new neighbors

new neighbors moved in
next door.
I worry about how
they’ll be–who they are
when the day turns
to night and the need
for fake(ness) fades.

cute couple–extra smiley
with matching names.
the dog scrutinizes the
young man–low growls as
he passes by.

I think to myself,
“If she doesn’t like him,
we’re in a world of
trouble.”

I also think,
“You shouldn’t overanalyze
this–it could be okay.”
we’ll see.

The Grieving Room

What is my body trying to say?

It would be an understatement if I said this past week has been a pleasant week. Overall, it has been. It would not be an untruth — I’ve had more “on” days than “off”, and for this, I am grateful. However, grief is hitting me differently, and I have dealt with a few aches, pains, and discomforts as I try to move through each day as they come. At the closing of each night, just before I get into bed, I have noted how I feel — what my heart senses — how my body is trying to communicate with me. I am healing. There is no denying this, but something is pulling at me — something still has a major hold.

I mentioned in the previous installment about having to take a week away from social media and much of the online world, and I also took a day of bereavement from work early last week. There is no doubt in my mind that each of these things needed to take place. I had been feeling incredibly overwhelmed and sunken by the pull of sadness and an overall sense of exhaustion that cannot be described.

I catered to myself. I made myself a priority. The usual adulting things had to take place, but I set a goal for myself to “do nothing” in the evenings during my break away from the online world. And do nothing is exactly what I did. The following Monday, though, I hit the ground running once again, even pursued some more overtime at work, and this past Thursday, May 12, 2022, I started experiencing some nausea. By Friday, it was several trips to the bathroom that also ran into this morning.

Could this be my body’s way of telling me I bolted out of my period of rest too soon, or could I be experiencing the first few phases of burnout?

What is burnout and how do I resolve to not welcome it?

The Mayo Clinic defines burnout as:

Job burnout is a special type of work-related stress — a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.

“Burnout” isn’t a medical diagnosis. Some experts think that other conditions, such as depression, are behind burnout. Researchers point out that individual factors, such as personality traits and family life, influence who experiences job burnout.

Whatever the cause, job burnout can affect your physical and mental health.

I won’t delve into all the symptoms of burnout here — for those, you can read the list. I will mention the ones I am currently experiencing.

  1. I lack the energy to be consistently productive.
  2. I have found it hard lately to concentrate.
  3. My sleeping habits have changed.
  4. I have begun (again) to use food to feel better or change my mood.
  5. I have had several headaches, changes in bowel habits, and an overwhelming sense of fatigue for the past few months.

It is important for me to assess these things and understand why I am the current host of choice. Could they all just be lingering things occurring because of grief? Or, am I truly overdoing it and my body is on the verge of telling me, “SIT DOWN SOMEWHERE, NOW!”

I want to be wiser than the things currently happening, which is why I’ve reserved several days off from work in the coming months. We will have Memorial Day off, which is coming up shortly. I have requested Friday, July 08, 2022, and Monday, July 11, 2022, as well as two more days in August and a day in October. I rarely request this much time off from work, but I have well over 130 hours of PTO, and it is time I use it.

Maybe by doing this, I can curb any other symptoms from introducing themselves to me. *Fingers crossed*

Cooking as a gift to myself.

Recently, I have found it best to drain my sorrows in junk food, fast food, and all things unhealthy and this is something I must will myself to end. For a little over three years, I’d been on a path to eating more healthy foods, exercising, donating hours of self-care/self-love to myself, and cooking as relaxation. After my bout with my digestive system over the last few days, I have had enough.

I am resetting myself so my body will be kind to me again. I’ve purchased fresh ingredients and items necessary to make lasagna for dinner tomorrow. I will have steamed zucchini and squash as the vegetables. I will put forth conscious efforts to continue exercising and enjoying the sunny days “predicted” in the forecast.

Cooking is a gift I can give myself. I will know what I am putting into my system and what I plan to remove. It is relaxation I cannot describe adequately. When I am in my kitchen, listening to music, or to the pleasant birdsong I seem to get in my area, the meal I have in mind takes on a fantastical presence. I am shifted into a mini world of The Food Network, where I am an amazing chef and my viewers await my next recipe.

It lends me a sense of peace, and I know I need so much more now — it’s time I lean back into this talent I neglected.

Hello, body. I hear you.

