“Biting The Bullet”

I Have An Appointment. Hello, Anxiety.

My favorite piece of artwork, gifted to me by one of my aunts. It reminds me of Shug Avery singing in the juke joint in The Color Purple. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

Lately, it has become evident that the walls are tumbling down around me and trying to steady them — maintain their stillness is lost on me. I am intelligent enough to know when I have to pull back. Essentially, I had to come to grips with pulling back, letting go, and letting someone else tackle the very fabric of my being in hopes of stitching me back together again. I think I told one of my loved ones something along the lines of, “I just need some help piecing me back together again. I am tired of feeling jigsawed.” Searching for a therapist is taxing. In my area, there are so many professionals who do what they do, but how many of them will do it the way that I need/prefer?

I did my research. I took names of establishments, opinions from others, and logged on to my computer with the information given. Thankfully, I am in the medical field as well as my cousin, and knowing what we know, it was not as hard for me to select an entity that made the cut. The one that I did select has everything that I am looking to experience in a center that has counselors, psychiatrists, etc., who also take the natural approach when aiming to better someone’s mental health. My fear has always been landing a therapist who feigns listening, writes me a prescription, then schedules me for another visit where the same thing occurs. No, thank you.

I want to be heard. I want this person to help me continue to break down what is going on and assist in leading me back to a path that keeps me from shaming myself, feeling as though I want to hurt/harm/kill myself, and to understand that I know from where everything is coming, I need a better understanding of why…Over the past year, I have been struggling with feelings of worthlessness from being rejected, not to mention trying to maintain everything on my own with no break, thus being exhausted. I have had a few people make commitments, then back out on them, numerous times. Add in my work schedule and the fact that I began a new job (after being in a toxic environment with my last employer for five years) with an organization that I love and my supervisor recently expressed to us that she is leaving to take on a new adventure and the flood not only hovered over me, it dropped down and my levees broke.

I was trying to get to a place where happiness could hold me a little tighter than it had and just when I thought I was getting there, life happened. Life always happens. To say that my supervisor is the glue for our team is an understatement. She has taken a team of seven women, all from different backgrounds and spanning across different age ranges and turned us into “The Dream Team.” At my job, we get things done and we know how to properly because of her. Getting that news — the last straw for the camel’s back, shattered me. It has been eons since I felt as though I belonged in my workplace, since I felt no pressure to overexert myself, or take on the tasks of someone else because they will not or cannot do them. I finally felt at home.

On that day, I felt everything that I felt in my teens — neglect, abandonment, feeling as though I was to blame, etc. And since that day, I cannot (un)feel those emotions. I submitted my inquiry. I filled out the questionnaire about my background and what I am looking for in a therapist. I corresponded with their New Client Intake Personnel and landed an appointment, and now, I wait. Next week, I will begin a journey that I have fretted for quite some time, but now — now, I am ready. Having done all of this, fear is creeping in and it has decided to bring its buddy anxiety and they are having some sort of weird shindig in my head and I just want to belt this initial appointment and move into a helpful routine.

I am asking myself off-the-wall questions like: “What will she think of me?” “Will there be a diagnosis?” “If so, when?” “What will the diagnosis be, will it be correct?” “Will she suggest medication and how will I react to that?” Every question that I can think of has greeted me and today, I finally said — “No more, you’ve bitten the bullet, now wait.” And I have to tell myself this in order to stop the questions, in order to get through my days.

The most important thing now is that I have taken the first step. Everything else that comes along will be managed, dealt with, and entertained when each bridge presents itself.

I am finally ready to cross them.


Originally published in A Cornered Gurlvia Medium.


My journey began here:

The Caretaker

The Caretaker

Does She Ever Need A Break?

Jernee, stepping back to take a look at me after she’d licked my face and pawed away my tears.

Recently, I thought it would be a good idea to get Jernee a little sister, a new puppy to romp about in our bigger space, but that was swiftly shut down by my Little Monster. Jernee is a jealous girl. Now, I was not 100% aware of this until we opened up our home to the little ones for a visit. The foster mom brought both puppies over, the one for which I had interest and her sister and they had a blast running throughout our apartment. Jernee Timid? Not so much. She stood her ground at each station in our home and barked her disapproval at both pups.

The reaction to these little ones that she displayed made me incredibly sad. I was also a bit angry with her as she has never been mean to little ones before. She is generally a sweet girl, but she is a protector. She has one goal in mind — keep me safe. And to meet that goal, I am now thoroughly aware that she will do anything. Realizing her disdain, the puppies avoided her, they played with each other instead and Monterey, the puppy that I wanted for us, also played with me.

