Unintended Codependency

I never want

to be so afraid

of living

that I

s  t a y

with someone who

makes me

f e e l

like I’m dead

I know so many women who’ve found themselves in this predicament. They’ve stayed so long with their partner(s) they’ve forgotten how to live on their own and they’re willing to remain in that relationship, regardless of how they’re being treated because it’s all they know–it’s all they’ve allowed themselves to know. And the fear of failing outside of the relationship scares them more than dying within the relationship ever could.

I’ve had to leave a couple friendships because the toxicity of what they were used to seeped into the seams of who we were. It’s harmful. It’s hurtful. And it’s a hindrance on their lives and the lives of others. Sadly, no one can force them out of their situations. It’s something they have to find the strength and belief in themselves to do.

It’s something they have to believe they’re worthy enough to do.

I can only stand by and love them as I know how. I can only support them in their efforts to become better as much as I can. But I’ve learned to remove myself from situations that are out of my control and I draw the line when I’ve noticed how hard one’s efforts can be especially when they’re ignored or avoided.

I can only wish them well when nothing else works and love them from afar.

She Could Never Be My Superhero

A Free Verse Poem

I’d been laying my problems at her feet
only upon her request and even then,
I’d been careful — didn’t reveal too much,
didn’t let her tap-dance her way into 
the depths of me. 
I know what to say and when and how to 
say it in order to fill the mind with
the info it needs to keep it 
yearning for more.

A tablespoon here, a teaspoon there, 
she feasted on parts of me no one else
could ever fetch and since she was willing
to swim in the deep end, I showed her what
those waters had in them.
You find out how sincere a person is
when you shed some skin in their presence.
You learn just how devoted
they are when shit hits the fan.

Not everyone is built to carry your
burdens — not everyone is made to 
honor your suffering. 
You are your own warrior and your
battles are yours and yours alone.
The war created for you is meant for
you to fight, so when someone says
they can go to war for you, make sure
they have enough ammunition.

The back and forth of growing into
a new age in life can be exhausting.
40 isn’t 30 and 30 wasn’t 20, and
you find yourself looking back on those
times trying to pull any memories 
catered to your current hell, 
but none of them seem quite as
close to your now.

So, what can you do when that
friend still wants the deepest parts
of you even when you’ve tried
your best to be careful?
You step back, take a bigger view of
your surroundings, then make sure
your perception of you doesn’t 
overshadow what they truly see.

Then, you tell them, “I’m not looking
for anyone to save me. I’m looking
for someone to stand by me when
I need them, Nothing more. Nothing less.”

And if they stick around — if they still
want to stick around after that, a superhero
you do not have — you have love . . . 
the kind of love that lends itself
in the midst of broken hearts and
shattered dreams, and a botched election,
and a big ass baby’d man who’d cry if
his way isn’t the only way . . .

What you have is someone you
can depend on — someone loyal enough
to keep spoonfeeding bits
of you to.

Originally published in Intimately Intricate via Medium.

Why Goodbye Really Isn’t Goodbye

And how I’ve learned to say “See You Later” instead

Image for post
Succulents (Luna, Venus, Mars, & Jupiter). Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

Ihave learned to say “See You Later” when I am leaving people or a place I love. It’s more accurate than “Goodbye.” Goodbye is final — an ending. Everything in life may not always require an ending, especially when bonds and love exist for the person/people/things. Friday, November 06, 2020, was my last day at my previous job. It was full of tearful expressions, gifts, social-distance hugs, and well-wishes. I have stated this once and I will state it again — I am not (have not) leaving people I hate, I left people I love. It is hard. It has been hard. But ultimately, this decision is still the best one for me.

This week, I have had patients cry, want to hug me, and talk to me longer than they usually do as they learned of my decision to transition to our Central Scheduling Unit. Patients have brought in gifts, written up remarkable cards for me to hand to my supervisor, and shared their respect and admiration for me. The one phrase I have heard more than I can count this week was, “Thank you for making us feel safe.” I will miss many of them and others I cannot be happier to get away from — to possibly never see again in a professional setting.

I have learned to say “See You Later” when I am leaving people or a place I love. It’s more accurate than “Goodbye.” Goodbye is final — an ending.

