You Should Take More Chances

A letter to myself from a moment of clarity.

Image created with Canva. Words, ©2021 Tremaine L. Loadholt

If you were to ask me what more do I wish I had, I would tell you . . . courage. Courage to face my fears. Courage to be uninhibited in the face of love. Courage to give more of myself in my writing — to denounce holding back. True, I do share myself with the reading world and true; I find it important to be vulnerable, but some things I wish to lie out and which are completely bare, I . . . hesitate. I shoot for the moon but always miss — my aim isn’t what it used to be. I’ve lost my touch.

There is a woman — there’s always a woman or a man, yes? Isn’t that how most stories go when we’re reminiscing or thinking about what we could have done differently or what we may have missed? There is someone or something perfectly placed within our path to mislead — misdirect us. But, there is a woman. She is new. And she could be someone on loan to me for a short while to lend what my life needs at this moment. Or, she could remain here for an entire season and a few more seasons to come, but who knows? She is here now, and I am terrified.

I wish I could explain what the issue is or how I have merged into this lane of fear, but these days, building new friendships is harder for me than they’ve ever been. I am debating with myself daily on what I should and shouldn’t do and the sanest part of me is louder . . . I should take more chances.


The worst isn’t always the outcome.

What do you have to lose? Everything you’ve gained has had struggle related to it and this should not be any different. So she doesn’t know the biggest parts of you yet — that’s life. These things arise and gift themselves to our newest members with time. Day by day, bit by bit, reveal who you are. It’s scary, yes! It’s completely and utterly horrifying, but she will do one of two things . . . Stay or leave. And you will not know which one it will be until you open up your mind and break down the wall to let someone else in.

The thing with new people is, when you’re queer, coming out is a constancy — something that doesn’t disappear. New people will get to know that aspect of you and you will have to remove the cloak and make the big reveal. There is never any fanfare and no one is around to throw confetti and play your favorite 90s rap songs, but . . . it will happen. And when it does, the moment you fear most, the “will they stay or leave” moment you shiver down to your toes about will introduce itself. Will this person be a lifer or will they shift away from you without the tiniest bit of acknowledgment?

I am debating with myself daily on what I should and shouldn’t do and the sanest part of me is louder . . . I should take more chances.

Of course, you think about the worst that could happen because there have been so many situations with the worst outcome in the end, but then again, there have also been outcomes of acceptance — of love — of understanding. Every new person isn’t a test drive dummy to see how strong they are in the face of the sweetest taboo. Stay here in the baby steps of things for just a while longer. If she’s ready to walk and you’re no longer afraid to move away from crawling — get there, but . . . don’t rush.

Everyone doesn’t need the biggest parts of you. You can give them morsels. They’re easier to chew.


You are a strong enough writer to do more.

And what do I mean by more? Those children’s books your friends and family members keep suggesting you write — that type of more. That one creative nonfiction essay you’ve been meaning to pen and submit to The New Yorker — that type of more. The poems you have built up in your heart, leaking out of your mind, and filling up space in your soul you state will be your next collection to publish the traditional way — that type of more. You can do this! This is what you do! You write!

What are you really waiting for this time? What else needs to occur to allow you to move forward with making at least one of these things happen each year? What?! That good old friend of yours, yup — fear. Listen, didn’t you say a couple of years back you would not allow fear to take up residence in your mind anymore or in your heart? What happened to that person who was coming out of her shell, refusing to be cornered? I had a great time with her. She was cool. Bring her back.

I find it important to be vulnerable, but some things I wish to lie out and which are completely bare, I . . . hesitate.

Life isn’t always going to be this fresh and this full of hope and ready for you to spelunk and take full advantage of it. You must strike while you can. Go explore the caves of this world — take your laptop.


“Fifteen minutes at a time.”

You still carry this phrase with you from one of your older cousins. It helps. It works. It gets you where you need to be each day, and I want you to use this phrase to help turn things around in your life for the betterment of it. With her — let her in. Give her a chance. But, accept what will be with things: a friend or a partner or nothing. . . Go into it knowing you are learning a mystifying yet beautiful creature and you have every right to.

However, don’t search for anything you don’t really want to find. Fifteen minutes at a time each day — you never know, maybe this is what you need to push you out of the pit you dug for yourself of late. “Slowly. Surely.” If love — any form of love is there, don’t walk away from it.

Write through it all — that’s what you do, isn’t it? Write it all out in a way that connects with the masses — that fuels their very souls. Pitch a publication here. Submit an article there. Don’t let the past rejections continue to board up your creative walls. You must keep them free from shade. Do what you know you can. Write your broken, loving, misguided, disruptive, combative, and intense heart out, child. Write it out!

Go get what is yours and what has been designed for you. Stop reviewing it in your head and allowing it to slip away from the tips of your fingers. Bring it to life. You can do this. You can. You were born into this world for “such a time as this.”

What happened to that person who was coming out of her shell, refusing to be cornered?

Now, pull yourself back, shake off the dust of the past, breathe in deeply, and shoot for the moon. It’s time.


Originally published in CRY Magazine via Medium.

If I Blink, He Disappears


I want to tell him that the days of us
growing together sneak up on me
at times — unexpected. I still love him.
I find myself searching through 
old arguments to see where we 
missed the point of clarity.
How did we not understand what
was right in front of us?