The last few months have been hard. I am learning to face the things damaging to my mind, body, and heart head-on, and issue grace on a more frequent basis to myself. If my body is trying to say I am going in the wrong direction, it is time I shift it and get us back on the right path. I know my cousin would agree with me — my aunt, too. Realizing that their physical forms are no longer here with me for me to hug, hold on to, embrace, and welcome has given me a new sense of love for all living things.

I love my body. I want to give it what it needs, even if I am still carrying the weight of grief neatly on my shoulders. None of what I gift myself will be in vain. I know what I need to do now. Body, I hear you.

I will leave you with a quote I find applicable to today’s installment:

Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure. — Oprah Winfrey


Welcome to The Grieving Room. I am here. You are here. We are not alone in this.

See you next Saturday.


©2022 Tremaine L. Loadholt Originally published in The Grieving Room Newsletter via LinkedIn

After 6 Years, My Hairstylist Is Breaking Up With Me

Photo by Ismail Hadine via Unsplash There’s just so much beauty in this one photo, it’s truly mesmerizing.

I’m not ready to let go but I have to


It happened on Tuesday, June 15, 2021, around 5:45 pm. I texted my hairstylist to see what her next available date and time for a Saturday morning would be so that I could make an appointment. Her response to me was, “I’ve stopped doing Saturday appointments altogether.” I was walking my dog, Jernee when the response came through. Instantly, I stopped. I re-read the text.

Did I just read what I think I read?!

I did. I re-read it again and the response did not change. She was no longer taking Saturday appointments. This meant my routine of every three to four weeks of a wash, cut, and style would go right out the window. This also meant all the bonding, growing, intense conversations about faith, love, and gainful employment would crawl behind my routine out that same window. My other place of peace will possibly be no more.

The boulder had been drug out, rolled toward me, and it landed . . . hard.

After I gathered myself, I responded by informing her that her new schedule, unfortunately, doesn’t work with mine and I’d have to take a day off to come and get my hair done and at present, my next day off is Tuesday, August 03, 2021. I asked if I could go ahead and lock an appointment for that day since I felt as though many of her clients are having to move their schedules around and her weekdays will probably fill up sooner than later.

This meant my routine of every three to four weeks of a wash, cut, and style would go right out the window.

We agreed on that day — 12:30 pm. It is safe and secure in my digital calendar as an “event” I don’t want to miss.

I applaud my stylist for being able to make a decision to move away from doing something that essentially eats up her entire Saturday and having the courage to step forward in another direction. But without saying it, she has broken up with many of us and for those of us who will not be able to consistently keep up with her new schedule, this means I would have to find another hairstylist.

It means moving on.

My intention is to seek a recommendation from her to another hairstylist within the salon who can manage my hair. It’s unruly and thick and wavy and grows funny in the back and I have a blonde patch that she has trimmed so perfectly over the years that is now shading itself a dirty grey. All of this, I love, but who else will?

I trusted her with my hair. Who can I trust to do what she has had the full capability of doing for six years?

But without saying it, she has broken up with many of us and for those of us who will not be able to consistently keep up with her new schedule, this means I would have to find another hairstylist.

Finding a hairstylist who proves him or herself worthy of taking your time and money is a hard task. It can also be a stress-filled one and I want to avoid any new stress factors at this time or in the near future. A recommendation from my current stylist is what I feel deep down, will suit me best.

I feel like I’m being asked to sign divorce papers and I didn’t even agree to a divorce. It feels like another act of abandonment. It reminds me of the pain that comes with leaving bits of yourself with someone you have come to love, respect, and look forward to seeing but now . . . now you have to act as though none of that exists. You are beckoned to put on a happy face, suck it up, and allow these new changes to comfort you.

Eff these new changes.

This is what I want to say but the adult in me knows acting like a three-year-old will get me nowhere. I implore myself to make note of the positives:

1. I’ll get to meet new people.

2. I can work on enhancing my trust meter.

3. I could get new hairstyles.

4. I would still be able to see my old hairstylist and chitchat with her from time to time if I agree to stick with the current hair salon.

5. I can take back my Saturdays as my regular hair appointment days.


As I call these positives within earshot, I feel better. I am not a fan of change especially when my comfort level is secure and I feel safe in the bubble designed for me. The moment that bubble is deflated is the very moment I have trouble seeing what could be beneficial for me behind my cloudy vision. I have to be reminded of previous positive changes. I have to remember how much their influence and impact had on my life and how I have grown for making those changes.

You are beckoned to put on a happy face, suck it up, and allow these new changes to comfort you.

