Inflation: Prices Are Increasing From Gas to Groceries but My Income is the Same

Pandemic surging prices are hitting my pockets and everyone else’s, too.

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Photo by Tatiana Maramygina via Redshot

As we slowly climb out of the depths of over sixteen months of this pandemic, one cannot turn their cheek to the soaring prices. Everything from gas to groceries to plane tickets has sky-rocketed in pricing when compared to several months prior. I have noticed the steady increase just over two weeks ago, but it first struck me as insane when I went to have some additional work to my car at my mechanic’s shop and had been informed that my previous quote for a 4-tire balance of $39.99 had risen to $95.99.

Luckily for me, I had my estimate from the week before when I took my car in for an oil change with their quoted price of $39.99. I pulled out my estimate which was initialed and dated by me and handed it to the representative. She consulted with the store manager and charged me what my quote listed, regardless of their recent price hike. So, they lost over $60.00 in this case.

Many tire shops offer free balancing as part of tire packages that are purchased from them, but you’ll have to pay for it in other cases. On average, plan to spend between $15 and $75, depending on your vehicle, the tires, and the shop. — Chris Teague, The Drive

In just one week, the store manager stated the prices of the following had increased; oil changes, labor, tire balancing, and basic maintenance for one’s vehicle. I was not the only person hit with a surprise when I walked through the door — he said. Even he could not prepare himself for what occurred while he was away on vacation.

Imagine returning to the store you manage and bombarded with several recent changes, especially to the pricing of which you’ve been familiar for years and those have changed — drastically.

Money doesn’t grow on trees.

When I purchased, and I counted, twenty-seven items from my community Walmart in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, this past Friday, I was greeted with a price tag of $78.22. Just three weeks ago, many of the same items in my cart, save a knick-knack or two, cost me $66.58. Now, you may think an increase of just under twelve dollars isn’t much, but couple that with the steady rise in gas prices, at local eateries, in various other grocery stores, and in apartment/housing markets, and one could end up in the poor-house before an eyelash bats.

As I stated, I am not the only one affected by inflation, everyone is. Based on information reported by Emma Withrow with WNCT9 in Charlotte, The Labor Department states the current prices are the highest tallied since August 2008.

A recent rise in inflation hit everyday Americans where it hurts most, the pocketbook. Some economists are saying it’s temporary, others are saying it’s a big threat, but people everywhere are being affected regardless of how long it might last. — Emma Withrow, WNCT9, Charlotte

Farmers and those working in agriculture have been hit with heavy increases in pricing as it pertains to their specialty and they can dish out a few more cents here and there, but eventually, we will have to take on the brunt of those costs and we already have.

“When you go to increase in the cost of a dozen eggs to produce by 10, 15, 20 cents, you can pretty much eliminate the profits out of it really quickly,” Simpson explained, “We can’t take it forever. We’ll take it here for a little while. But sooner or later, it’s gonna have to trickle down to the consumer.” — Alex Simpson, Simpson’s Eggs, courtesy of WNCT9, Charlotte

Several restaurants are dealing with price hikes as well and they’re not fairing well from it — which means, we see the additional cost to us as the consumer when popping in to pick up our favorite lunch or swinging by to retrieve our family’s evening dinner.

The price index is up by 5.4 percent . . . Experts blame inflated prices on high demand due to the pandemic. They expect inflation pressures to ease with time. — Colette Stein, WXII12, Winston-Salem

How long will this last is the question? As it stands, no one is truly sure.

Getting by because I have to.

With prices increasing for everything I purchase, there’s only one thing that has not increased — my income. Recently, I lost my secondary income with a part-time editing and publishing job and I am steadily looking into replacing that supplemental funding. I have been working full time with my “main” job for three years and within this current department for eight months.

From last November up to now, there has been no change in my income at my primary job. I am hopeful this will prove well in a few more months when I am due for my yearly evaluation. But until that time, my pockets are taking a hit from this most recent inflation and I fear this will not end soon.

I am searching for a new place to live and currently have three property tours set up for next Saturday, July 31, 2021. Upon researching apartment homes/condos/townhouses for rent in Winston-Salem, NC, and a few surrounding towns/cities, I have noticed an increase within this market as well. I could only shake my head and sigh heavily.

Money really makes the world go ‘round.


Originally published via NewsBreak.

I Am Afraid of the New Dating World and Think I’ll Pass for Now

Even if summer’s on the way, I’m still not ready

Photo by cottonbro via Unsplash

Nowadays if you’re not on one of the following dating apps; Tinder, eHarmony, Match, or Hinge (just to name a few), chances are, you’re still clinging to the traditional way of dating just as I am or I’d like to be. I did not have many miles behind me regarding the traditional way of dating prior to the Coronavirus, COVID-19 — it was the method with which I was most familiar.

If I wanted to, I could go to my local coffee shop, set up my mini workstation, order my favorite blend, and subtly eye God’s gifts that walked through the doors of the venue.

