Young Minds of Medium

What are you looking forward to in the year 2021?

This is a call for submissions and your fourth and final challenge of this year. Young Minds of Medium — this is it! I am looking for work from the young writers here on Medium, ages 18–25. Submissions will be reviewed and posted on Mondays and Fridays beginning with a publishing date of Friday, November 13, 2020. I want to hear from you. I want to feel, connect with, and fall in love with the words you would like to share with the world.

Your theme: What are you looking forward to in the year 2021?

What am I asking?

What do you wish for the most in the coming year? What would you like to see more of throughout the year? How do you see yourself growing in your writing or other creative works for the year 2021? If you’re tired of the Coronavirus and want to see that eradicated — let’s hear about it. Tell me what you are looking forward to next year. I want to hear about it and I am sure others do too.

I am looking for:

Poetry
Micropoetry
Fiction (no more than 1200 words)
Non-fiction (no more than 1200 words)
And, your heart. ❤


•You will need to be a current user on Medium for this challenge. Request to be added as a writer by emailing me at acorneredgurl[at]gmail[dot]com with Please Add Me” as the subject line/title. In the body of the email, please include a link to your Medium profile. For the young ones already contributing to ACG, please submit your work in draft-form directly to A Cornered Gurl for review, scheduling, and/or publishing. You can submit twice per week, your works will be published on Monday and Friday of that week.

Please have a suitable image for your work with notable credit to its source/artist (Please include the link!). You can find plenty of great images via Unsplash, Pixabay, and Pexels. If you are the source for your image, please caption that.

Please subtitle your entries “Young Minds of Medium 2021 Hopes & Dreams” and tag your pieces with the following: “Growth” & “New Year.” CHALLENGE SUBMISSION BEGINS NOW!

The start date for publishing the YMOM pieces is Friday, November 13, 2020, and the end date is Monday, November 30, 2020. Other contributors to ACG, please, no worries. You can submit as you normally would to A Cornered Gurl and your work will be published as well, however, a total of six pieces will be published on Mondays and Fridays for all other writers, leaving the floor wide open for our young ones. I hope you will understand and accept this.


*Please remember that A Cornered Gurl is a read-for-all community and there will be no metered paywall or locked pieces published here.

Thank you.


A Cornered Gurl Submission Guidelines

Originally published via A Cornered Gurl on 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.

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

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

Image for post
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.

To My Unborn Daughter: You Would Have Hated it Here

I’m relieved I missed my chance at having you

Today I thought about your dimpled cheeks, the swollen paunch of a full belly from too much milk, and the midnight coos that morph into wailing demands to be held. I yearn for you sometimes. This . . . this right now moment, is one of those times.

I want to hold you, to feel your tiny fingers sweep over my eyelids, and search for the peace that lives just behind my eyes. I carry you in my dreams — to term — you are brought into this world smiling instead of crying.

“Such a happy baby. It’s a girl!” The doctor shouts. His nursing team whisks you away in the middle of my trying to digest I managed to bring another Black girl into a world that hates her before it even knows her.

I hear hurried voices stretched to their highest octaves as they seek out your weight. You are tossed and turned under luminescence and bound in cloths, swaddled to perfection. They lay you over my lactating breasts.

I am expected to feed you, to pour sustenance into your minutes-old body from a worn-out one and as hard as I try, I cannot.

I wake up from this dream. I lift my shaking body from my bed. I pat my way to the bathroom in the pitch darkness of my room. I find solace in a place that echoes and I cry. I leave my memories of you there.

To my unborn daughter: I am glad you are not here to see the shrinking in parts of this world — to feel constant pain when you don’t want to. I am relieved I did not lay claim to terror for you; an inheritance of depression — a gift you shouldn’t have to unwrap. I know you wouldn’t have liked it here. In fact, you would have hated it.

And I would layer myself in guilt.

Why would I give you red-inked skies, viruses that mutate into unstoppable killers, bigotry at every corner of the world, and poverty nestled under the beds of Have-not families waiting for their moments to have? I knew better. I know better.

But, I still want you.

I am not strong enough to settle into the reality of what this world would have done to you. I am not brave enough to say, “I did it! I gave birth during a pandemic!” or “I’m raising my child in the middle of the apocalypse!” I would steep in blame — fully saturated; bitter to the taste. No one would want me then.

