Dr. Tiffany Jana: A Powerful Voice for All People

Dr. Tiffany Jana

I follow her on Medium as well as LinkedIn. I do so because her voice is a powerful one, and she advocates for self-love, self-care, anti-racism, and anti-ableism, among some other important causes near and dear to me.

I am not big on listening to podcasts or watching a large number of TED Talk videos, but I do enjoy her videos and her memoirist-like essays that have been featured all over the internet.

She is a FORCE, y’all. And I am here for it!

The Grieving Room

How many more crosses must we bear?

I don’t have the energy to put into words the sheer destruction taking place before my eyes within the United States of America. SCOTUS, to put it rather frankly, just tap-danced on our hearts. It is undoubtedly clear that women and human beings with reproductive parts do not matter. It is even more clear that People of Color with reproductive parts do not matter. Many have marched decades ago for simple human rights; others have marched more recently and protested and made themselves seen in the face of democracy, however, Roe v. Wade was still overturned.

How did we even get here and how many more crosses must we bear? A co-worker and friend reached out to me yesterday, shortly after I ended a call with one of my patients, to inform me of the news. She said, “I am low in my spirits, Tre. They just overturned Roe v. Wade.” I am unsure where you were when you received the news — how you handled it, but I am an all-feeling person, and I can’t (un)feel something like this. My immediate response to her was, “I could have gone all day without reading this! What next? Soon, we won’t be able to vote or work or make impactful decisions.”

Make no mistake, there will be more. They will come for everything they can get from us until we are dry bones withering in the wind. The patriarchy is out for blood and their incisors are sharp and waiting for their next victims.

Ansley Cole, a college student from Atlanta, said she was “scared because what are they going to come after next? … The next election cycle is going to be brutal, like it’s terrifying. And if they’re going to do this, again, what’s next?” — AP News, June 24, 2022

Reread that quote above. A college student from Atlanta. A college student. A college … Autonomy is being stripped away from generations of women and people with reproductive parts and enforced abortion bans are sliding into several states — as if they were on the back burner just waiting to be moved to the front. Everything is on fire. Everything is burning. No amount of water can extinguish it. You already have our uteruses. What will you come for next, America?!

My heart is aching. My mind is all over the place — unsettled. I have tried to focus on something else this morning, but I just cannot. My brothers do not have to worry about senseless decisions made by vindictive men, but my younger sister does. I am being tasked with the question in my head repeatedly, “Will my brothers fight for me and my sister in the face of tyranny and inequality and our actual rights to own the decisions we make regarding our bodies?” Will they? I hope to God they would.

Whatever your stance, you have the right to your opinion and your beliefs, but once you take away a person’s choice to do what they believe is best for their own bodies and their personal situations, there is no trust. There can be no trust.


A day off to keep an emotional breakdown at bay.

This past Monday, June 20, 2022, I had to call out of work. The night before, I swam in a sea of emotions and battled with myself about my current position and how much the medical field is changing. I dislike calling out from work. It is not something I do often and whenever it has to be done, a huge part of me feels guilty and ashamed that I needed time away.

With therapy, I am working on understanding why I must be a priority. I am learning that a mental health day should be high on my list of things to gift myself, and I should not be penalized for knowing I need one — for acting on it. In the medical field though, and I hate to say this, the patients come first. You are a servant to them and your feelings/mental health status/emotional presence truly does not matter. These things are to be tucked away and presented only when the patient (s) has been taken care of and attended to.

Aside from a few tears shed because I had been overwhelmed the entire weekend, I enjoyed having the day free to gather myself. Out of nowhere, my emotions just took over, and I had to struggle to set my mind, heart, and body right. There were moments throughout the day on Monday when I thought I would sink completely low and not be able to pull myself up again. I made it through, though.

I spent the day cuddling with my dog, reading, writing, and watching the entire first season of God’s Favorite Idiot on Netflix. If you’re looking for a series to bring a bit of light-heartedness and humor into your world right now, I recommend that one. Melissa McCarthy is a comedic genius, and I love her. I needed all the laughs that came from watching the series. I truly did.


“Everything’s going to work out just fine. Don’t worry about it.”

This past Wednesday, my younger cousin sent an audio file (including a picture of me, our cousin Akua (Caison’s mom), and her beautiful mother) to me of Chrissy stating the above quote, along with another. I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve played this recording. The number of times I have cried from hearing her voice — from smiling because I could visually place her facial expression as she said the above, “Everything’s going to work out just fine. Don’t worry about it.”