If I made eye contact with a woman or a man who sparked my interest, a small conversation would start and the two of us would simply enjoy one another’s company as we sipped our brews and meshed with our surrounding environment. If the connection was intense enough, we would exchange numbers. If not, of course, we parted ways. No harm. No foul. We were adults and acted accordingly (thankfully).

Today, I feel the stress and overwhelming disdain within me that comes with the idea of even signing on to a dating app to get back out into the not-yet-virus-free world. I could do it that way but I’d still have to meet up with the person after getting to know them online, shoot the shit, and hope the connection is as decent a connection in person as it potentially was online, eventually.

I’m a cut out the middleman kind of person, so . . .


I’d like to trust you, but I don’t.

With summer right around the corner, I would rather visit the various places I used to frequent during the pre-COVID-19 days, however, I don’t trust the people out and about mask-less since the CDC’s most recent update to their guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals.

If I have to go to the store (Instacart has become my best friend), I wear my mask, rush in, get what I need, keep my distance from others, and get out. And I’m a fully vaccinated healthcare worker who now works from home.

There is still a substantial amount of fear dwelling inside me as it pertains to this virus. When one has faced what I have dealt with (prior to my transfer to my current position) — fear is probably not going to subside soon.

Screening patients for COVID-19 symptoms and frequently coming in contact with patients who were positive was enough to keep me aware of the severity of thousands of cases and the seriousness of this pandemic.

Eager to start but afraid to begin.

I would like to get back to the life I had, but I also don’t want to rush into anything stupidly or hurriedly without weighing all safety options. What scares me the most is befriending a person who is not honest about his or her practices and precautions. Are they really fully vaccinated if they say so? Do they keep their visitations to and with others to a minimum? Are they cautious about who they allow in their home? How are their cleanliness and hygiene?

I don’t want to become that person who asks you to show me your COVID-19 vaccination card as proof . . . but . . .

I am not jaded. I would not find it fair for me to hit up my favorite spots or find new ones with this fear still lingering as deeply as it is. I would not want to subject anyone to the possibility of an early dismissal without a proper chance at developing something from nothing.

Kicking digital game isn’t my thing.

The horror stories I’ve heard from many of my friends about this new dating world via the world wide web are enough to keep me single and celibate forever — summer, be damned . . . Constant ghosting. Swiping left or right. Matching only to be swiftly unmatched. Breadcrumbing. Stonewalling. And the list goes on.

Is this what we’re now facing if we somewhat wish to give dating a try again? Impatience and the ever-changing world of I want what I want and if you aren’t it, I won’t stick around to grow with you? “Lies you tell.” — Tamar Braxton

When I was in my mid-twenties, I had signed up for one of the dating sites that had been popular around that time. I want to say it was Match, but I can’t be certain.

Met a guy. We hit it off. Things were good for about four months and then . . . things started taking a more serious turn, and he did not want that. I’m sure it doesn’t need stating that we moved on from one another. It was for the best. I’ve had a few summer and autumn flings here and there — with a few of those individuals scooped up from a couple online platforms I frequented. That’s as close as I have gotten to “online dating” since the previously mentioned guy.

It isn’t my comfort zone.

Summer is right around the corner. Should I come out of my shell?

I have a burning feeling welled up in me to stick my big toe in the water (so to speak), but I also know I’ll probably tip-toe to the water, overanalyze it, hesitate, and cringe instead of attempting to become one with what used to be familiar to me. I’ve seen so many people crowded together poolside, hosting barbecues and family functions, and jet setting without a care in the world, and although it is rather appealing, I can’t move . . .

I want to, I just can’t.

And this tells me I still have much work to do within myself and about this pandemic before I am ready to see what the new dating world has to offer. People can be more work than I am cut out to put in and well . . . I’ve been single for a long time, I’m in no rush.

But what will the dating world be like when I’ve finally given fear a run for its money?

I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.


Originally published in Prism & Pen via Medium.

I Mother No One

Part VI: Realizing my mothering days will never be over

Jernee aka The Boss, aka The Little Monster, resting after a mid-afternoon walk. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

My mother came to stay with me from April 20, 2021, until April 24, 2021. The intent? To be here with me after my consultation and workup for keratoconus on April 22, 2021. I had been informed prior to the appointment by the nurse that I could have blurry vision for a few hours. My mother thought it best to be here so she could help with Jernee. I will preface this by saying, I am not used to having someone in my space for more than three days (or needing assistance or reaching out for it) and each time my mom stays with us past that mark (it’s not often — it’s quite rare), I am further reminded of why I left home at such a young age.

To say that we are vastly different would not cut it. I am daytime and my mother is nightfall. We are at two different ends of a spectrum yet — the love we have for each other knows no bounds. As I age, I thank God for lending me another year so I can continue to try to understand the woman who gave birth to me.

