The Building Blocks of Me

Supriya Bhonsle via Mixkit.co

Stepping Out of Fear’s Shadow

The crows caw and squawk outside my window. It’s a beautiful, sunny Sunday morning and Jernee and Nala are quiet. They are resting while I work. The weekends are designated days for in-depth writing, reading, listening to music, soul-searching, and growth. I am learning how to shed old skin and create positive energy spaces for myself once again. I lost the sense of me a long time ago. I allowed fear, rejection, one-sided relationships, and false senses of love to rule over me. In the throes of sadness and pain, we can become fickle beings, even more than we already are.

I am learning how to shed old skin and create positive energy spaces for myself once again.

Opportunities are presenting themselves and instead of swatting at them because I do not know what agreeing to them will bring, I am saying, “Yes!” to open doors and walking through them. I always sit with something new for assessment purposes — to understand and research it thoroughly before committing. Quick decision-making can go two ways: good or bad. I’d like to aim for more good outcomes than bad and I have done this for the most part.

I am setting up my life as I would building blocks. Every new aspect, change, or decision is becoming a tool for growth and my future. I have goals set and many of them, I am planning to accomplish before the end of 2020. I have curbed my spending, devoted more time to reading and writing, and focused on building a brand. If I do not get a headstart on my future now, I may never do so. Once time has passed you by, it doesn’t circle back around to collect you on the rebound — it is ready, even if you are not.

The crows squawk again. There are five of them. One seems to lead the others into a cawing fest as I attempt to drown them out. Nature will not step aside because you need silence. The wind does not know its whistle disrupts your thinking process. The rain has no forethought of your plans to pen three articles before dinnertime. It is up to you to stay focused and get the work done.

I am my own pep squad.

While alone at home, I have to take mini breaks for moments of encouragement. If I do not do this, the work suffers. And at this point in my life, I cannot let the work suffer. When I think about the possibility of shifting from 40-hour weeks to 30-hour weeks, maintaining a strong writing base, and studying methods to enhance and hone my craft, there is no time for suffering. I sing to myself. I say delightful phrases and aphorisms. I make myself believe that everything I envision, along with prayer and patience, will manifest itself into being. I am my own pep squad and I cheer myself on wholeheartedly.

Support: It drives me.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines support as follows: the act or process of supporting: the condition of being supported. (n)

I know how important support is: familial, by way of readers, and friend-based. I have grown from it. I appreciate it. It is what keeps me going on my worst days. If it were not for support, I could not be a writer. What I have gained in the sense of love, understanding, kindness, and acceptance, has come in vast amounts from support. From the day I began putting my work online until now, I have needed support and I have gotten it.

I sing to myself. I say delightful phrases and aphorisms. I make myself believe that everything I envision, along with prayer and patience, will manifest itself into being.


I am stepping out of fear’s shadow. I made the decision a few weeks ago and since then, even though my limbs shake and my stomach gets queasy, I press forward. I want to know what I can do — what I will allow myself to do if I remove myself from the harmful grip of fear. Some fear is good. It can be a reminder. There are things in life that require you to be fearful of them so you will not bring harm to yourself or others. I am mindful of this type of fear. It keeps me safe. It keeps my loved ones safe too.

“Fear is a feeling that is internal and is conscience.” — Dr. Mary D. Moller

“It arises when sensory systems in the brain have determined an external stimulus poses a threat. Outputs of threat detection circuits trigger a general increase in brain arousal and can result in altered threat processing: fear and anxiety disorders.” — Jaime Rosenberg

The fear I speak of is that clutching fear that barks at you to not do something because it’s bigger than you — to step back and away from infinite possibilities. It cripples you, stirs up anxiety, and causes your body to shift and change along with this emotion. This fear will not have my attention anymore. I am setting boundaries and it is not welcome. Am I frightened? Hell yes! But I will not remain in that mode. If I cannot move past the scary bits in life, how will I ever know what can be?

With each passing day, I urge myself to do something a bit more difficult than the previous one and for me, this is a massive accomplishment. I am taking a personal stand against what fear has done to me and what I have allowed it to do. Reprogramming my brain regarding this emotion will take time, but I refuse to sit back and continue to do nothing. There is a life that I envision waiting for me and I intend to experience it.

I am taking a personal stand against what fear has done to me and what I have allowed it to do.

These are the building blocks of me and with every step, I am changing.


Originally published via Medium. The link shared is a friend link as this an article behind Medium’s paywall. This article is also curated by Medium Editors and featured in the “Self” content tab for Medium.