Noticing the discomfort written in the body language of Jernee disappointed me. I wanted her to feel my happiness, to welcome something new into our home, another baby for us to love, yet she clearly indicated that she was not having any of it. The foster mom leaned over to me and said, “I usually tell people with senior dogs to get older dogs as their companions, not puppies. In a sense, they feel as though they are being replaced. Maybe an older dog, close to her age will be a better fit for Jernee?”

At the shelter, holding Monterey one cold & rainy Saturday morning in December 2018.

And I instantly thought about Nala, who is Jernee’s best friend/big cousin. They grew up together and the two of them are like Frick and Frack and I said to myself, “Why is she so happy with Nala but will not let any other puppy in? Why the wall?” There used to be three: Reese, Nala, and Jernee. Both Reese and Nala are older than Jernee and we lost Reese two years ago. They went from The Triple Threat to Double Trouble. Now with only Nala in tow, she clings. I notice how she affixes herself to Nala when we visit or when I am dog-sitting Nala. She wants her close.

She wants to be sure that Nala is okay, just as she monitors my safety and happiness, she keeps an eye on her best friend too. But, when does the caretaker get her break? When can she rest and let us be without fully being on duty? I do not think that she’s programmed to step away from her job. Jernee is my safe place. She is who I turn to when I am overwhelmed by life — when things weigh me down and I feel like I will break. I can put my trust in her, it is in her, she will love me back to a place of peace.

Of late, there has been a mountain of things that have tumbled down and landed on my shoulders and I can feel the weight pushing into my skin. This is too much for Jernee. I know it. I feel it. I recognize it as a sign to call in bigger guns. I am seeking the help of professionals and have submitted my request for an appointment with a psychiatric practice in our area.

Thelma & Louise, the dog version/Nala & Jernee back at our old place.

was detailed in explaining what has happened, what is happening, and how it is affecting my daily life. I left a brief biography and description and also my preference in the therapist who will handle my care. The place in which I submitted my inquiry comes highly recommended by several people, including my cousin Akua (an operating room RN, now a board-certified Nurse Practitioner)who was apart of referring some of their patients to this entity while she was doing clinicals.

It feels good to share my feelings with my cousin regarding my heart health and my mental health as well and to hear her say, “This is going to be really good for you. I am happy you recognize that it’s time.” The Powerhouse is empathetic, wishing that she could share her therapist with me, but we are an hour and fifteen minutes away and convenience is a must.

I want to be myself again. I feel that I am not. I know that I am not. Jernee was/is a gift from God because he matched me with her when I was going through the same battle with emotions nearly eleven years ago and she has helped tremendously, but I feel the pull in my spirit and I am moving in the opposite direction, away from wellness and that must be rectified. Realignment of heart and mind must take place once again and I cannot rely on Jernee alone, although great therapy for me, this task… it is one that is too big for her. I am giving her a break.

I love myself enough to know that I need myself back and seeking professional help is the answer. This will be our new journey.

It is time.


Originally published in The Junction via Medium


Author’s Note: When I begin therapy, I will begin a nonfictional series about my journey back to mental wellness and a healthy heart. I wanted to share this here too just in case you’re in my shoes–just in case you needed someone to say it. Thank you for reading.

Sharp: Part I

Playing With Fire

Almost Spring| Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

Jaimie is five. She knows to eat her vegetables and to wash her hands before and after every meal, but she doesn’t know about staying away from Robbie. Robbie is the town’s secret. He lives in the park, lurks around after midnight moons, and chases things he cannot catch. Jaimie is one of those things

She skips in her front yard, her hair looping around the air as she jumps, little girl hops, barely leaving the ground. He’s watching her, twiddling his thumbs and scratching his scruffy beard. His meds are still bleeding under his tongue. He never swallows. 

The rope skips the ground, Jaimie counts to one hundred in Spanish, her plaits bouncing in unison, in sync with each number. In the bushes, Robbie settles. He counts along with her, sharpening his blade, and panting like a hurried devil. He will have his fill. His teeth form into tiny razors, his hands contort and crack as they shift. He is becoming the fire everyone escapes. 

He sits and waits until dawn. 

Please, Don’t Shove Your Hatred Into God’s Mouth

 

IMG_20181230_090131
I have this tattooed on my arm to remind me that I am here to love all people no matter what. That is my goal. That is what God wants from me, of me. This is what God wants from all of us–for us to love one another. PERIOD.

