• Off to the Races After Surgery? YES

    Off to the Races After Surgery? YES

    I recently had bowel obstruction surgery and I think it might be one of the best things that’s happened to me in a long time. Not the actual cutting open of my stomach and resecting my bowels nor the excruciating pain afterwards. Certainly not the soft diet, though I am very grateful to be able to ingest actual food again. No, it’s mainly because this rest and recovery period has highlighted just how much I was always on the go.

    Which made me realize that I hadn’t really written in a couple of months.

    Which made me realize that the universe has created yet another opening for me turn this thing I love, writing, into something.

    I was on a carousel of work, housework, exercise, errands and trying desperately and unsuccessfully to relax.

    As I continue to recover at home, I see now that breaking the 9 to 5 programming is harder than I thought. It seems to have embedded itself into my psyche over the last two decades. So much so that I’m still ridding myself of the remnants of self defeating thoughts and fear.

    But what is there to fear really? I manage to earn the same or more bi-monthly in about 55-60 hours per pay period, which still leaves me time and energy to write, to express myself and my creativity, to do something that matters to me.

    Slowing down has already, after nine days, allowed me to begin a new way of doing things. So, here’s my third (fourth?) Hell, I don’t know, I’ll just call it my new blog, my new opportunity.

    I think its time to take back, nay, recognize my own power.

    Off to the races I go…

  • Confessions Of a Recovering People Pleaser: Heartbreak & Boundaries

    Confessions Of a Recovering People Pleaser: Heartbreak & Boundaries

    One of the inciting events that led me down the path of spiritual growth & emotional healing was a particularly bad breakup. I’m talking stalking, harassment, breaking and entering, filing for a restraining-order, life-changing breakup.

    In retrospect, it was the catalyst for a new version of myself to emerge. This woman had to shift her perception and start seeing circumstances and people as they actually were and not as she wanted them to be.

    If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be as healed as I am now.

    She wasn’t comfortable talking about herself or anything that had happened to her; (and there’s plenty) in fact, she would have never had the balls to even start this blog.

    Well, she was chugging along, or should I say, treading water until that horrible breakup.

    She was the eternal optimist even when it was to her own detriment. The glass was always half full.

    That woman got a lot of rude awakenings after that breakup. It was ROUGH. Owning up to and changing your behavior is incredibly difficult. She began to understand why a lot of people avoid it.

    After some therapy, she understood that much of the problem was that she had poor boundaries. She’d always been a people pleaser & felt that it was her responsibility to make others happy. And if she made people happy, they would love her.

    But now she was getting fed up.

    Finally! That one emotion planted the seed for the new version of the same person to grow.

    I don’t know exactly why I’m writing about this except to say that it’s a relief to see how far I’ve come. Sometimes it’s easier to talk about things when you’re no longer in the thick of it.

    I have my good and bad days. I still find myself wanting to please people, but I catch myself.

    I remember it’s not my job to solve other people’s problems. I don’t have to put other’s needs before my own. I can have healthy boundaries and people will still like, love & support me.

    Hell, they might even respect me.

    To new beginnings!

    ___________________________________________

  • Carousel of Scattered Thoughts

    Do you find that random thoughts spin around your mind all day, popping in and out? It makes me think of a carousel, spinning around and up and down.

    I find myself running and hopping from one project to the other, intrigued by inspiration, curiosity, and possibility when my true nature calls for a gentle stroll. When I stroll, the details become clearer.

    In the past, spinning on the thought carousel left me burned out and falling short of my goals. In the present, I’ve learned to manage my scattered thoughts in better ways:

    -I write things down or put things on my phone as they come to me. That way, the sense of urgency that usually accompanies scattered thoughts dissipates.

    -Next, I’ve learned to prioritize what’s most important to me. Work pays the bills so that’s automatically a priority. But I have enough free time to devote to about two projects at a time. What inspires me? What am I passionate about? What will I be willing to consistently put energy into?

    -It’s going to sound like a cliche, but meditation DOES help. It’s a great centering tool for those of us who have lots of mental energy. It slows the carousel of thoughts down. Afterward, I find that pieces begin to fit together “magically” (not really though, right?).

    To new beginnings!

  • The Rhythm of Courage

    Music has always been a source of inspiration for me. I know I can’t be the only one who gets songs stuck in their head seemingly out of the blue, and this one’s been in my head for over a week:

    I looked up the lyrics and the first verse sums up my current #vibe perfectly:

    Listen as your day unfolds

    Challenge what the future holds

    Try to keep your head up to the sky

    Lovers, they may cause you tears

    Go ahead, release your fears

    Stand up and be counted

    Don’t be ashamed to cry

    It’s just so…raw isn’t it?

    The ‘be bold’ part really struck a chord with me because I can be overly cautious in an effort to keep from making the same mistakes. As one of my dear friends told me, I could talk myself out of anything.

    I swear, I do remember a younger, bolder version of myself but somewhere along the way, she let others talk her out of trying new things. She didn’t know how to handle the scolding, chiding, and fear-mongering.

    It’s tricky because some people can phrase things in a way that sounds like good advice at the time, but in retrospect, you come to the realization that it’s just that person projecting their trepidations onto someone else.

    What they’re really saying is, “I wouldn’t do that. I would be afraid to do that.” And the fact that you’re not is what makes them uncomfortable.

    Now I find myself circling back in my intended direction, toward my deepest desires and passions.

    I just need to make sure I’m really being bold because, in today’s performative, virtual world, laden with manufactured trends and new hashtags every hour, where false bravado seems to permeate every media outlet and bleed into our real-life conversations and actions, the lines of reality can become blurred.

    Here’s my unsolicited advice—be bold enough to stand your ground against doubt, despite whatever guises it comes wrapped in. Because real and true courage often leads to greatness.