The law firm above our facility consists of a team of one man and three women. Each of the women I have grown to care for and respect. The three of them got together to give me a card with such heartfelt notes written in it that drew tears from my eyes as I read them. As Ms. Leslie approached me and readied her speech, I stood there — fully in tune with her words and thanked her profusely for such a kind gesture. She made sure I knew how loved I was and how much my presence meant to them. She asked if I would train my replacement and I informed her I would.

So, this past week was made up of me training my replacement and getting her ready for the week ahead. I was thankful we did not have as much traffic as we usually get in the facility so it made training her much easier, but we had several instances occur of which she will need to be aware and ready to tackle when they take place with no one else around to assist her. After our third day of training, her question to me was, “Did you do this by yourself?” and I informed her I did. Her response to that was, “This is not a job for one person.” I agreed with her.

The one phrase I have heard more than I can count this week was, “Thank you for making us feel safe.”

Some days I would screen over two hundred people for Coronavirus, COVID-19 symptoms, and out of that two hundred, I would probably have to turn away five to ten per day for having symptoms or refusing to wear face coverings/masks. The job is taxing, and on my best days, it completely exhausted me. I am sure it had to be pure adrenaline and the high-energy of my nature that kept me afloat.

My replacement is a bubbly middle-aged woman who has a cheerful disposition and a need to be around people again. She is transitioning from a remote position back to a clinical setting. I could tell this past week that perhaps she may have made the wrong decision. In the middle of a global pandemic and at one of the busiest facilities in the area, trying to get as much information as I could transfer from my brain to hers felt like an act of futility. The job itself is tough, but having to train someone in the midst of the job made it even tougher.

Mymost important piece of advice to her was, “Find a groove that works for you. This foyer is your baby. You will have to own it or it will own you.” I could also feel her level of discomfort too as some of my coworkers came out to the foyer to bid me farewell in front of her. They were emotional, they kept asking me to think it over and to not leave, and others wished me the best but let it be known they were sad I stuck with my decision.

Regardless of what I did to get them to curb the conversation for a later time, they went on. I am a fan of giving people the floor to express themselves, but I am also a person who is constantly connected to the feelings of others. I wanted this transition to be smooth for the new Screener and not one filled with anxiety of having to step into the shoes of someone else before her.

The job is taxing, and on my best days, it completely exhausted me. I am sure it had to be pure adrenaline and the high-energy of my nature that kept me afloat.

We made it through the week with her trained as much as anyone could be trained for a position such as this — questions had been asked and answered and she will have many more; I am sure. They will not be for me. I left the entrance space of our facility in her hands. I hope she takes care of it.

I worked six hours that day, knowing in advance I would need to leave earlier than my normal to rest up for the new job next week. Prior to my leaving, I went to each modality to see their faces and spread some love before I turned in my keys. The blessings that flowed from the mouths of these beautiful people reminded me of why this decision is such a hard one. The plant you see above as the cover image is just one of the many gifts given to me shortly before I exited the building. I instantly fell in love with it.

One of my coworkers, the one in which I am closest to, grabbed me, and hugged me, and I felt her body shake a little and I said three times, “Don’t you dare cry,” and she didn’t. I said to her, “This is not goodbye for us — it’s not. This is, see you later.” And it will be.

I have learned the difference between the two. You say goodbye to those people or places you never intend to see again. Goodbye isn’t reserved for the team I had the pleasure of spending nearly three years with — no, goodbye has no place regarding them.

Not one bit.

Originally published via Medium.

If I Loved You, I Still Do

And I always will

Photo by Nick Fewings via Unsplash

We have grown apart for a reason or reasons. We know that reason or reasons. Perhaps we’d always known them. Yet we tucked them deep within ourselves and buried them as lies. Our little truths were showing their heads, flashing beady eyes — devils from the dawn. We wanted to escape the crumble, denied the fall. But it still happened. I have loved what some may consider many and others not enough. And I love them all still, and I always will.

Our meeting had been destined to occur but not fated to last. Their presence in my life had its effects.

I have either become stronger from knowing them or wiser. And in my days of believing I’d become weaker, I have learned we design what we truly want and what we truly need. If I stayed, that was on me and me alone.

In The Beginning

Growing up, I was the eldest of seven children, three of my siblings lived with me. I was their “Go-to” person, their safe place. I cooked, ironed clothes, helped with homework, played with, and disciplined boys who would become men. Without going into much detail, I’ll express that my mom was fighting demons we could not see, and we suffered because of it.

