I Will Be the Bearer of Awkward News

Musical Selection: Alex Isley|Wait

I own it and I won’t ever deny it.

Photo by Liz Martin via ReShot

A friend of mine sent a text message on New Year’s Eve stating Betty White had died. Suddenly, it felt as though a galaxy found its way into my body and exploded. I was not prepared for something as heavy as Betty’s death to sit on my chest and pierce its way into me. Granted, I hadn’t been feeling my best — having had a booster shot pumped into my bloodstream earlier that day. No one tells you the autoimmune or invisible illness with which you’ve been saddled will shape your life in a way you never planned. They don’t tell you that an overgrown virus once thought to be efficiently combated by two doses of the vaccine of your choice is now one they could not have predicted and instead of just one booster to further ensure your health — you will also need another.

Now, with the news of four different mass-produced pharmaceutical marketed vaccine visits lumped together on my vaccination card, I can’t breathe. What an odd day to die, I thought . . . And at ninety-nine, too. When I am given information I find hard to dissect, I start reading about it — I start researching from where did it originate? You cannot pinpoint a person’s death before it occurs. And why do I think I should be able to do it?

There is the possibility that knowing a friend of mine who recently pulled up a seat to the table of my heart contracting the Coronavirus, COVID-19, is pressing me harder than I thought it would. The next day — found out her toddler and mother are both positive as well. The same week — a cousin, then another, then another, and I just . . . am so fucking tired of it all. I want to scream, but no one will hear me. I want to lash out, but at whom?

I promised myself 2022 would be different.

The week before all this insanity, I toyed with the idea of emailing a friend, not friend — a love, not love, to begin the process of us. This sounds like a business transaction — a potentially lucrative investment, doesn’t it? I’d been sitting on what I would say for years now and instead of every word being lodged deep in my throat, they were slowly creeping upward — daily; I feel nauseated. If I love this person as much as I feel I do, why is this so hard? I’ve made mistakes before — thought what I was feeling was validated, confirmed, but it was not. I have spent many years trying to understand emotions — feelings — the intensity of it all. And I am better at it than I was before, but I still worry about loss.

And loss keeps me from moving forward. However, I will be the bearer of awkward news. I own it. I won’t ever deny it. I have played paragraphs in my head, formed them without blinking, and now, all I have to do is push them from the inside out — all I have to do is load them up, review them, and send them off. And as sorted as this all may sound, there are things that can go wrong during the process. It is not a carefully constructed assembly line. There is no one to test the structure or its faults before I engage in putting my heart on the line . . . I’ll just be out there bare-assed, waiting . . . waiting for a response.

I can take it, I tell myself.

Whatever happens after I do this, I can take it, is what I am telling myself. I have been tested — I’m tried. I’m true. But I am not battery-operated, so I will feel the magnitude of this — whatever the outcome. It will be a part of me for years to come. Once you have lent your true feelings to the ether, there is no going back — no 360 turns you can take to lasso what you sent back to its birthplace. It will be. It is. And you will have to deal with it in whatever shape or form it takes.

The moment came, and I typed my feelings onto the screen. He’s aware. He knows. Just as I am aware of his — I know. One of us has to be less scared — less threatened by what could be and just jump into what might be. I pick up the weight — secure it to my shoulders — settle it evenly on my back, and type as fast as I have been taught to. I don’t miss a beat. I am mindful of the verbiage used — it’s carefully selected. I breathe. I pace myself.

You’re doing it, I say. Holy shit, you’re doing it! And as I see myself taking these steps — diving into the deep end, I notice the dog is stirring. She will need a walk soon, and I won’t be able to overlook this. It builds anxiety within me. I’m anxious to be done, but I also still want to be careful — cautious of what I say. Once I am done composing and I send it, there is no turning back.


And as I watch my words carry themselves into the depths of an ancient email account — obtained during Gmail’s beta period, I breathe a sigh of relief. I did it. I shared a burden — unpacked the heaviest pieces of my baggage, and tossed them into the waste bin of life.

All that’s left to do now is wait.


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Originally published in soliloque via Medium.