It pains me that I am here before you now, sharing yet another piece by a great, solid, empowering Writer by the name of James Finn via Medium. Not only is this wonderful man an advocate for the LGBTQ community, but he also lives and breathes the work that he shares–this is his life. It has become mine too. What I am going to share with you is appalling, graphic in nature, and displays that this world is still hellbent on hate yet calling it God’s love. How? How can one fix one’s mouth and refer to any acts of hate, fear-mongering, and total disdain for the differences in others God’s love?

I will remind you, it is not.

His post, Conversations with a Homophobe is catching fire via Medium (as it should), and it details his conversation with a follower on Twitter who is Catholic and from what I can ascertain, firmly believes that heinous acts against those of the LGBTQ community are well-warranted and righteous performances of what God expects. According to him, we are to be weeded from the garden, cast out, dwindled down in lesser numbers, and all with God’s approval from the Catholic church. I will be the first to tell you of my upbringing– a Southern (based on region) Baptist from a family that was and is devout in Christianity. For thirty years, I trapped myself, kept myself in the closet, knowing full well of who I was well before I knew the term, the label, the explanation of how God crafted me to be. Yes, GOD made me, so he knew who I was before I became this flower of a person, this person who I love so much more now knowing that I am finally free in my own skin.

Being gay, a lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, queer, etc is STILL BEING HUMAN. Where is humanity? Reading Jim’s article, it goes on to explain the reason for his post on Twitter was to bring attention to that of a young man who had been hacked, sliced & diced with  machetes because he is gay and followers of the Roman Catholicism branch of faith took it upon themselves to make an example of this young man. He will probably die.

The young man was attacked because people found out he’s gay. He says they screamed at him about God and sin as they butchered him. They’re all faithful Catholics. They believe what their Church teaches about gay men being evil and depraved. They acted on that belief.”

From the Catholic Catechism:

“Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.”

Hmm. “Christian perfection.” No one is perfect, but God. We will always be flawed, and if we attempt any such advancements toward perfectionism, something we cannot obtain, we will be further reminded of our humanness–of our flaws. I love my faith. I love being a follower of Christ. I love God. What I do not stand for, what I do not love, is hatred toward any human being made by the hands of God. I do not care about the source, the whys, the hows, the whats–I do not stand for it. If you are a child of God, if you call yourself a follower of Christ, in any branch of the religious world, you are to love others as you love yourself and you are to do so according to the word of God.

GOD IS LOVE.

Please… Please stop shoving your hatred into God’s mouth. He doesn’t speak hate. He never has. He never will. Jim has asked that his article Conversations with a Homophobe be shared to all social media outlets. Facebook has deleted his posts. Twitter has done the same. Why? Because he is speaking against a major religious figurehead and for some reason, around the globe, but especially in the US, we are not to point fingers at those who believe they are on some sort of pious pedestal. I don’t mind pointing fingers, especially if you are wrong. Especially if it hurts people. And most especially, if it kills them. I am not on Facebook. I do not have Twitter. Soon, I will no longer have Instagram. Social media is not my bag.

But, I have a voice, so I am sharing this here.

Conversations with a Homophobe

I am blessed that I have a mother who was fighting for me without my knowledge when family members were sharing their thoughts of who I was or who they thought I was going to be. I am blessed to have a mother who still fights for me. Brothers who have all stated that they are waiting for anyone to fix their mouths and say something against me that is not of their approval. Friends who still stand by my side. Coming out a few months ago was hard to do, but I am more than happy that I did it. As a reminder, you can be religious, faithful, and devout–you can be all of this and not spout hate to those who are in some way, different than you. God is love. Anything else is not of God.

“Love one another.”

We Will Not Be Silenced: I Have My Copy. Do You Have Yours?

Survivors write and contribute art of their survival in this Anthology. All proceeds will benefit a great cause. It would be great to live in a world where something like this isn’t needed, but… that isn’t our reality.

We Will Not Be Silenced… is available now via Amazon. The Writers collective for this anthology is a jaw-dropping list and I will name a few: Sarah Doughty, Ali Grimshaw, and Candice Louisa Daquin

I have my copy. Do you have yours?

Courtesy of Youversion Bible App

Even the most subtle hint of creating change can bring out the beasts of the world. An army can obliterate them. The problem is, we don’t have enough people willing to don his or her armor to fight for what’s right in the open when the light is perfectly set. Fear is a mongrel, steadfast when it has a target. “Stand up for something or fall for anything.”