Truth be known, I am crying my way through this newsletter, but it’s getting done. With all the events taking place in the world — the deaths, decisions that affect millions of people, the gun-slingers who will outright kill you for merely existing, etc., and whatever else is to come, I can only think about this moment and perhaps the next fifteen minutes ahead. Thanks to another cousin of mine, who slipped this quote into my brain, “Take life fifteen minutes at a time,” I am doing just that.

“Everything’s going to work out just fine.” I believe that. “Don’t worry about it.” I’ll try not to.


Grief is a heavy load to lug around.

My therapist said to me this past Thursday, June 23, 2022, “You are on nobody’s timeline. Grief isn’t on a timer that automatically shuts off when it’s done with you. Remember to allow yourself the time you need to feel everything, Tre.”

Grief is heavy. It comes with every ounce it wants to carry along with it, and it drops on you when you least expect it. It is in the air — in the words of someone close to you — spills out of a patient’s mouth when all you wanted to do was schedule them for their procedures. It is everywhere and in everything.

I am learning to adjust to a life that is missing someone who meant more to me than mere words can state. I am learning to endure a life without a gem who could make me smile instantly. I am moving forward with a life that still needs me in it to live it. I want to be known for more than simply surviving. I aim to be known for more than simply surviving.

Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph. — Haile Selassie


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 via The Grieving Room newsletter via LinkedIn.

Universe, Do Your Worst

I promise — I can take it.

Photo by Ernesto D. via Reshot

The workers come. They drill into the concrete in front of my building. I hear them cut through the ground. A drill here, some digging there. They disturb the dog.

She wakes up from a sound sleep, eager to locate the demons responsible for the momentary interruption.

As they carve into the ground below us, I think about you. Are you entertained? Did I make a good first impression? Was I too much — too little? Is my personality what you thought it’d be?

I didn’t have to think about things like this two years ago. The pandemic has me this way. I tell my therapist I am forever changed. She agrees. She says I’m not the only one. I know I’m not.

Universe, do your worst. I promise I can take it. It’s a statement I thought should be on a t-shirt. I’m still here. After all the damage — all the calculated drama — all the premeditated bullshit, I’m still here.

You speak of wanting children — a life with someone who holds his crotch every thirty minutes. I know this isn’t me. I feign not hearing you. I change the subject. We talk about beating the odds as black women, instead.

The workers tag the concrete. A yellow sign issues caution. The newness of their act intrigues me. A small leaf pokes through the wet-work. What does it mean?

The dog falls back to sleep.


Originally published in CRY Magazine via Medium.

Mr. Bradford and His Ox Collection

Flash Fiction

Photo by Samuel Sweet via Pexels

Mr. Bradford, the town farmer, has an ox collection. I mean . . . we call him the town farmer because it sounds a lot better than “The Town Lunatic.” He lives out near the Crescent Mountains on 200 acres of inherited land that he has kept maintained and ran like a tight ship for twenty years. He has a collection of oxen that increases every few months. There are no cows or bulls to be seen — none, only oxen.

Father Tony says he cannot part with any of them, not even as a source of sustenance or profit. He is attached — connected deeply to each of them and with time, this fascinating truth only gets weirder.

My name’s Toby Clemmons. I live five miles away from Mr. Bradford. My family’s his closest neighbors. Me and my best friend, Buddy Newsom, have walked his land in secret every other Saturday for the last three years. He’s got corn stalks, fields of wheat grain, collard greens, cucumbers, cabbage, and squash. Oh and his oxen. No chickens. No hogs or pigs. No horses.

My nana says he had his manhood stripped away from him when he was in his teens — something about being a sex-addicted fiend who couldn’t keep his third leg in his pants.

Me and Buddy were sitting on my porch one Thursday after school and she had been rocking back and forth in her rocker, smoking on that stinking pipe of hers when suddenly she struck up a conversation with us. “Old Man Bradford had his pecker tweaked and boys snipped when he was a young’un. He had a hard time learnin’ to be decent. He’d often run around town naked threatenin’ to stick that penciled thing in any of the town girls.”

I looked at Buddy. He looked at me. We looked at my nana. “Say what now, Nana?!” She patted the arm of the rocker, tapped the booty of the pipe, and stuck the tail back into her mouth. Mini smoke plumes circled around us as we sat with our mouths completely open. “The Griffith brothers got’im. They’d heard what he’d been doin’ — caught wind of it through Father Tony’s sister Cindy and her friend Maggie. They attacked Old Man Bradford one night when he’d been headin’ home. That ain’t a way to lose what God gave ya — no sleepin’ med’cin or anything like that. Castrated and left to bleed in the middle of Bennyhill Road, holdin’ what he ain’t even had no more.”

