Hello, Happiness. Hello, Sadness. Which of You Will I Feel Today?

On: moving through these two emotions as best as I can.

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Photo by DEVN via Unsplash

I am seated at my kitchen table in my breakfast nook — laptop propped up, my therapist’s voice in the background . . . We are meeting, but virtually. This has become — dare I say it, Our New Normal. I have adjusted my life in such a way that allows me an evening once per month with my therapist so I may stay on track in managing my emotions, dealing with personal breakdowns, and understanding the many changes happening in my life that have affected me more than I thought they would. For now, this plan is proving to be helpful and as soon as I transition to my new position, we will find a better time of day to conduct our sessions.

For those of you unaware, I will switch jobs soon. On November 06, 2020, I will say goodbye to the facility where I work and transfer to another department within our organization for a remote position. This will be good for me — it will keep me out of some intense situations with people who have proven to be more selfish than selfless. Screening for COVID-19 symptoms during what is now “Flu Season” is taxing. It was already a strenuous task hard on my body, but the level of exhaustion has increased in recent weeks.

I am open and honest when I say I would rather be at home during a global pandemic and I am overjoyed about this change, however, happiness is not the only emotion I feel as I count down to my last day.

I am leaving people I love

Although I will still work for the same organization, I will be in a different department — handling mostly different tasks. This moves me from a group of people I love — cherish as a family. My team is outstanding and walking away from them will leave me gutted in a way I had not prepared for.

I can already feel sadness settling in intermittently. It overwhelms me. It stifles me and drains my energy. It keeps me from being my best self at work.

When you learn and grow with an amazing group of people who go above and beyond in doing their jobs and have a mindset of providing remarkable care to patients, this is hard to forget or dismiss.

My team will be one person short until there is a replacement. I think about how that will impact them — how they will have to work doubly hard to keep up with our facility’s pace, and what that might do to them both mentally and physically. Ours is a fast-paced facility servicing a demographic that isn’t always responsive or respectful, so trying times come more often than not.

I can already feel sadness settling in intermittently. It overwhelms me. It stifles me and drains my energy. It keeps me from being my best self at work.

Making this decision to step down and away from my current position was hard because I am not leaving a place I hate . . . I am leaving a place I love — one filled with people who care, are concerned, and want to help others.

It was time I “chose” me first

I decided to do this for me — to put me first, and I will not back down from it. When I look at how what I do warps my emotions, pulls me away from others, and makes me want to retreat more than invite or welcome anyone in (be it virtually or while social-distancing), a work-from-home position could be the peace and safety I need to regain some semblance of my former self.

We are all quarantining or distancing ourselves from those we love — we’re all feeling the brunt of this global pandemic. My question to myself was, “How can you change one thing to make what you do better?” Given what I do, there is no way to change it to make it better. It’s a hands-on job with involvement and physical interaction with people who are seeing us for the care they wish to get. So, I then said to myself, “You can still be in the medical field, but be hands-off.” And therefore, I applied to remote positions within our organization.

I know where my heart is, and it’s in helping others — it always has been there. I feel strongly about this purpose. Moving towards this position to schedule invasive procedures and imaging scans for our patients while still being able to communicate with them (over-the-phone or via our chat/email options) relieves me. I will still do what I love doing.

What day will this be? A happy or sad one?

As I work down the last two weeks of my resignation, I am moving through two emotions rather wildly. My sense of self feels off-kilter and unbalanced. One day, I’m happy to count down to my last day. The next, I am sad. I am moved to tears. The hurt cuts deeply. I know what I am doing. I know why I am leaving. I want to feel as though it validates my reasons for doing so without the added baggage of enhanced emotions.

I am open and honest when I say I would rather be at home during a global pandemic and I am overjoyed about this change, however, happiness is not the only emotion I feel as I count down to my last day.

My therapist to me during our last session: “You will move through those emotions as they come, Tre. What did we discuss during our last session about feeling all of them?”

“Feel them, then move on from them.”

Moving on is the hard part. I feel them just fine. They welcome themselves into my daily routine unannounced, and I have to reassure myself that what I am feeling is sound — it is normal. I have a right to be both happy and sad about choosing to leave my job and the people I love, but why can’t I understand this?

Quietly, I belittle myself for moving from one emotion to the next as the days pass. I have to learn to be kinder — to acknowledge that this is monumental for me and to give myself a little more love. It took me months to crack down on a job hunt and a few more weeks after that, to pursue the jobs for which I had applied. This was a process — a well thought out process. I did not make the decision in haste.

It all boils down to my reluctance to adapt to change — this, I know. I am aware of this. It crushes me to shift a routine, to uproot my habitual status, to move with the wind . . . I am happier planted — a tree should be my spirit object. I made a mental note of this to discuss with my therapist during our next session. Perhaps this is another reason both happiness and sadness have become my bedfellows.

The time is nearing and my team members and some patients who are knowledgeable are telling me how much they will miss me and sending me my roses while I am still alive. I appreciate them. I look forward to them. I am blessed to be a person so loved and accepted. I am happy they are allowing me to smell them before I leave — to embrace their compassion before I say “Goodbye.”

It crushes me to shift a routine, to uproot my habitual status, to move with the wind . . . I am happier planted — a tree should be my spirit object.

And as the days continue to dwindle down to the final one, I will continue to acknowledge what I am feeling and why.

Regardless of when happiness or sadness greets me, I will be ready to stare each down fearlessly.


