, my everything that’s perfect
and whole . . . 
sadness breaks away from
the edges of my spirit
when she lends me kisses
and I feel freer.

I let those professionals within
my organization shoot my
body up with the first dose
of their cure-all and could barely
use my left arm for three days
she knew . . . she understood . . .
she did not expect more from me.

We’re “takin’ it to the streets”
now that the sun’s decided to
shake a leg with us
and the pep in her step
gives false hope for
a decade more of her love.

I am taking what I can get,
I’d be a fool to let go of
this love, even when she’s gone,
she’ll still be here with me.

I have grown in love
because of her and
because of her, I’ll
give this love to
someone, anyone else
who may need it.


*My mom calls Jernee my “wife” at times. She typically says it like so, “You better get on back home before your wife gets mad at you.”


Originally published in The Junction via Medium.

You Can’t Run Away From Yourself

I know. I’ve tried.

November 2018, post-wisdom tooth removal. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

It wasn’t self-hate. I wasn’t trying to torture myself or beat myself into non-existence. I just wanted a break away from who I was, the things that happened to me, and the success that I couldn’t seem to attain. I wanted to fade away, to leap into the body and mind of someone else other than me. I wanted my freedom — to be unhinged and removed from the only person I knew better than anyone else. But guess what? Here I am. Here is where I’ll always be.

“And remember, no matter where you go, there you are.” — Confucius

During my pre-therapy days, approximately two years ago, I would soak myself in negative thoughts. Sure, I could drum up positive feedback, words of affirmation, terms of endearment, and spread love to others —at my core, I was rotting — wasting away. I didn’t have the energy nor did I want to salvage the me hidden deep within.

Much of my adult life has been riddled with me trying to outdo my previous accomplishments then shaming myself when I couldn’t.

I left home when I was eighteen years old. My parents had been divorced since I was twelve and my stepfather wasn’t my favorite person. My mom wasn’t either — not at that time. During those years and several prior, she’d been on drugs and a violent alcoholic. So when college called, I went running toward it.

When someone you love deeply threatens to chop off any of your usable limbs while holding a machete simply because you stepped in to initiate peace between them and their spouse, it’s time to go. My mother became the person I ran away from first.

I wanted to fade away, to leap into the body and mind of someone else other than me.

The one person I loved the most, regardless of how quickly and viciously she changed, was the person who physically abused me, stole from me, left our home for days on end to be with other people (forget the fact her own children were at home, fending for themselves), called me various unsettling and belittling names, and said on more than one occasion “I just want to have fun” was the one person I begged to see me — please see me and love me. She couldn’t. Not during those days. Not without help.


Smiling Baby Tre, 1981. Photo of a photo.

Running away from my mom meant, in a sense, that I was also running away from myself. And I would do so for at least another fifteen years. Whether you want to believe it or not, there are pieces of you you’ve inherited from your parents and some of those pieces are the remnants of them you hate the most.

Anger built up in me. I was pessimistic. I had a condescending remark or rebuttal for everything. People lost interest in being around me. In all honesty, when I think back on those times, I don’t blame them.

Some well-respected and beloved relationships had been severed. There was no going back. I could only move forward.

I didn’t have the energy nor did I want to salvage the me hidden deep within.

According to Jon Jaehnig in Better Help:

Inherited behaviors are behaviors that are passed down genetically. Our genes control things like our hair type and color, our eye color, and our height—but we don’t usually think of them controlling our behavior. That’s partly because most of our behaviors are learned, rather than inherited.

No one tells you when you’re a teenager you will probably go through a phase in early adulthood where you recognize the hated behaviors of your parents and what’s worse, by yourself, you cannot get rid of them.

I was blooming into the person I couldn’t stomach and the world around me silently judged me for it.

As I grew older, I was able to point out the behaviors that needed changing and focus on how to do that. Genetically, there was and is no changing me, but various actions, those could be altered, finessed . . . they could be poked and prodded and shaped into better actions.

Mark Manson strongly believes in this method. He posits — a person cannot change who they are, it’s impossible, but that person can change their actions.

You can’t change. Like a thirsty man in a desert chasing a mirage, or a fat man peering into an empty fridge—there’s nothing there. So stop chasing it. Go do something else instead.

As I pressed forward into my mid-30s, various behaviors were noted, addressed, and have been and are being altered. I had to see myself for who I was in order to work on becoming better. I had to face myself, lure myself in, tackle the actions and pieces of me that broke through to the surface, and put in the work.


You will always be you. The parts of you you’ve avoided that need shifting or “finessing”, you will have to address. You will have to get knee-deep in the muck of who you are, dig for gold, and once it’s found, shine it to semi-perfection.

Attempting to run away from the very person you could always be may possibly lead to more damage. The weight of your very being is a hard one to carry but think about the outcome it could have if you run toward who you can become instead of running away from who you are (not genetically speaking).

I hope you will be able to give it a try, that is, if you are ready.

My mom also found her way to the person she was struggling to become. Her journey has been a long and arduous one — one I am grateful she had to experience in order to see the person she buried deep within herself decades ago. Ours is a story built on patience, strength, and forgiveness. We will always be working on us but it is much more beautiful now.

She’s a love I am happy to have.

I used to look in the mirror and see a woman I wanted to look away from. I now see a woman I want to run toward — I want to hug and hold her and settle into loving her forever. It was a long row to hoe and tilling my fields warranted a necessary harvest.

I am living in the abundance of that harvest.


Originally published in P. S. I Love You via Medium.