And, I thought that perhaps, she loved me too. We find out the strangest things when we confess–when we reveal our feelings to others. What seemed to be a connection built from words and learning the backgrounds of our lives’ pasts was just… two people sharing a oneness and the similarities that surrounded us were not meant to be taken and held up to a promising light. There would be no romance, no spinning of the times, no eruptions of heart-throbbing, pulsing love-making, and nothing else that would classify in the realm of labels, a relationship.
Communication, I was always told, is key and when I communicated to her my feelings, that proved to be my doom. It was not the only time, for I am a knower of rejection. It has laid up with me, it sometimes has a home when I do not seek its company. Yes, it was not the only time, but it was the last and it hurt like hell. I still see her in my dreams, hear her voice, know her words. When you love a Writer, you know that they have the power to build you up or tear you down, and they do not do it as a courtesy to you, in your face, it comes in their work. And you, being a Writer yourself, you do it too.
I loved a woman once…
And, she taught me that it is not always best to share one’s feelings, that the tides have various shifts and changes and if you are not careful, you will be swept up with the seashells and gritty sand. I do not know what it is like to turn off my heart. I wish I did. There are days where I wish I did not know her voice, did not know how common words such as “caress” and “safety” sounded as they rolled away from her tongue. We take things along with us from the hurt places. Unknowingly, sometimes we keep them and when they see fit, they raise up at the wrong moment, reminding you of just how sharp that pain was.
I loved a woman once…
And I have written fifteen poems about her, only sharing two of them when asked, and reminded of just how close I am to dying an early death in the game of love. She would have no remorse, and why should she? The line had been drawn and I watch where it lies, mindful not to cross it. What have I learned? That the heart wants what it wants yet the mind has to remind it that sometimes, it cannot have what it wants… And sometimes, without its knowledge, it is for the best.
Aging isn’t for the faint of heart. As Jernee gets older, several things are making themselves known and knocking our daily routine out of whack. During our last Vet visit, I was informed that cataracts are forming in Jernee’s eyes. Recently, she has also taken up not eating or refusing to eat what’s placed before her or simply eating once per day. I can handle the change in eating habits, but I just don’t know what she wants.
There’s also the low growling she does when I am preparing her for bed. She’ll enter her crate willingly when signaled, but as soon as I go to lower the cover, she growls. All of these changes are fairly new and I don’t like them at all. I feel like I am losing my sweet girl to age and the golden years and that ornery, off-the-wall behavior is now what I’ll have to face.
The Vet says that when her sight gets worse or if it does, she’ll refer us to an Ophthalmologist who specializes in animal care for a consult. I am not looking forward to that day, but if ever it occurs, I’ll try to be prepared. This is life. This is our reality. We live to age and then we die, if we’re lucky to do it in that order.
I have always looked at The Little Monster as being invincible and each day that she’s living, I am being reminded that she is not. I can handle what is ahead, at least, this is what I am telling myself. The golden years came too fast. I would definitely like a refund with interest included.
I want my puppy girl back–my sweet, little mischievous girl who minds commands, gets in her crate without protest, eats her food without being snooty or refusing her food, and the glorious fact of 20/20 vision to return.
But, we are moving forward, there is no going back. And that, my dear friends, is the scary part.
I had a friend, a long time ago, who read something of mine posted on another writing platform and ripped it to shreds. Another friend who saw the comment from that friend of ours sent me a text message that said, “You are not writing for the minds of those who cannot understand, Tre. You are writing for the cosmos, girl.” Since then, I have taken the last bit of her comment and applied it to my life. I am living for the cosmos.
What am I? Who am I? How do I fit into this world that oftentimes does not see me? Black can be offensive to those who are not used to being bold.
Let me break that down…
The very force in which we make ourselves known is too much for some to handle. When we get together and voice our opinions on things that matter, subjects that are for our personal gain (and rightfully so), the passion in which we express ourselves to some is too intense. We are intense. We are extreme. We have every right to stand tall, proud, and be forthcoming about who we are and what we give to a world that still benefits from seeing us ostracized.
Someone asked me recently who I am — how would I describe myself using only three words? I said, “Black, woman, and bisexual.” She then looked at me as if I had two heads, one viciously snapping at the other. I asked, “Should I expound?” And of course, I needed to. In the American South, I have three strikes against me before I open my mouth. I am Black. I am a woman. I am bisexual. To be just one of these three descriptions in 2019 is a struggle, but to be all three? That is a welcome mat for homicide.