Originally published on Medium.

30 Things My Dog Probably Says About Me Behind My Back

That is, if she could talk.


Jernee: aka, The Boss; aka, J-Nasty; aka, Jern-Jern; aka The Princess; aka, The Little Monster, etc. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

Pet owners: I’m pretty sure you have your very own thirty things and we’d probably swap stories and laugh hysterically about the ways of our non-human friends/family. Feel free to share a few in the comments if you want to.

  1. Human . . . I expect dinner promptly at 5:30 pm, there should be no deviation from this plan.
  2. That place that you go to every day in the morning and come back much later in the day, what shall I call it?
  3. While you were gone, I ate the crumbs on the floor you thought you brushed “off” the counter and into the cleaning cloth.
  4. Remember that one time you asked me if I liked the new grain-free food you bought me?! Do you recall my reaction, how I dove into the bowl as if I’d not eaten before? Well, I faked it.
  5. There’s this thing that rings loudly while you’re away. How can we make that not happen?
  6. Every time Nana visits, she sits in my favorite spot on the couch. I don’t like that.
  7. Why does she have to visit us anyway? Don’t you visit her enough now?
  8. I think you should warn me about bath-time, preferably a week in advance. I need time to evade this entire process.
  9. I’m not religious. You know that, right? God or mercy or hallelujah should never be in our discussions. I’m just sayin’.
  10. What’s this thing about “voting” I keep hearing on the radio? Is this something you’re going to do?
  11. If you are, will they pay you for it? I need more treats. Prioritize. Monetize this vote thing. Treats are important.
  12. Okay. You’ve seen Shrek 378 times already. That’s enough.
  13. The same goes for Finding Nemo.
  14. Auntie hasn’t been here in a while, neither has Nala. Did I do something? Did YOU do something? It’s always you. Yes, let’s go with that. Did you do something, human?
  15. You like to tell me not to drool on the couch, but please recognize how that’s not working out for you. Do I tell you not to drool on your pillows?
  16. Crushed ice is my favorite snack. More crushed ice, please.
  17. It’s been a while since we’ve had a daddy or another mommy around. What’s the holdup, human?
  18. I mean, I’m trying to gather all the attention I can. Are you keeping this from happening?
  19. The Vet . . . That’s one place I’d like not to go to anymore.
  20. If there’s any way we can make that happen, I’ll be happy about it. Tell them I’m good — we shouldn’t have to pay for pre and post-excellence. Let’s face it, I’m both. Save your money.
  21. Think of the treats.
  22. When you say things to me and you think I don’t understand what you’re saying, I’ve news for you, I do. I’m just ignoring you.
  23. Do we have new neighbors? I hear strange noises while you’re away.
  24. What’s with the burning of all the candles? And the sage?
  25. It’s been 5 minutes since you rubbed my belly or scratched behind my ears. Let’s change that.
  26. I’m not eating my food because I noticed yours smells much better.
  27. Yes, that’s right . . . Pick up my poop! Good human.
  28. No, I don’t like this taking pictures of me all the time thing. Stop it.
  29. When you take my collar off, it’s like you’re removing a piece of me. My identity shifts. How’d you like to have your identity shifted?
  30. NO, I WILL NOT STOP BARKING AT THE NEIGHBOR’S DOG! I’M PROTECTING US!

Bonus: I really do love you. That, I’m not faking.


Originally published in P. S. I Love You 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.

This Skin: The Depth of Our Essence

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Art Photo by Jon Tyson via Unsplash

An Audio Poem

I stretch out my hands to my lover,
my life — he lifts his wandering eyes 
up at me, happy to catch my silhouette
still as the nightlife.
This now is a scary place
to be — we linger on each other’s 
tongues, hopeful to create passion
in the pique of all pain.

I know he doesn’t really see me — 
he looks past this skin, calls me
his caramel, hot-mama, Georgia-Peach
elite. I am his Upper Echelon under
the covers, undercover — hidden 
from view. 
We keep secrets nestled in the grooves
of our aging skin, collecting them
as we meet another year.

I tell him I’d live in his curls if I could — 
a universe of wonder for hair.
He smiles. He loves a good
compliment. His full lips
measure the amount of stress 
I’ve stored in my collarbone. 
By his hands, relief appears. 
I pay him in orgasms.

When we go out, our hands 
are at our sides, we stand close
but far — close but away from the 
scent of each other’s breath. 
We feign tolerance of the 
stares that follow us. 
I nod and smile — nod and smile,
keep my composure.

He tells me the people in this 
neighborhood don’t see color and 
I worry even more. How can they
know me if they don’t see me?
I fiddle with my newly broken fingernail
and ignore what he says just 
for a moment.

We pass time by walking two blocks — 
white picket fences fill my eyes.
Election signs for the Elephant 
are markers for miles.
“They don’t see color, huh?”
He is silent. He pulls me closer,
latches on to my hand, and 
quickens his pace.

I keep step — keep time, my swollen
heart beats faster as we exit
this territory.
The depth of our essence — this skin
will not protect us, not even 
from the colorblind.

I lay in his thoughts — stir myself 
deeper as a mixture of lust, love, and
curiosity. He plucks his brain
for a better view of this world.
There is none.

It saddens him to realize this.
I hug him close to me — I knew
what he didn’t. 
I prepared myself for it
before we left the house.


Originally published in The Junction via Medium.