First Outing Since the Pandemic Began

My Little Monster, Jernee Timid Loadholt, enjoying the sights and sounds around her. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

Today, I had lunch with a writing friend of mine. We planned this a few weeks back, and I am glad it actually took place.

I was afraid I’d get too anxious and back out or far too afraid to even go. This was actually my first outing to sit down and eat at a restaurant (outside on the patio) since the pandemic began.

We decided on a place called Relish in Raleigh, which is about an hour and thirty-five minutes away from me. We had a delightful time. The food was great. The service was excellent. And it is a pet-friendly environment.

These days, I pretty much have to have Jernee with me if I venture away from home for too long, so this place being all it was and so much more, was definitely a Godsend.


All work and no play
Makes Jernee a grumpy dog
Today we had fun

Outing with a friend
Delicious food to savor
A pet friendly place

We will go again
When I’ve gathered up the strength
It had been too long

The Grieving Room

Photo by Keegan Houser on Unsplash

Stepping out of my comfort zone and finally feeling free

I have done three different things this week, all of which have taken me out of my comfort zone a bit, and placed me in a space I had not met before. I will start with the why of it all. Why have I done these things? What am I looking to gain from having done them? How will I move forward now with each of them started and a part of who I am?

When you are a fearful person, everything that falls outside of your line of comfort scares you. The dreams you have festering in your mind continue to fester because you fear every move you need to make in order to make those dreams your reality.

I have lived at least twenty years of my life stuck in constant fear of the unknown, yet the unknown is what I am drawn/connected to. It is where I want to be — where I see myself at my happiest. So, how do I get there if I stay stuck in the same spot — afraid to move? I won’t. And that had to change. It is changing.

So, what did I do — which three things?


Others recognize my strength as a writer — this gives me joy

Late last year, I submitted to a publication called The Short of It, which is hosted by editor Susi Bocks. The premise of the online publication is to publish “exquisite expressions in tiny explosions.” I submitted five micro-poems all the while, thinking, as I am often wont to do, they would not be chosen, and they were.

The editor published the feature for the five poems in the wee hours of Friday, July 29, 2022, and you can find each poem here. I want to share one poem with you, though — one that encompasses all that I have been feeling of late about myself and the world at large.

Pressure

she sits on the sea’s floor
shaped by the world
above it–changed forever.
the workers of ancient
tongues sift through
her words, chanting
their dismissals.
the pressure from centuries
ago labels her again
and again.
is this the chosen path
home or not?

To see these poems of mine hosted via The Short of It amongst many other writers whom I read daily and find comfort in doing so gives me an incredible amount of joy. For a couple of years, I’d ceased submitting to both online and print publications because the number of rejections was mounting, and I did not have the strength to scale that mountain any longer.

Braving it once again allowed me not only to submit to The Short of It, but also to write an essay catered to and about Black Joy regarding country music. I had in mind the publication (via Medium) I want this work to be connected to, so I wrote the essay with the publication’s theme sounding off as I typed each word.

I edited, fine-tuned, and combed through every word at different intervals. The time came to apply to be a writer. I did — again, fearful that I would not be their choice. I received the acceptance email also on Friday, July 29, 2022, and had been advised to submit the draft to the publication for continued review.

If you are a writer on/from Medium reading this, or if you have submitted your work to any viable or indomitable publication, whether online or in print, you know this does not mean the work will be published. This means you are IN. The publication will now work with you to bring your best work to their audience or they could decline every new submission if not tailored to their liking/theme accordingly.

I am hopeful the essay will be published, though, and I am optimistic about its chances. Again, there is joy racing through my bones solely about being accepted as a writer for this publication because I had been so afraid to even apply just two years ago.

I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and walked to exactly where I needed to be. And now, the journey is such a freeing one.


When people connect with your writing — they want to build with you

On Friday — yes, there’s a theme here. Do you see it? A fellow writer who is also an entrepreneur, artist, and creative powerhouse, left a comment on a previous TGR newsletter pertinent to my “dream” job and future goals. I read the comment — reached out to her. This morning, we had an hour-plus-long call that can only breed good things from this moment forward.

I am confident in her vision and in what we discussed as a game plan. It is intentional. It is laser-focused on a certain topic. It is exactly what I believe most of us need right now and in the immediate future — especially me. Prayerfully, early next year will produce more great things because of this interaction.

If I had not been writing my heart out — not sharing my difficulties and breakthroughs with grief — I never would have made this connection. If I had not taken a moment to break away from that pesky comfort zone of mine, I would not have sent the email or hopped on the call.

She saw — has seen something in my writing for years that made her want to build with me. There is no phrase — no way of actually describing this feeling that can do it justice.

When you are doing what your heart pushes you to do, the right people see it.


I whisper these accomplishments to the wind, and she hears them

The one thing that shatters my heart, though, about my newfound freedom is the fact that I cannot verbally share this with my cousin and hear her response. But I whisper it into the open air. I bend the ear of the flirting trees. I allow myself to bounce ideas out loud and nod when I feel like she approves — supports them.

I have learned that freedom from fear comes when the comfort zone is squashed. I am learning to guide myself down paths that speak to me and feel safe with more of an open mind. I am learning that although my cousin is no longer here to experience everything with me as I experience these things in real time — she is in my heart tapping at the center of me, at just the right moment.

And every tear that falls doesn’t come from me being sad anymore — they sometimes come with an undeniable air of joy surrounding me at every turn.

Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain. — Joseph Campbell

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.