After six years, my stylist is breaking up with me. There will be no fanfare or party or gifts exchanged. I do not look forward to inquiring about a recommendation — it feels like stepping over a line — like perhaps, maybe I should not ask. But she is also the perfect person to ask since she works in the same building with the same women and men doing exactly what she does on a daily basis. Someone there should be open to taking on new clients and perhaps they will be interested in taking on me.

Cue a-ha, Take on Me (this is still one of my favorite videos, btw).

2021 has been full of surprises so far. I guess if there was any year to jump into a sea of changes, this one is the perfect one in which to do so. Good thing I usually don’t have much trouble swimming. Let’s hope I can stay afloat long enough with whoever will be my new hairstylist — let’s hope I won’t have to change again after landing the new one or in the near future.

The moment that bubble is deflated is the very moment I have trouble seeing what could be beneficial for me behind my cloudy vision.

Six long years have come and gone. More are ahead of me if I am lucky. Six years from now, maybe I’ll even have different hair or a different way of addressing what my hair needs and what I want for my hair. For right now, one step at a time.

New hairstylist, here I come. Please, be gentle.


Originally published via Medium.

“It’s a Mild Case” and Now I Must Move Forward

Living with keratoconus and so long to A Cornered Gurl

This was originally published as an informative letter via A Cornered Gurl on Medium. I know some of you are writers and readers of the publication (on Medium only), so I am sharing it here as well. Hello to each and every one of you.

Workspace/Blue light glasses|Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

My optometrist diagnosed me with keratoconus at just the right time. Per my ophthalmologist and corneal specialist at the Duke Eye Center, it’s mild in both eyes with no scarring and no advanced hazing. I have a six-month follow-up to assess my status at that time and to have additional corneal images taken. At the beginning of next year, I’ll be fitted for scleral contact lenses. These will help to reshape the corneas in both eyes and continue to enhance my vision over time. This is a lifelong condition, there’s no cure — but using these methods will aid me in the future regarding my sight.

The best thing about getting this in my 40s is there’s a better chance of it not continuing to progress at a rapid rate and slowly easing up as long as I do what I need to. The follow-up in six months will determine if I’m headed in the right direction to keep me from having any invasive treatments or surgery.

My ophthalmologist showed me what corneal transplant surgery would entail by using the eye model in the exam room. Let’s just say, I truly don’t want to have to endure this surgical procedure. I would rather not walk down that scary road, thank you very much.

Not only was I given a great deal of information about my condition and what to do during these next few months to keep my vision on the up and up, I was also advised to get some Pataday eye drops to help with my allergies and keep me from rubbing my eyes when they itch.

At this point, I am relieved there is no cause for surgery or invasive treatments and I will continue to do what I can on this end to help my sight. This break away from A Cornered Gurl and a few other obligations allowed me time to rest and do other things that do not require my focus totally pressed upon, into, or on some technological device far more than I need to be.

I enjoyed it. I relished the lack of responsibility with these obligations and I wish to move forward with that. At this juncture, I am ceasing all publishing in A Cornered Gurl, indefinitely. I do not have the words to appropriately express how loved each of you as writers and readers of this publication are but I fully believe this is what I needed to show me I can no longer do what I used to.

The body has a way of making one aware when one needs to completely change one’s habits.

I am changing mine.

I will leave the publication up. It feels a bit jumpy to disable or delete it, especially when there are so many powerful, vulnerable, and expressive pieces of work here. If I published your work, I was delighted to. If you are featured in this publication, you are meant to be. If you were rewarded in any way, you deserved it.

Thank you . . . Thank you for coming along on this journey with me. Since ACG will be retired, I am deleting our Twitter account as well. A little over a year is really probably all I can stand of “true” social media.

For your time, mind, and eyes, I am grateful and appreciative and I wish all of you well.

Peace and blessings, beautiful people.


A Cornered Gurl via Medium and Twitter are the only two platforms I will no longer host or participate in; WordPress is home. I have to have a creative outlet and I’ll still be on Medium.

3 Words: Getting Older (Jernee)

Jernee Girl, sitting pretty as always.


Overactive bladder

nightmares


Jernee is eleven years old now, almost twelve. Her bladder, as expected, does not hold liquids as long as it used to. Thus, I make trips home during my lunch break, wake up in the middle of the night to take her out, and have resorted to putting “puppy pads” down once again to help my baby girl if I know I am going to be away from home much longer than expected. This is what aging is all about, eh?