Will I ever succeed in this? Or, will I die trying?

I want to be optimistic about who we are and the fact that we still have growing to do and we will accomplish that together but an aching nag in the back of my mind tries to subdue me and cause me to believe it is impossible.

I can see a picture of us with growth behind us that leads to a positive outcome years from now, but I can also see a picture of the opposite. Which one will prevail?


Those days spent with my mother a couple weeks ago, ushering in earlier dinner times and trying to be patient with her long, drawn-out stories and rehashing of things said earlier in the day could not end soon enough. My mother will be sixty years old this year and there are already signs of her mental faculties closing in on her. When I was in my teens, she spent most of her money and time depositing various drugs into her system including copious amounts of alcohol.

She had been running away from who she was for several years and now it seems as if she is circling back to that past person sans drugs, of course. Her temperament is easily disrupted. A word that is spoken out of turn or in reference to something she may have said that was incorrect will send harmful epithets flying in the very direction of those she loves.

We have many conversations about her failing memory and how if I truly needed someone to take care of me should an extreme turn of events occur, she may in fact not be that person. I do not feel confident lending my life to her — not in that way and it pains me to say so — to even see the words typed on-screen, causes me to tear up.


What do you do when you’ve mothered a mother who was a mother before her time and you may have to keep mothering her well before you think it’s time?

At the age of eighteen, motherhood was thrust upon her and although she used to tell me she was ready, she truly wasn’t. Neither of my parents was. The two of them have my great-grandmothers, grandmother, godmother, and older aunts to thank for helping them raise me. And with this, what did they get? A little girl who was mature enough to handle certain situations they could have never thought of handling while they were growing up. I also had the label “grown” thrown at me more times than I care to remember.

To grow alongside one’s parents is an odd thing. My mother was my mother but felt more like a friend. My father was my father but felt more like the homeboy up the block I played basketball with to sharpen my skills. We were all growing up together but I was being groomed, it seemed, to be more of an adult than them.

And when their divorce happened, so did the crash into drugs for my mother and my taking over her mothering role, and it kind of stuck. So, instead of being an actual sister to my siblings, I am more of a godmother or a mother or a being they show far more respect to than they do their own parents. It doesn’t feel good — it isn’t something for which I applaud them. I am rather upfront about how I feel they should treat our parents.

I don’t like the angered human being who spews out never-ending wrath because of trapped pain or perhaps the fear of aging or perhaps the fear of losing a handle on her children even more? I believe my mother felt useful being here with me during those few days but swiftly noticed that I was still as independent as I have always been.

So, where did that place her? How could she try to insert her mother role if there were no more opportunities?


The Boss, posing at the perfect moment. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

In walks Jernee . . . the nine-pounder who has truly stolen my mother’s heart. I enjoyed every moment (as I always do) watching my mother and my dog interact. Jernee has a favorite spot whenever my mother visits or when we visit my mother and that’s as close to her nana as she can get. My mother is calm with her, undeniably sweet, and rubs or pats her tummy or back until Jernee falls asleep.

She is cautious in how she prepares her food and is rather vocal to anyone who thinks Jernee can have every treat there is under the sun (she can’t, she has various allergies and I am serious about not having her hospitalized again for hemorrhagic gastroenteritis). She will let you know in a way in which you will not forget that Jernee “cannot have that. Thank you, but no thank you.”

She loves on her with genuine sincerity and this touches me at the very center of who I am and I cannot help but appreciate the love she pours into this pet who means so much to me.

Not a grandmother (my nieces and nephews are my dad’s grandchildren), my mom shows me the mothering qualities she has stored up over the years in hopes of using once again, are carefully being issued to her “granddog.”

It is in her voice — in the way she lures Jernee to her. It is in the way she takes her time with Jernee who now, sometimes struggles to see late at night. It is also in the way she disciplines me for attempting to demand something of Jernee.

I look at the two of them together and there is no doubt in my mind that my mom is mothering the way she has always wanted to. And all it took was a connection to my dog who has really become “our family’s dog” since I introduced them to one another thirteen years ago.


We may not be the best mother-daughter team but we know our flaws and we’re willing to continue to work on them and get better at being open to the changes occurring. We will forever be works in progress but we have come so far and the war still rages.

Both of us are warriors, ready for battle — ready to keep each other first, no matter the cost. I realize now — I’ll always mother someone for it is deeply ingrained in who I am. And perhaps my mother will no doubt use her newfound mothering skills to press forward into the coming years sharpening those skills.

Maybe with her human grandchildren, if two of my brothers decide to actually make that dream a reality. I can almost smell the love in the air.

I think we’re ready.


To those of you mothering mothers who have lost their way, mothers who cannot remember their roles, or mothers who look up to you more than you can fathom, this is for you. Mothers and mothering people giving your all to your children or someone else’s, thank you. Happy Mother’s Day.


Previous parts to I Mother No One

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

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.