Everyone Deserves the Benefit of the Doubt

Even if they appear to be unworthy

He is a man of few words. I see him on my morning or mid-day walks with the dog and he doesn’t wave — doesn’t make small talk — just grunts an uneven hello and shoots his eyes up toward the sky. I never pry. I don’t look for things I don’t need to find. Perhaps this is his way of survival. He walks two dogs; one, a noisy son of a bitch, the other, a genteel sweet body of patchy fur. The dog stares at them, huffs her approval, and paces off in another direction. This is ritualistic for us. Me with my limply left lower limb — she with knees that pop and ache when the weather isn’t warm. We push through the neighborhood that has shaped our lives for the last four autumns.

The noisy son of a bitch spends time on his balcony alongside the genteel sweet body of patchy fur. I guess he puts them outside to get away from them — to give them some sense of unity and comfort with their surroundings. However, we, my neighbors and I, endure intermittent cycles of loud barking. I know what it’s like to have a dog misbehave when all you want is for him or her to behave — to provide solace and peace. But a dog will be a dog, and if given the opportunity, he or she will bark. He’s speaking. He’s announcing who he is, and we all had better pay attention. But on a Saturday morning or a Sunday afternoon, it’s the last thing I want to hear.


Nosy neighbors will open their mouths.

Someone, at one point, must’ve slid their lips into the ears of the property manager because for a few weeks — nothing. I thought the man had moved. I was wrong. He is still here. The noisy son of a bitch still barks loudly intermittently and I am growing used to it, but I wonder . . . should I? Where did the man come from and what is it in him that allows him the ability to not care about his community? Don’t get me wrong, I won’t assume he isn’t caring — I am assuming he doesn’t care about those of us not close to him in relation.

I struggle with thinking things and not announcing them when I feel as though they need to be shared. I had been partially raised by a few elderly family members who often spoke their mind and well . . . I feel like one day, I am going to just say, “Hey, sir . . . why do you let your dog sit on your balcony and cry out to us? Can you not hear him or are you just ignoring him?” It is taking everything in me not to do this. I am mindful of the times in which we live, and I do not know his regular temperament.

I don’t know how he will react.

I am giving him the benefit of the doubt. He could be a father who lost his firstborn to violence. He could be an uncle who helped raise a wayward nephew, but now has custody of his grandniece. He could be a public safety officer dealing with the struggles of every type of human being you can imagine, and at the end of the day, he just doesn’t have the energy to care. He could be just old and grumpy and unfeeling.

I don’t know.

I search for evidence of happiness or playfulness when I see him, yet his eyes just squint into two tiny specks of solemnity. At every opportunity, I offer a kind, “Hello,” and I seem to pull it back into me when it has been magically swept from his ears. He lives in seconds from what I can see — never dwells in one spot too long — rushes the dogs to relieve themselves on some misguided scale he’s balancing. One day, one of them will tip that scale. I hope I’m not around to witness it.

Initially, I thought he was just having a bad day, but this cannot be so. No one has a bad day every single day. No one is ever truly discontented every single day. I had been taught to respect my elders — to acknowledge them, to help where I see the need. He doesn’t require help. He doesn’t seem to need it. He doesn’t even seem to want to be acknowledged. I steer clear of people who I cannot get a clear read on, and unfortunately, he is one of them.

I am trying to understand my place in this.

Who am I to want to know this man’s life — to want to understand how one’s brain operates to allow him to keep his barking dog on the balcony for an entire neighborhood to endure? I am no one big and bad — I have no authority, but I pay rent to dwell in this community just as he does. I also find it an actual sense of neglect to just leave a sentient being in/on a space/place where it can continue to alert people who don’t want to be alerted.

As an Empath, I crave to first try to feel another’s pain or make sense of it. When I cannot, it bests me — defeats me. There is also this air about me to cure what ails another. I am no savior and this has been a hard pill to swallow for years, but I am not. Currently, I am trying to understand my place in all of this. Am I just the neighbor who lives two buildings down and one across who thinks this is a serious nuisance? Or am I a part of this community deserving of respect, love, kindness, consideration, and understanding?