I Will Not Chase You

Sébastien Conejo via Mixkit.co

You Are Free To Run Away

Communication . . . The human brain often relies on this form of connectivity — developing a bond through talking, hopefully, to better understand our loved ones and the people we meet. But how can we further strengthen a bond when we encounter someone who fails to communicate to us their need to leave, exit, and do away with us as their loved one?

Some people are quite savvy at discarding people like garbage. I have never been a ghoster. It really isn’t in me to just stop speaking to someone without learning, feeling, or realizing that this is perhaps what they want. If you are in tune with the air and space around you, moments of peace offer sound revelations. I have had to make two extremely tough decisions recently and both have broken my heart.

You know when someone needs space. If you’re a reader of subtle hints and can pick up on clues, you feel when someone doesn’t want or need you around. It really isn’t rocket science or an invasive study of some devastating happening in the body.

You. Just. Know.

And when you know, how you approach that situation can make or break your relationship. If you have come across ghosting behavior before, you know the signs. They appear without a warning. You do not get a caution light or an alarm. You just need to be prepared. What I have come to recognize as tell-tale signs of inevitable ghosting are as follows:

One-word responses.

They are no longer eager to speak to you.

You don’t hang out because there’s an excuse on their end — they are always busy.

They don’t return phone calls or respond to text messages when they did so in the past.

They aren’t the least bit concerned about your well-being.

If you don’t reach out to them, they won’t acknowledge you: a one-sided relationship ensues.

If there have ever been at least three of the above things taking place, ghosting surely followed. Therapy is teaching me not to hold onto people, not to cling to them regardless of the years invested or how we’ve come to be. I am learning that everyone makes their beds and everyone has to lie in them.

If we are faced with the potential ending of a long-standing friendship or relationship and it is not being communicated verbally by the ghoster, chasing after them won’t stop them from running — trying to get them to stay won’t ensure their presence.

They Want To Leave.

Let them. Move out of their way. If it is in the plans for them to return to you or reconnect, they will. But you have to be willing to let them run or disappear because it is going to happen and there is no stopping it. When walls are actively tumbling down, one person cannot stop them from falling.

You have to be open enough to the possibility of certain relationships reaching their end-date. It happens . . . It is life and life surely does not stop for any of us.

I am learning to appreciate the beautiful takeaways of loving these two people and holding space for them, should they ever pop back into my life for a season. Holding space, to me, does not mean waiting around for them, it is me simply having a spot in my heart ready for them when or if they ever return and loving them while they’re away.

It is me knowing that running is sometimes the answer to one’s problems and respecting that. It is me knowing that time shifts and people grow into beings we may not recognize and these strangers must flee away from us for however long it may be — even if it is forever.

Make no mistake, I am mourning my losses. I am grieving their disappearance and distance, but I will not chase them. I will not cloud them with my worry and my sensitivities. They want the air at their backs and new waves slapping their faces. I understand this and I have stepped aside . . .

They are free to run away.


Originally published in P. S. I Love You via Medium. The link share is a friend link as this is a piece behind the paywall. Thank you for reading.

Featured Writer for October

Esther Spurrill-Jones

Esther sent an email to me to become a writer for A Cornered Gurl because she had a piece in her drafts that she thought would be perfect for the publication and it was–it is. I have been reading Esther for at least a year now and with every post shared to Medium, she shows that her talents reach far and wide. She can do fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, and micropoetry.

I am sure these are probably just a few of her actual literary abilities. When she’s writing, you’re reading. It’s hard not to. And for this, she is the featured writer for October. And now, the piece:


To The Man Who Told Me I Wasn’t a Feminist

“You can’t be a feminist. Feminists are anti-Christian and anti-men. That’s not you at all.”

Image created by author

I was in university. I must have been about 21 or 22. I was attending a campus Christian group/club when the topic turned to feminism. I mentioned that I considered myself a feminist. You and the woman who was leading the group turned shocked looks toward me and proceeded to tell me that a “real” Christian cannot also be a feminist. It was mostly you talking, but the woman nodded along and agree with everything you said.

To be honest, I don’t remember much of your reasoning because I wasn’t really listening. I was so shocked at what you were saying that I just stared at you with my mouth open. I probably looked like a fish. You probably thought you taught me something. You did.