As you can probably imagine, me and Buddy probed her to go on for this was a story we hadn’t heard and I was almost positive my folks weren’t going to tell me anything like this. So, me and Buddy sat there hellbent on listening to Nana. “Sheriff Yates and his deputies went searchin’ for the Griffith boys that night, couldn’t find’em. Some say they took the next train to Norfolk. Others say some no-gooder named Tommy Stacks loaded’em all up in his Cadillac and drove four towns over. I don’t know which story to believe, but if you ask me, Bradford’s been a whole lot calmer since he lost his manhood.”

I know what you’re thinking. Maybe he collects oxen because they too have been stripped of what many believe makes a male, a male. I would agree with you. But my best pal Buddy put a bug in my ear that made me see things differently. “Them oxen ain’t judgin’ him, Toby. He can load’em all up, care for them the way he knows how — run on empty or be as off as the day is long, and guess what?! They ain’t gonna say a thing. They’re just gonna go about their days grazin’ on grass, shittin’ all over the fields, and being right there for Mr. Bradford when he needs them.”

The day Buddy told me this, I began seeing Mr. Bradford in a different light. To many in the town, he had been a man who had several screws loose — one who, if we had the courage to actually say the word “rapist,” would, in fact, be that word — an outcast, cast out, who would never be allowed back in. I opened my eyes and I see a man who never learned what respect is — how to give it or how to receive it. He never learned there is a time and a place for everything. He had no other way of expressing himself.


Me and Buddy were taking the back roads to get to Mr. Bradford’s fields when we spotted Father Tony. I decided to pick Father Tony’s brain. He was, after all, Mr. Bradford’s only friend.

“Father Tony! Hey! Father Tony! Can we ask you something?”

“Sure. What about?”

“My nana says Mr. Bradford lost his manhood when he was a boy to the Griffith brothers after he’d been trying to mess around with some girls in town. Is this true? Is this how he lost his mind?”

“Your nana said what, Toby?! Have mercy. Listen to me and listen to me good, boys. Daniel Bradford fought in ‘Nam and came home to his father’s death. Two years after that, his mother died too. No siblings. No cousins. No family. That farm you see him working on all the time was his father’s great-grandfather’s farm. His mind ain’t been the same since he came back from the war. As for his manhood — he attempted to court Lily Fleming one night at Vee’s Diner and she declined his invite loudly on a Friday night when the place was packed. He came home that very night, chopped off his frank and beans, and nearly bled to death.”

“Jesus Christ, Father Tony!”

“Don’t take the Lord’s name in vain, boy. You heard me right. I’d been sitting up in my room feeling kind of down and something kept punching me in the gut. Something that said, “Get on over to Daniel’s place now.” So I hopped in my cruiser, sped through the back roads, and got to the farm just in time.”

Buddy looked over at me and shook his head. We didn’t know which story to believe now. Both stories could be movie thrillers, but this was Father Tony and my nana probably hadn’t taken her pills the day she fed me and Buddy that mess about Mr. Bradford.

“So, that’s what really happened?”

“That’s what happened, boys.”

“So, why doesn’t he talk? Can he talk? He always stares blankly with that boring smile on his face and waves flimsily at us.”

Father Tony shook his head and let out a loud sigh of disbelief. I don’t know if he couldn’t believe we asked this question or he couldn’t believe he was being asked to answer it, but all the same . . .

“I didn’t get there in time to stop that part. He’d managed to cut half of his tongue out too. Said it’d prevent him from ever asking another woman out. This, he had to write out during the police report and hospital intake.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. This man . . . This man really didn’t have anyone but those oxen of his. Well and Father Tony. I didn’t know it at the time, but Buddy slapped me on the back and said, “Toby! Man, you’re crying. You all right?!” I was all right, but I wasn’t.

That night, I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned and sweated through the sheets. I went downstairs for a drink of milk and Nana was sitting at the table in the dark, smoking on that stinking pipe. She looked up at me and smiled a sly smile. It was then I realized Nana’s maiden name was “Fleming”. I’d never called her “Lily,” only “Nana.”

“A damn shame, ain’t it?”

And that’s all she said.


Originally published in The Weekly Knob via Medium.

10 Reasons Why I’m Not Giving Up on Myself

#4. I am a dreamer but I believe in miracles


Musical Selection: Alicia Keys & Khalid|So Done


These past few months, I have been dealing with my share of emotions springing forth unannounced and on most days, I am left feeling as though my tank is empty. I have to keep it full — fueled to its maximum capacity, so to speak, but it is hard.