The latter is what I choose. Shouldn’t he?

I could never leave Jernee on my balcony if she were in a barking fit or even if she began barking intermittently. My first thought would be to remove the noise so it doesn’t disturb my neighbors. My second thought would be to find out what’s wrong with the little one and try to resolve the issue. I realize everyone does not have the same thought process.


I won’t assume. I shouldn’t.

Everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt. Even when we think they’re unworthy or total assholes (I grit my teeth as I type this — some people can take you to a place of utter disgust). There is always something brewing and stewing in the lives of others to cause them to act outside of our descriptions of “normal behavior.” I won’t assume this man is uncaring of others. I shouldn’t. As I stated earlier, I don’t know his life or the makeup of it.

All I can do as a person living in the same apartment complex as him is to understand the why of it all. And later, know I am not the type of person to leave my dog out on my balcony to disturb the peace. I know who I am and I know how much I care about my pet.

In time, I hope this is enough for me to breathe in deeply and know the incessant barking never lasts long — it’s just annoying as hell.


Originally published in Age of Empathy via Medium.

Coming Home to My Sexuality Was the Gift That Saved Me

I am Tremaine. I am no one else.

Photo of the author enhanced with Comica app. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

I believe, as human beings, we can be almost anything outside of society’s perfect little boxes for us, but when we’ve ascertained who we actually are, this discovery can be lifesaving. I say this so you are aware, like many LGBTQ living and breathing individuals, I struggled with coming out and staying inside the closet. It wasn’t until three years ago, I suddenly felt safe saying to my family and friends who were not in the know, “I am bisexual.”

At age thirty-eight, this was my celebration. It was my tea-time, so to speak, and like it or not, I was ready to take my seat at the table just as I am, and nothing more. Coming home to me was a gift that kept me alive. It was a gift that handed me the opportunity to be a voice to and for others who have the same struggle.

I walked through the door and never looked back.


I am who I was created to be.

There isn’t a hair on my head that doesn’t define me. I have black, sandy red, and gray strands assembling themselves in order and streaking in just the way they are meant to do. I have laugh and frown lines and crow’s feet and extra weight settling around my middle, but I have grown to appreciate all these things.

They show I have lived. They display I also have more of that same living to do.

Before, when it was easier/safer to remain quiet about who I am, there was always a nagging, unsatisfied feeling. I felt both trapped and gutted at the same time. Trapped because I come from a long line of devout Christians on my father’s side. Gutted because there was a person inside me who was dying just a little each day and needed to be set free. Every single day, I had to connect with both sides and silence whichever one became louder than the other.

I assure you, this is no way to live.

What saved me after coming out was the love I continued to receive from my father (who is an Episcopalian elder/preacher, by the way), siblings, cousins, friends, and my mom. Many had already known without me uttering a word, especially my mom.

I hadn’t known, in her past, she was fighting battles on my behalf with her own family about their “image of me” regarding my sexuality. I hadn’t known she was practically saying to them, “My child’s sexuality is none of your business. If she’s happy, this is all that matters to me.” With a few expletives and hands thrown into the mix as well — because my mom has always been a person unafraid to physically get down if she has to.

I’m grateful for my tribe. They are the reason it has been easier to breathe being fully who I am. I cannot be anyone else. Not anymore.


Home is where a breath of fresh air is.

I have learned, on my journey, this body is my tower. If I keep it well-oiled, fueled, and maintained, it will continue to house me securely. I am home in this body. I am loved in this body. I am one with this body.

I recall the moment I first knew I was “different” from my playmates — I was eight years old. I knew what made little girls different from little boys regarding gender specificity, and I knew I liked both boys and girls. I knew I couldn’t choose. I also knew, in the eyes of the adults who raised me, I shouldn’t say anything about my discovery.

It had been frowned upon and preached about as the damning ways in which God could thwart me.

This confused me — if God created me and all things created by God are “good,” then why wasn’t I . . . good? Why would God oppose me? I was not the type of child to challenge my elders, so I snuck around to do the things I wanted to do and did a substantial amount of “sneaking” well into my early 30s.