Some say, we are living in a forward-thinking age, but we are nowhere near a time that will lend us peace wherever we may roam. I am being reminded daily that I am beautiful. That I am designed just right. That every layer of skin and its tone is what I was meant to carry. This is my cross to bear — I have to search for these reminders. I have to dig. I have to create the space I need for comfort, it is not readily prepared or given to me. I have to take it.
I Am Black’s Beauty…
“i am always burning and no one knows my name
i am a nameless fury, i am a blues scratched from
the throat of ms. nina—i am always angry.” — Mahogany L. Browne
I dated a guy while in my twenties who said to me, “There’s nothing left for a man to give you, Tre.” I thought it to be the oddest, most ignorant thing for someone to say. The comment led to our first major argument. Do I not need love? Do I not need comfort? Am I not worthy of someone who can step in and just be what I need him or her to be when I need it? He tried to explain to me that his comment was solely to point out that I was independent, in constant survival-mode, stable, and did not need “help” from him. This was before my coming out days, but he knew of my sexuality — he knew who I truly was.
To say that we were “young and dumb,” would probably be apt, but we both knew what and who we wanted and it was not each other. He needed a woman who needed him and often showed it, made him “feel like a man.”I wanted a man who acknowledged my independence, stood by it, and still loved me without measuring what I could and could not do. It was best that we parted ways. That experience taught me that all that I am will not be accepted by everyone. All that I am will not be applauded by everyone.
Black is sweet. Black is love. Black is light. Black is struggling to make ends not only meet but stick together forever. Black is golden. Black is the blues and soul-saving poetry. Black is picking up the pieces, putting them in their rightful place, and moving on.
Black is the high road, the road less traveled, the road to all of your yellow brick roads. Black is new. Black is old. Black is learning to step aside and honor the ancestors’ calling upon us. Black is sincerity.Black is bold.
Every single day, I am paving a way for myself where in the past, I felt as though I could not. And in the South, I still feel that I cannot. I may not be what someone wants or expects of me. I may not have what someone needs or expects from me. I may be the very last thing you think about and can only provide a tiny space for in the corner of your weeping mind. But I know this —
I am bold.
This is a more in-depth breakdown of the following piece:
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?”
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.
I 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.
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.
Today, I prepared my Living Will & Testament. I had been meaning to draft this up for years, started it, and never finished, but today–it is done. I have all of the necessary mentions, made one of my best friends the Executor and both she and my mom as primary and secondary beneficiaries. Why one of my best friends and not my mom? We have discussed this, my Mom and I. Should I go before her, she is not what one would call a stable person emotionally. She would be too overwhelmed with sadness and grief and probably not the one to execute things accordingly. As grim as death is, in the event of the death of your child, plans still have to be made, funeral arrangements need to be completed, the gathering of souls and notifying them as well must be carried out and well… to be frank, she would not be able to get this done.
My best friend, on the other hand, handles things efficiently and does so in a way that many cannot. Plus, it will not be her first time dealing with death and dying and head-mastering the arrangements. I hate tasking either of them with this, but it must be done. Although I am what most would call young in age, death does not care about that. When I am called by God, I will be called and age will be the last thing on God’s mind. While diligently compiling the list of belongings and making sure Jernee will be cared for and loved when I am gone, I became a bit emotional myself. To think of one’s own death is quite macabre, however, as I stated earlier, this is necessary. I have had a number of peers die “untimely deaths,” and I am certain there will be more. It is not my intention to leave my family wondering what my wishes are nor is it my intention to leave them solely responsible for funding my homegoing.
The nearly three-page document lacks nothing. I went through it with a fine-toothed comb and I am pleased with every item bullet-pointed, including the want to be cremated and have my ashes relegated to my mother who may do what she likes with them at her discretion. I requested a small funeral–family and close friends only. I do not see a reason to have a mass gathering for the purpose of me leaving this earth. The more people at this event, the more my mom and best friend will have to deal with and I intend for their burdens to be light. They will have enough on their plates. Should my Mom go before me, I am the Executor and her primary beneficiary and I will adhere to her wishes as she has laid them out for me. The same goes for my best friend. We talk about these matters, better to do so than not be somewhat prepared.
The only thing left to do now is to obtain signatures and get the Notary Public at my credit union to notarize the document. I will try to accomplish this in the next week or two. I can let out a sigh of relief because after the fall in the shower, nearly two years ago, the one thing bleating in the back of my mind like an untamed billygoat is, “you need a Living Will. Get it done, Tre.”