I grew up in the church, so you might be surprised that I hadn’t encountered such blatant religious sexism before. I suppose I had, but it was mostly coming from old people like my dad (you were about my age), and never from women (at least not in my hearing). I was baffled that any person my age could think that a Christian couldn’t be a feminist — at least while continuing to be a Christian — and horrified that a woman could agree. I guess I had lived a sheltered life.

I had known you for a few months at this point, and I had a respect for you as the leader of the group. I lost all respect for you.

You taught me that I couldn’t trust a man just because he is a leader. You taught me that I couldn’t trust a woman just because she is a woman. You taught me that some young, university-educated Christians still believe in stupid, outdated sexist ideas. You made me even more determined to call myself a feminist.

You see, your mistake was in thinking that just because I’m a woman that I will listen to you. I don’t like to do what I’m told to do or be what I’m told to be. Like my Biblical namesake, Queen Esther, I will walk into the king’s court uninvited and ask for justice for my people. “And if I perish, I perish.”


Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.

I Haven’t Forgotten You

You’re All I Think About

Kids by delfi de la Rua via Unsplash

I wonder who has told you. If you know. If you’ve always known. If you want to know. I think about the right moment to say something, casually bring it up, but there’s nothing casual about coming out — again. I know you should hear it from me, but I am dragging my feet as it has been hard getting them from up under me — I have been sitting on them for too long. You should have known years ago or at least, in October when I told our brothers or when our father called and I confirmed what he already knew in January. Every time I dance around the subject of repeating those words again and this time, to you, I get an ache in my heart. My eyes water. My soul screams.

Everything in me stops.

I see you, but not the woman you are now, more like the infant-to-toddler that you were years ago and I want to hold you close and sing “You are my sunshine” until my throat becomes sore. I suspect that the task has been completed by someone else and you were not given the opportunity to hear me — see me as I spoke those words to you. I hope it hasn’t. I hope I still have time. I tend to sit on precious things, cover them up, then release them when everyone has stopped worrying about the potential harm they can cause. It has always been easiest for me, this method. I am learning to not lean into fear or hide behind it as much as I used to.

You don’t seem to have this issue, but then again, I have only watched you grow up from a distance. Much of my teenage to early adult life was lived before you even began to figure out things on your own. That’s what a nineteen-year gap does to sisters. It pushes them apart without either one knowing it is happening. I can call. I can text. I can pop up at important events. I can do all of this on a whim simply because you ask for my presence, but I can’t even tell you what presses on me more than anything.

I live with the thought of you daily. . . If you’re safe. If you’re learning how to maneuver through life and in the world without someone holding your hand. If your third year of college, now that you’re experiencing it, will strengthen you as much as mine did. You are strong, this is undeniable, but you have been sheltered. If I tell you, will you break? If I don’t, will you do so even more?

Bible, book, faith, and Psalm by Aaron Burden via Unsplash

“Truly, my soul silently waits for God; from Him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.” Psalms 62, 1–2 NKJV

I have missed about twenty Sundays in a row. To sit and count them, to think that my body hasn’t met a pew in over three months, causes me distress, but every time I tell myself that I am going to get it in gear, Sunday arrives, and I sleep in longer than planned. I find peace at my church — strength. I feel what I need to and when I need to there, but my body won’t let me move. My heart won’t, either. I have no idea why. You checked on me first thing in the morning, the other day — said you could not start your day without sending me a note. I missed it. Nearly most of my day went by before seeing your message and by that time, I let the toll of my workday cost me change.

I shared with you my emotions, how I’d been in and out of crying fits, how I am in therapy. This concerned you. You instantly began to worry. You wanted to call me and these days, I don’t welcome phone conversations like I used to. I told you that I was okay, that I’d be fine, I’d only answered your question. I wonder if being too upfront with you will cause you pain or sadness. But, I am growing and learning that I can no longer bite my tongue or hold in what needs to be said based on what the other person may feel when my feelings are expressed. I cannot control the emotions of others. I can only move forward when I feel it’s best to.

There is time. There will be time. I feel that it is nearing. I’d much rather the opportunity to sit you down in my favorite coffee spot, buy your drink and danish of choice, and talk — really talk. I want to sit and be with you, big sister to little sister and spill out what we need to. There are things you have always wanted to share with me and I have things I need to share with you, but distance is our enemy. It won’t be for long. I write. It’s what I do and I have written you a letter. You can sit with my words and I can come out again without even opening my mouth to tell you in person.

After all, when will I ever get the chance?


Originally published in Other Doors via Medium.