This isn’t to say that I am not trying, I am. There are days harder than most and I find myself pulling strength and perseverance from the depths of my soul just to stay afloat. I am swimming. The pace at which I’m stroking in these tumultuous seas is a rapid one, but I refuse to drown.

Recently, I’ve lacked confidence, been incredibly hard on myself about little things, snapped at those I love, lost a few loved ones to a deadly virus, beaten myself up about my looks, weight, & overall personality, and cut ties with a few loved ones.

Let’s just say I haven’t been “living my best life,” and I am almost positive many of you reading this very article are probably feeling the same.

On my bad days, I feel hollow, as if I’m waiting to be carved and put on display for judging eyes and willful lips. I have to remind myself that I am a force and although my current demeanor isn’t one of which I’m familiar, I’m still in this skin struggling to break free.

Here are a few reasons why I’m not giving up on myself.


  1. I have a badass group of supportive people in my life. They keep me grounded, make me laugh, remind me of my best qualities, and share in my pain. They lift me up when I’m feeling down and aren’t afraid to pull me out of the dumps when I’ve dived in head-first. These are solid relationships — all have stood the tests of time. I can count on these people and for this, I’m grateful.

  2. There’s beauty all around me. I don’t have to go far to see the wonders of this world. A purple hue behind the clouds greets me in the morning. The sky is a set of open arms begging me to capture it. Trees speak in tongues and their leaves are the mothers of nature’s church. Birds sing glorious songs and the sun rises in a timely manner. I can look out my window and be reminded of all that’s beautiful in this world in an instant — that’s enough.

  3. I make people smile. My days aren’t all bad at work. I have so many patients who I make smile and bring joy to. They shower me with gifts and no matter how many times I attempt to reject them, they find a way to push through and give a little bit of their hearts to me. It’s breathtaking. Stop and smell the roses given to you while you still can.

  4. I am a dreamer but I believe in miracles. If allowed, I’d live in my dreams. You’d find me there doing what I love most at all times, away from anything that causes pain. But I can’t stay there. I know the importance of being in the now and trusting my faith. I believe. Wholeheartedly, I believe.

  5. I am keeping my close friends closer. They know me. They love me. They aren’t trying to change me. I can depend on them for listening ears and moments of their time. I don’t have to purchase or lease it. They’re readily available. They don’t make excuses and I don’t overwhelm them. They want to love me and they do.

  6. I don’t want anyone in my life who doesn’t wish to be here. I have toyed with the idea of making new friends, but people are WORK and currently, I don’t have the patience to deal with the extracurricular activity of bobbing and weaving through the hoops of people who want to be in my life one day, gone the next, then reappear as if nothing occurred. I am worth more than blinks and twitches. I know this. I embrace this. I want nothing less.

  7. I am a ball of energy who gets weak sometimes. But that doesn’t mean I am not strong. I can stand my ground and if necessary, I do. If I fall, I lift myself up and try again. A few scraped knees won’t stop me. I’ve had things break before and I’ve healed. I always heal.

  8. I am writing my way through the pain. The worst thing someone has said to me about my way of loving was, “I don’t need the way you love. I don’t want it.” And as much as they hurt or cut me deeply with that comment, I had to hear that. It enabled me to assess who I am in intimate relationships. I had been applying the same method of loving to everyone and people are different. It also made me realize that some people are just assholes too. I know which is which and now, I plan accordingly.

  9. When all else fails, enjoy the sunshine. Really, this has helped me more than I can express. There’s living in the rays of the sun. I try to get “outside time” daily.

  10. Every day, I am growing. I am not perfect and neither are you. I love who I am. I love who I am becoming. The work in changing is hard, but it is beneficial. I have value and I add value to the lives of those I love. I remind myself to remember this.

I look forward to the day when I can sit back and point out this moment in time where my struggles propelled me to change — where they caused me to do deeply-rooted work within me, and when I finally allowed myself to feel and believe I am not alone in growing and batting down the negative pangs of life.

If you feel the walls closing in on you as you endure these hectic times we are all trying to move through, I’d recommend changing your view of you. What motivates you? What keeps you happy? What do you like most about yourself? What do others love most about you? Take some time to remember you are a human being and life can be a bitch-slap out of nowhere. Be good to yourself. Be gentle to yourself. Be kind to yourself. There’s only one you.

I’ve made it to the point in my life where I stand firm on the following: I am not giving up on myself. I am worth the work, damn it!

And from me to you, you are too.


Originally published in P. S. I Love You via Medium.