The Grieving Room

Bless and Tre. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

Celebrating milestones, spending time with family, and living again

A few months ago, my kid sister decided she wanted to come up for a visit during her summer break. Since she teaches, this is the perfect time to travel, enjoy time away from home, and explore a new environment. Why not venture to North Carolina to make that happen?! I was all for it and scrambled to put in my time on our department’s PTO calendar well in advance so I would have this time with her to celebrate her 23rd birthday the way she intended to have it celebrated.

My dad and stepmom took the five-hour drive up from Georgia along with her. Seeing all three of them at once, and in my place for the first meeting in over 3 years, had been a blessing. I have not been traveling nor have I been venturing too far away from home. (Thanks, global pandemic, you really know how to show a woman a good time.)

Every time I feel as though I should take a road trip at least 3–5 hours away, my body and mind turn against me. I feel physically sick and afraid. There is a fear that has strapped itself to my skin, settled in my bones, and hasn’t released me yet. But slowly, surely, I am wiggling myself free from it.

Having the kid here for the weekend has lifted my spirits. Friday night, we watched Sing 2 on Netflix since she had not seen it. I love a good animated film. I love it even more if it makes me laugh!

There’s a specific scene when Meena is trying to run back into the lobby with her ice cream cone because she has gotten incredibly nervous and flushed from being around her crush. She attempts to push a pull door and lands hard into it — splattering ice cream everywhere.

Meena Falls in Love. Sing 2, 2021

I cannot tell you the number of times I have watched this and laughed until my throat became sore — tears sputtering from my eyes. What gets me, even more, is Alphonso’s reaction to Meena’s misstep: “Whoooaaa! Are you okay?” If you haven’t treated yourself to this movie, do so.


Celebrating a milestone simplistically but in style

23 is a fun age. If you were to ask me if I remember turning 23, nearly twenty years ago, I’d confess — I do not. I remember it was the year I graduated college and I believe much of the month before that was spent preparing myself for what was to come after I walked across that stage.

My sister did not ask for much. She didn’t want to go anywhere major, didn’t want to do anything over-the-top. Her requests: take pictures in the park, have a birthday cake, a hearty lunch, and spend time with us. Not much, right? Nope.

We have done these things, and there is still more to come. In order for me to have this time to spend with her, I took Friday off from work. I’ve also taken this coming Monday off, as I know I will need to rest and recuperate before I “go hard in the paint” again at work. Priorities, people. Priorities.

Why a milestone, you may ask? I had friends who did not make it to this age. They’d died in their early 20s, late teens, or just as we entered high school. So seeing my kid sister, all smiles, living her life to the fullest, and being able to freely, makes me miss those friends more. As I stated several entries back, grief comes in waves.

I feel immense joy witnessing her happiness. I am overwhelmed with elation, however; I think about the loved ones I have lost — those who cannot share these moments with me any longer — those who … had not been given extra time. It hits me like a ton of bricks and I am a puddle of tears once again.

23. Bless Loadholt. Used with her permission. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

Although my sister is celebrating a new year simplistically, she did so in style. As we readied ourselves this morning to meet up with my dad and stepmom, the kid wrapped herself in a stunning yellow dress and donned her feet in wedged heels.

I am not dainty by any means. I find comfort in themed t-shirts, sweatpants or jeans, and sneakers. During the winter, themed hoodies or long-sleeved shirts, sweatpants or jeans, and sneakers. The last time I wore heels? Senior prom, maybe?

I admire those who choose to rock them and can make heads turn while doing so. I am proud of my kid sister for having her own sense of style and shining so brightly as she shows it off.


Preparing for the busy weekend and much-needed family time

The workweek had been a short one. I only worked Tuesday through Thursday and Thursday ended up being a shorter day than normal because of system and connectivity issues.

Throughout the week, I was preparing myself for this weekend — getting things in order. I also rested more than usual because I knew I would be busy. Jernee (my dog) is perplexed because we have had back-to-back visitors and not much lazing about.

I appreciate spending time with my family — being able to do so with a few people here and there, and in small doses, has been a gift. I needed this more than I can put into words.

Singing Happy Birthday to someone I love and someone whose diapers I changed sends a slight shiver up my spine. I have watched this person grow from all stages of life and she is still growing. There is a sense of pride welling up within me, awaiting the proper moment to burst out.

I think I’ll hold on to it a little longer.

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? — Satchel Paige


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.

NaPoWriMo #10

afraid but in need of love

Photo by Natalie Dobson via ReShot

Easter is the 42nd, and
I’m still alone–still afraid
to love.

I get tired of hearing,
“it’ll happen, just give it
time.”
“the one will come along.”
“someone is out there
for you,” yet no one has
showed up.

and even if they did,
how ready am I?
fear swims in the pit
of my belly, making it
its home, but I
still want love–still need love.

is that possible?

Your Poem From Me Request #1

The Giving Cause: Aging in a World of Uncertainties

Photo by Marco Del Pozzo via ReShot

As each year piles on–
Clinging to my skin,
Barnacles of the modern world,
I find myself staring death
In his face.

I walk into another year,
Carrying my past–lugging
Around decades of old
Habits and eons of new pain.
I fear the embrace of
The inevitable–the end of change.

I am supposed to move forward
In life, grateful for breath;
Thankful for air, but the demons
Overcrowd my thoughts, and the
Finality of life’s end is my
Own personal horror.

I open my mouth to scream–
Nothing escapes.
This is where I live now–
On the corner of the aged,
And up the street
From the dying.

I knock on the door of
The present, and no one
Answers.


Thank you to Matt Snyder for allowing me to gift a poem to you. It has been my pleasure.

To learn more about the Your Poem From Me: The Giving Cause, click here. Let me write a poem for you. I can give it life.