So, did I do this for you or for me? I had a choice. I could have taken the chance of getting pregnant and not succeeding, at least, not naturally or I could have allowed fate to bring you here through tools of misuse sharper than the Devil’s tongue.

They said my body would fight me and I believed them.

It is normal for me to harbor some form of regret — natural to be reflective, but I will admit, I feel this deeply: I did what I thought I needed to and I ignored all urges to try for you. I ignored giving you a chance at life and seeing what my body could really do.

But when I watch the screaming mothers of murdered boys, men, women — all of them wrapped in our skin or hear the violent cries of sisters and brothers demanding justice or smell the lies that drip from the slits of our leaders’ mouths or learn of those believing a price is sufficient for a life, I am thankful I was too scared to take a chance on you.

You deserve better, much better. And this place . . . this world I call home would wolf you down in its fanged mouth and tear your flesh from your bones in five bites. Morsel-of-a-human-little thing: you’d be the perfect dinner. No one’s serving you up on a platter. No one.

My beautiful, unborn daughter. I love you and I am sorry I was too afraid to try.

But you would have hated it here. This, I know.


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

My Body: The Temple I’m Afraid to Touch

Beginning a journey with my hands

Photo by nappy via Pexels

In the past, I had been one with my body — I connected with it intimately in a way many others could not. I knew the softest spots, the places that led me to a peaceful night’s sleep, and the best way to cure unwanted fidgeting. I never feared what moved me — invigorated me — consumed me entirely. My body was a place that knew my touch — it knew what to expect from me. Of late, I have lost my way to the path of me and the treasure is nowhere in sight.

Can I get back to that place?

I’m sure I can, but I lack motivation. I don’t have the time. I’m not interested. My body is now the temple I’m afraid to touch and during a global pandemic, one in which being single is still my reality, touching myself should be high on the list of to-dos. It is not.

How can I get back to that place of consistent pleasure and the relief of tension courtesy of me?

Rachel Otis explains in her article, 3 Ways to Support Your Mental Health with Self-Touch:

Often a sense of release and even relaxation arises when we intentionally tend to our discomfort, even with the simplest gestures.

I hope it is obvious, the focus here is on non-sexual self-touch as opposed to sexual self-touch. A soft caress of one’s neck, a gentle massage of your legs, or even the smooth press of your palm can send small doses of healing to problematic areas of the body — relieving tension and pain. She further explains:

Self-massage can be a powerful way to release tension. After noticing tension in the body, I often direct my clients to use self-massage.

I used to be big on managing the pain in my body with self-touch. I focused on it significantly after a rough day by providing peace and comfort with a warm bath and gentle massages to different body parts while I soaked my cares away.

Now, I sprint home from work, walk my dog, hop in the shower, and do more work — work that stimulates the mind, but does nothing for my body. And then my day ends.

I feel myself fading into black.

What I can sense happening is a fear hovering over me as I’ve forgotten how to gain a sense of comfort by my own hands.

Are you familiar with the saying, “Use it or lose it?” Well, I feel as though my it is lost. I want to fight to get it back, but I lack the energy. I lack passion. The daily grind of my primary job is draining me of everything familiar that required a little more of my time and I am reluctant to divvy out any more of it to something as simple as touch.

Touch is our first language. Long before we can see an image, smell an odor, taste a flavor, or hear a sound, we experience others and ourselves through touch, our only reciprocal sense. — Ofer Zur, Ph.D. & Nola Nordmarken, MFT, To Touch or Not to Touch.

It is clear I miss the touch from another human being and I recognize and understand its power, however; I can provide what I miss most. Where, when, and how I will do this still hangs in the balance. I want to center the importance of rekindling my connection with self-touch around positive occurrences, but those are hard to find now. I have a myriad of stressful events taking place in my life, but I do not want to only turn to self-touch when my life is in total disarray. I want it to be neutral — to use it overall and indefinitely.

Beginning again is only an act of consent (on my part) away. If I am to build a positive relationship with my self and my body in the near future, I must not be afraid to get started. You may think, “What are you waiting for?” and you’d be well within your right to pose that question and I’d say, “I don’t know . . . Maybe a head-start?”

There’s no need of waiting any longer. I will get back to touching myself.

It’s time I give my body the gift it has been missing — my hands.


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

 

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