Our household lacked the parental units necessary to maintain it and we grew up well before our time. Being children of divorce and separation, we all developed certain psychological “issues” that would linger into adulthood. I struggled with abandonment and fear of loss. I still do.

I am open about this and am the only one who has sought therapy because of it. I know there are still pieces of me yearning to have my “original” family back and a mother who was more active or involved, but I also know the past is gone and there’s no getting it back.

Healthy human development requires needs for physical and emotional care to be met. Unmet needs can result in feelings of abandonment. — Good Therapy

I search for bits of what I wanted my family to be in the people I meet: a devoted & more present mother, a faithful & more responsible father, less violence— curbed dysfunction . . . But I have to remind myself, I cannot go actively looking for what I am missing — it cannot be my ultimate reason for building relationships.

It is an everyday experience in knowing who I loved and why and remembering what I have lost too.

Growth Spurts

I have riddled my adult life with relationships where either I was deathly afraid to leave or my partner or friend felt as though they couldn’t leave. We stuck to each other, okay with the familiar, exasperated with holding on, but denied ourselves the freedom of letting go. I held on much longer than I should have. I did not want to lose them — I’d lost so much.

Co-dependency is a learned behavior that can be passed down from one generation to another. It is an emotional and behavioral condition that affects an individual’s ability to have a healthy, mutually satisfying relationship. — Mental Health America

It was obvious that much of my behavior centered on codependency which stemmed from feelings of childhood abandonment and either I was going to stare this truth into its face and take it head-on or continue to deny it. I faced it. I am getting better daily because of this option.

During these growth spurts, I have had to let go of some people I loved and will always love but held on to them because of history or decades of time that lapsed between us. Or . . . I did not want to feel what I needed to feel without their presence — peace. I didn’t know it would exist without them.

I tightened my grasp even if the relationship was one-sided; I did what I thought would keep us together: I showered them with gifts, made more time for them, checked up on them even when the gesture had not been reciprocated. In short, I removed layers of me with any semblance of hope that it would change them or make them stay.

In letting them go and giving them room to run, I also learned not to chase after them — not to reclaim what had been dead years before its actual expiration date.

There is an overwhelming sense of relief leaning into genuine bonds and friendships that come with no strings attached. I am also more aware of pointing out codependency, negative attachment, and fear of abandonment in others and moving away from forming these types of relationships.

Not that I am perfect in the selection of those coming into my life — I never will be. This is a testament that I now know what to look for and how to bow out of or back away from what could be potentially harmful to me.

You Are In My Heart

If I loved you, you had meaning in my life. You were here for a time and if you have vanished, that time has passed and rightfully so. I mourn your loss just as I would the death of the physical body. Your soul remains. I can feel you.

It was wise for us to part, for us to move on and move forward, and I believe this wholeheartedly. I am still learning, still growing, and recognizing parts of me that need fine-tuning.

But I know I loved you, and I always will.

Originally published on Medium.

gifts and blessings

Modern workplace with gadgets in cozy room with soft light
Photo by Kelly Lacy via Pexels

A chance–I had to take a chance once again, so I readied myself last Friday and put in for transfers to three different departments within our organization. Apprehensive and fearful of what could actually take place, I had to trust the experience. We have lost so many team members to other jobs–places where they can feel *safe* at home while they work–places that enrich their lives as well as allow them to continue to give remarkable care to our patients. I am taking a chance again. Each job is a remote or work-from-home position. One department, two of my former team members have recently made their home, and one (former team member) . . . decided to put in a good word for me with the direct hiring manager.

An email came today. An introduction to who she is and what she does, after I submitted my resume and cover letter at my former team member and friend’s request. We scheduled a phone interview which is for tomorrow at 12:15 pm, US, EDT. I am excited, but I am also scared. I believe it’s a good scared, though. I informed my direct supervisor of my actions as the transfer will include her signing off and approving my actual resignation or notice if I am hired for this position. I am thankful for this gift–this blessing. When you work hard and do the job you’re supposed to do, people recognize it. They put in a “good word” for you. They speak to your strengths and what you can offer that particular company.

I am happy I had someone on the other side vouching for me.

this could be the change
light at the end of tunnels
God’s making a way