Now, there is no need to sit the people I choose to entertain intimately or in a loving and consenting adult relationship on the sideline. I can play alongside them in the game of life. Coming home to my sexuality gave me the fresh air I should have been breathing decades ago.


When you ask me who I am, I will tell you.

The one thing I carry with me since I came out to my all-knowing mother is her phrase, “If anyone asks you if you’re bisexual, you better damn well tell them you are.” And I do. I stick my chest out a bit, breathe in a few puffs of air, and I say who I am — proudly.

Does it get any easier? Truthfully, yes. The fear is always there in the pit of my belly because being bisexual still has an air of taboo about it, but I don’t deny it. And I don’t change the subject anymore.

Being at home with one’s sexuality and comfortable in the skin I drag around is a place I have longed to be for years. It is the gift that saved me. I am thankful coming home to myself took place before my dying days.

There are so many of us who hold on to our “secrets” until the grave slips itself around our decaying bodies.

I am here. This is who I am. You won’t get anyone else.


Originally published in Prism & Pen via Medium.

Stories of Comfort. Stories of Thanks.

My Uncle Red and one of my brothers, Michael (Peanut). This photo was taken probably about 5 or 6 years ago.

Today, I am reflecting on the stories from my life that lend me peace or make me laugh or send good feelings through me. My mother’s only brother, and the youngest child on her father’s side, Andrew (who we call, “Uncle Red” and all others simply call, “Red”) is my favorite uncle. He was fourteen years old when I was born and from what I am told, extremely happy to be an uncle. I was his second niece, but I was the baby for a long time.

He likes to tell the story of him visiting my mom, father, and I one evening for dinner. I was probably two or three years old at the time. As we were eating, my uncle rehashes how I looked over to him, and announced, “Are you eating your food, Uncle Red?” And to this, he responded, “I am, baby.” What came out of my mouth next definitely indicates I had been around adults more so than children.

My uncle said I looked up at him, smiled, and rebutted, “That’s a big boy. You eat your food.” He said all he could do was laugh–not that fake, silly laugh, but a belly-full laugh, and for the rest of the meal, he had a huge simile on his face. He tells this story to his wife, to his children, to anyone who will listen, and I still love to hear it.

I believe it was the moment I knew I’d always be bonded with/connected closely to, my uncle.

Caison, the little love of my life. One of my baby cousins, and the sweetest gift my cousin Akua has ever given this world.

If you’ve been reading my work for quite a while, then you have seen pictures, read poems, and know about Caison. I have a ton of stories that make me happy when it comes to this Munchkin Man, but my favorite happened about two months ago.

I had been waiting for Caison and Akua to come back home. I was sitting in their living room talking to Caison’s grandmother and watching television. Akua did not tell him I would be “popping up” to spend some time with him. Caison had just turned four years old, and I had his birthday gifts with me to give to him.

Akua recants the story so vividly and with a smile on her face each time as she tells me how excited Caison was to see my car parked in their driveway. The conversation went a little like this, Caison: “Oh! Mommy, is that Naine-Naine’s car?!” Akua: “Yes, baby. It is.” Caison: “Yay! Naine-Naine!!!”

The babies of my family call me “Maine-Maine” or “Tree” and Caison has a little trouble with the pronunciation of “M-words”, they often come out as words beginning with the letter “N”, instead. I think it’s the most adorable thing–his excitement by simply seeing my car, and knowing I had been there waiting to see him.

It makes my heart smile and reminds me how grateful I am to have the love of a young one wrapped up in me.

My kid sister, Bless. When I was 19, this young woman became my most favorite human being–a little sister, finally! I’d had 5 brothers, I didn’t want another one. Lol!

My kid sister and I communicate mostly via text message. I’ll call from time to time simply to hear her voice. I wrote a poem for a friend of mine a few days ago and I shared it with my sister to get her opinion. I actually said to her, “Read this and let me know if it’s garbage or not.”

She read it and said she found snippets of herself throughout the poem and she believed my friend would love it. Of course, being the big sister I am, I wanted to know which snippets of herself she spotted . . . My sister’s response, although simple, got a chuckle out of me. She said, “Oh, see now . . . you want the deets, sis!”