The Journey Back to Mental Wellness

Part V: Relinquishing Control

Jernee: Post bath and haircut on a sunny, Sunday afternoon. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

There are some gritty parts of me that I find, of late, bring me no pleasure to share. Isn’t that what this is all about, though? Releasing, removing everything from the system that clings to the depths of my bowels and makes it hard for me to handle life accordingly? I can vocalize this now without actually sly-giggling while I state it, but I have a problem with relinquishing control, especially if I feel a situation at hand will crumble if I do not have my hands somewhere in the mix. Ego knows when the right time is upon it. I take on quite a bit of responsibility, but I always have. I am the eldest child, the first great-grandchild and grandchild on both sides, so naturally, I was given the green light to make a few decisions before I truly knew what decision-making was. The problem is, that stuck . . . And it did so a little too well.

Ego knows when the right time is upon it.

While speaking to my therapist during our last session, I informed her that I can feel a lot of tension fall away from me because I am letting things go — things of which I have no control. There have been so many events that have happened recently that would have seriously made me break or lose my cool, but for some odd reason, I am regaining balance. I want to say that I can pinpoint when it took place, but really, I cannot. I just know that it feels good. At work, I am one of the “go-to people” and when I am not there, things do not typically flow the way they should. But, I feel the brunt of it too whenever anyone is out or away from work. We are all a part of a great team and each of us brings something incredible to our facility. We play our roles and we play them well.

What has been hardest for me, recently, is separating work-life from home-life because I have begun to get rather close to my teammates. So when the workday ends, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I am no longer in touch with the members of my team. When one works closely with others for over a year, bonds take place — feelings mature. You become sad if something happens to one of them, if they’re ill, have been in a car accident, or if the stressors of life begin to wear them down. I am learning to feel what I need to feel for them but to not feel like I have to solve their problems or find a solution.

Some things do not require our input.

And in learning this, I can continue to move forward with self-care and self-love. It is not my duty to hold the hands of my adult loved ones. It is not expected of me to center around them and jump onto every little case that causes a bit of friction in their lives. I have to learn to step out of the way and only be available when asked — if asked. Some things do not require our input. They simply require us to be present in that moment when we need to know what is going on and nothing more. Making room to pull this piece of me away from my skin is opening up new doors for me to be able to focus on self-care and self-love more. But, it will take time — years, I am certain.

Standing out| Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

My therapist notices that I would rather handle someone else’s problems and ease their pain than willingly acknowledge mine and work on regaining my own balance. I admitted to her that it is easier to help someone else than to help myself. That I have been in the nurturer/caretaker role for a very long time and this — this taking care of myself, is all relatively new to me. Taking time away from work to go on adventures, mini-vacations to places on my bucket list, and to spend time away from the electronic devices that can cripple me have been the best methods in ushering me to a place of centeredness and understanding.

I want to understand how to better care for myself but not to completely shut out or cut off the problems of others. The hard thing is finding a happy medium. When is it okay to step in? Is it ever okay to step in to ease someone else’s burden or pain? Should I wait until asked or use my heart to continue to guide me to know when the time is best? I like to say, that “I am a flawed piece of life still learning how to live,” and there is much truth in that statement. The quiet space of my therapist’s office is the circle of openness that I need. I am shedding and although it is scary, this is necessary. We are not meant to remain the same throughout our lives. Age ages. It keeps going and I am making it a point to go along with it — to grow along with it.

“I am a flawed piece of life still learning how to live.”

None of it is easy. I have turned the mirror on me and who I see when I stare into it is a beautiful being who needs tender love and care. I also see someone who can be so much more if she pushes fear to the side. The main thing is the fear of noticing how much of me needs changing — how much pruning I require in order to stand up straight and sway passionately in the sunlight. I take at least an hour or two out of my day and I read. I unplug. No television. No cell phone usage. No laptop or desktop usage. I simply sit in silence or I read. Is it helping to shape me into a better person? I think so. I feel as though the opportunity to embrace peace and quiet daily when my world is so full of noise is going to further help me on my journey.

“You have to know when to let go, Tre. The sooner you do this, the easier it will be.”

Her final words to me during our last session — the light that needed to be shined on my face still stings . . . “You have to know when to let go, Tre. The sooner you do this, the easier it will be.” I am fully aware of my path and I know it will be hard to stay on it, but I want to move forward. I just hope that what I see of me as months pass will pull me closer into loving me instead of shifting me even further away.

And of this, I also, have no control.


Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.

Parts I – IV