I have gray hair in places unthinkable — 
everything is aging and I’ve lost 
my way from him. I thought,
I couldn’t catch up to him — 
he wasn’t my speed. I ran
and ran and ran and kicked up 
dust in three different States, yet
we never saw eye to eye.

If I blink, he disappears. 
I want to hold on to the memories
of us for as long as my chest
heaves up and down and as far
as my legs will carry me, but time
is no longer of the essence.

Everything is aging.
I find myself searching through 
old arguments to see where we 
missed the point of clarity.
Our wrinkles tell the story of us
and the past lives we’ve lived.
He is still my fantasy unfulfilled,
my wants go unnoticed.
Should I tell him my heart 
still has space for him?

A friend of mine said she 
hopes one day I meet someone
because I’m such a great human. 
But am I, though? Is there something missing?
Something that could make me more?
I struggle with these questions — 
these questions of me and who
I was and who I should be.

If I blink, he disappears.
I want to tell him that the days of us
growing together sneak up on me
at times — unexpected. I still love him.
I do. I wonder if he knows this.
Should I tell him?


Originally published in soliloque via Medium.


Musical Selection: Luther Vandross|Better Love

YouTube

Brought Back to Life (Revised)

Microfiction

Photo by Rahul Pandit via Pexels

Sold into flames, fiery pits sing of the determination of willful souls who know only the battles of their homeland.

Dead then alive, then dead again, human resurrection; phoenixes rising up, resisting the shackles weighing them down. We move to get away from ourselves. We seek peace in other lands — eager to take over other worlds. Will our legs carry us to places unknown?
 
Temptation comes in two forms; young or old. We crave them both. Is this life’s crown? Are we waiting to be brought back to life while we struggle to live? 
 
Are we?


Revised version originally published in soliloque via Medium.

5 Things I Do Now While Grocery Shopping

Unhinged

Photo by Elizabeth McDaniel via Unsplash

Going to the store now for me is like . . . like playing tug of war or escaping the fiery keep of a dragon. I flit around the store, flailing my body about the square footage as quickly as possible. All the while, in my head, I sing, “Get in. Get out. Get in. Get out.” It is a test of my stamina. How fast can I retrieve the seven items I came in here for, hmm?

I am friendly, but from a distance. I watch the people around me — looking at what they’ve touched — avoiding it. My senses are enhanced — heightened, somehow. I am a supreme ninja jutting through tight spaces, maneuvering myself through the lines of an obstacle course made of rotating germs and aggravated naysayers.

I bolt through the self-checkout, tossing the receipt in the garbage can neatly placed by the lane. I see the doors . . . “EXIT” never looked so sexy as it does when I lunge my body toward it — craving the air outside of the building.

I make it back to my car and I slide inside and crank that baby up and I breathe. I breathe and breathe and breathe and thank God I was successful. I got in and I got out.

And although, I only go to the grocery store if I’ve failed to get some items I needed or if I want a few more things and decline happily to paying the additional delivery fee for so few items. Otherwise, Instacart and Door Dash (Walgreens) are my friends.

I do these five things when I have to make a quick run to my local grocery store.


Keeping my distance.

I was never really big on having someone (I don’t know) very close to me pre-pandemic, so maintaining six feet is easy. Hell, I usually increase that distance by three to four feet.

There’s no need for anyone to get near me unless they’re trying to tell me something or get my attention, and even then, I am shooting them Mr. Burns’ twitchy eye stares if they break the lining of my bubble.

Avoiding areas that are heavily crowded.

And by “heavily crowded,” I mean two to three people. “Sure, I really need to get some more cucumbers, but I’ll avoid that for now. Thelma is thumping on and sniffing the bell peppers and Louise is sampling the grapes. Hard pass.”

Sanitizing my hands.

I work in healthcare. I’m almost certain I bleed alcohol by now. While working at the facility, I would go through bottles of hand sanitizer within a week or just under two. I’d also wash my hands until they were nearly raw.

Suffice to say, I spent my days screening patients for Coronavirus symptoms and came in contact with enough people who were positive to make me want to drink cleaning products. I won’t, though. I haven’t. But give me my hand sanitizer, please.

That is a pre-requisite, henceforth and forevermore.

Using my own shopping bags.

Let’s be real. The plastic most stores are using now has been recycled so many times. A bag of flour, two packs of gum, and a gallon of water will rip one up in a matter of seconds. For convenience and because I know where they have been, I use my own shopping bags. Thank you very much.

And I don’t mind bagging them myself.

Avoiding aisles when others are on them.

This is connected to the second point. I will wait to go down an aisle if over two people are on that aisle. I’ll circle over to another section of the store, get what I need from there, and come back. Usually, I’m successful.

Most times, they’ve gotten what they needed and I can swing on through and grab what I need. No harm, no foul. Keep it moving, folks!


You could be saying to yourself, “These seem extreme,” or “ Hey! I do a few of these too!” Many of these things do not differ from what I did pre-pandemic, they are just upgraded.

The key factor for me is safety. Grocery stores can be death traps and while I treat every day as an opportunity to extend the life I have, I am aware this life could end at any moment.

I’d just rather it not be by contracting a deadly virus while I was examining the expiration dates on my favorite brand of yogurt.


Originally published in Hinged Press via Medium.