I laughed so hard and I don’t really know why. I could hear my sister saying this to me as if we were in the same room discussing the poem and its details, and I could see the look that would show up on her face. Lol. I simply said, “Of course, I want the details, kiddo!”


The simple things in life make me happy I am living. I am thankful for family and friends and sustenance and words and love and kindness and breathing.

I hope all of you will enjoy this day, should you choose to celebrate it. I will spend it knowing I am blessed and at any moment, this could change.

Peace and blessings.

We Never Stop Loving Those Who We Love the Most

Sometimes that can be a hindrance

Photo by Daniela Darlene via ReShot

Intimately, on a scale of deep passion, I have loved — truly loved four people. Two women. Two men. This isn’t to say, I have only had four relationships, no . . . it is to convey I have only fallen in love with four people. Others I have liked — have been fond of — have enjoyed their presence. But . . . I could walk away from them or they could walk away from me and not one eyelash would bat.

I recognize, at age forty-one, this could seem perplexing to some. It is probably even unbelievable to others, but I have always been a person who loves hard but only with a person who could break down some effectively built walls. Four people did that.

And after each one, I threw up another wall — bigger and stronger than the previous barricade. Two years ago, the last person with whom I was in love and I stopped communicating — the wall remains. It keeps bad people out, and all the good feelings — memories and fun-filled times, in. “I just wanna be loved. Like everybody else does. I just wanna be loved.” ©Jill Scott

Recently, a friend of mine said to me, “Eventually, Tre, you will have to let someone else in. And they won’t have an easy time if that wall is still there.” I am aware of this. It sits with me for many days and taunts me. But the wall is my safety. The wall is security. Anyone willing to dive into my heart should be able to knock it down, correct?

We think we know what we want.

Sometimes, we don’t. Sometimes, we are clearly flailing about on this earth, grasping at strings of air, yearning to survive another day. I can tell you who I think would be most compatible with me, but it doesn’t guarantee a positive outcome for us. I can tell you what I want most in a partner, but there could be things within me that person may not want or gravitate toward.

“I just wanna be loved. Like everybody else does. I just wanna be loved.” ©Jill Scott

On a good day, I can say with certainty, this is all I need. On a bad day, other things cram into the spaces of my brain and force me to believe there is more. There is so much more. But what? And why?

Learning to love more than the four.

Currently, I am teaching myself the importance of loving more than the four. What does this mean? It means I have to be willing to know someone else can do what the four did. Someone else will want to do what the four did. And if I don’t keep my eyes open and be mindful of this person’s attempt when it occurs, I could miss out on the fifth because of the damn four.

You still here? Are you following me?

We never stop loving those who we love the most. No one’s asking us to. No one expects us to. We fall in love for so many reasons, many of them understandable to most, and some, not so much. The things that make us reminisce about our lost loves during our transition back into the dating world will always hang in the shadows — dangling their hindrance devices.

Can we move on? A better question . . . do we even want to?

Currently, I am teaching myself the importance of loving more than the four.

I want to believe I have enough strength in me to let loose and let love have its way when it tries to sneak in again. But first, I’ll have to do something about this damn wall. I don’t want to tire myself out from the heavy lifting. Stripping away one’s barrier could end up being a test on “survival of the fittest.” Am I fit enough to survive?

The four won’t hold me back.

This is my mantra. It is what I am telling myself these days to get through the lonely moments. The four can only do what I let them. The four will only be as harmful to me as I allow. I won’t be held back any longer.

There is a whole life in this world waiting to be had, and love is a part of it. Opening up is a part of it. Being able to be vulnerable and willing to take a risk is a part of it.

We never stop loving those who we love the most. No one’s asking us to do this at all. No one expects us to. But we have to differentiate between holding on to our past loves because the experiences were positive, and we’d like more like them, and holding on to our past loves because we are afraid every other one will not be like them.

If we keep holding on to them, what else will we be willing to grasp. Today, I refuse to allow the four to be a hindrance.

Where’s the sledgehammer? I’ve got a wall to destroy.


Originally published in Age of Empathy via Medium