  • Post Op #Acessa Check Up

    Post Op #Acessa Check Up

    The procedure itself was an outpatient surgery and due to the size of one of my #fibroids, took about three hours. Thankfully, I tolerated the procedure well and my incisions are healing just fine. I’m very happy to say that I didn’t experience any nausea or vomiting and I was able to resume my regular diet the next day.

    The #recovery process was very painful the first few days, BUT I was sent home with more than enough pain medication to ensure sleep and rest. Despite the discomfort and soreness, it has not been as taxing as the recovery from the strangulated hernia & #ilectomy surgery.

    I’m back to work, already seeing considerably less #bleeding (I was bleeding about 21 days a month before the procedure).

    More importantly, it’s another new beginning. It’s the end of a period of feeling withdrawn, oddly ashamed of what my body was and was not doing, and just plain old tired & drained from the symptoms.

    And just in time for one of the most social seasons of the year, summer. The season of warmth and sunshine. Already, I feel more confident and hopeful.

    Also weaved into this new beginning is closure on a deeply personal issue; I no longer have to rearrange my schedule, social activities or wardrobe choices around the side effects of fibroids. That chapter is closed, hallelujah!

    The anxious gray cloud has diminished, freeing me up for more spiritual growth, increased #creativity and deeper connection to the universe.

    I believe the best is yet to come.

  • Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day, and Neither is Success

    Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day, and Neither is Success

    I always pride myself on not comparing myself to others and just allowing myself to be authentically me, but that’s nearly impossible not to do.

    Recently, I’ve found myself subconsciously measuring my own #success to awarded and prosperous authors, and of course, I’m going to come up short. I think it stems from seeking #approval and #validation. When I do this though, it makes it more difficult to believe in myself and my own personal power and talent.

    So, I’ve decided that instead of engaging in fruitless thought processes and behaviors, I will decide what success looks like for me.

    It will vary from day to day, depending on where I am in my healing process, energy level, and responsibilities.

    For example, today my definition of success is publishing this #blog entry. Tomorrow it could be something else. Whatever it is, I will make sure it places me one step closer to my ultimate #goals, both personal and professional.

    I am reminded of the adage, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” In other words, it takes time and movement, great and small, to create.

    Success will come with continued #persistence.

    As long as we’re trying and doing, we are successful.

    Today, feel free to call yourself a success.

    _________________________

  • Kevin Samuels: The Progeny of Mass Fatherlessness & Narcissistic Misogyny: A Teachable Moment

    Kevin Samuels: The Progeny of Mass Fatherlessness & Narcissistic Misogyny: A Teachable Moment

    A teachable moment is defined as “an event or experience which presents a good opportunity for learning something about a particular aspect of life”. I posit that the Universe made an example out of #KevinSamuels, #YouTube sensation, raging sexist, and self-proclaimed relationship guru.

    He died last earlier this month of a heart attack at 57. According to official reports and a 911 call, he expired on top of a lady of the night who couldn’t even direct paramedics to his apartment because, well, she didn’t know his address.

    But this is not about the alleged woman or anyone else who chooses to engage in sex work ; its about the words this man spoke about “modern single women”, single mothers, and independent educated women; how generally useless women are outside of sex. He loved to tell his audience of ghouls that women would die alone and he often said, “Winter is coming.”

    Well, winter has come.

    The Universe has a sense of humor apparently because not only was his life cut short, but well…he died alone. Because dying in the presence of a prostitute, unless you luck upon one with a heart of gold, is dying alone.

    His hatred of women ran so deep that he was allegedly estranged from his own mother. Did I mention that she was a single mother?

    And for all of his talk of being a “high value man”, anyone can clearly see that he didn’t even value his own health.

    The Universe literally made him eat his own words. Ironically, another phrase he ran into the ground was, “You can’t make this up.”

    Indeed.

    So my message to any grieving Samuelites or anyone angling to carry on his legacy of narcissistic misogyny and catering to the fatherless is this–you can’t spew negativity and expect positivity, and the Universe never forgets. It also has a sense of humor because in trying to speak a curse on to black women, he spoke one on to himself.

    And was it worth it?

    Who, in the midst of all the shame, memes, embarrassment, internet draggings, ridicule and exposure, is willing to be the next #KevinSamuels?

    __________________

  • Everything is Coming Along and I’m Grateful

    Everything is Coming Along and I’m Grateful

    On Wednesday I got the approval from the insurance company for the #Acessa procedure. Since it’s a relatively new procedure (compared to the #hysterectomy), the insurance has to give the go ahead.

    I feel so excited because I’m one step closer to relief from #fibroids and many of the symptoms that go along with them such as distended abdomen, heavy bleeding and pelvic pain and cramping. One step closer to feeling like just a regular woman. A regular, carefree woman. Carefree in comparison to the last five years anyway.

    My doctor’s office wanted to schedule it for May 3, but I was a little wary that my body needed more time to recover from my previous surgery. After talking with my mom about the upcoming date, she made a good point as well; I needed to take my mental health into consideration (https://tabularasa516371657.wordpress.com/2022/03/25/anxiety-after-surgery/).

    Though not as invasive as the small bowel obstruction surgery I had, it’s still a surgery. Most people are able to return home the same day after some observation, but it’s still surgery.

    So for now, some of the hard part is over; wondering if I was a good candidate for the procedure and wondering if it would be covered by my insurance. I can relax a little bit for now. I’ll take it:)

  • The Five Stages of…Joy?

    The Five Stages of…Joy?

    As I walk out of Walmart today, I find myself feeling grateful-for health, reliable transportation, money, healthy food, and a productive therapy appointment. I am positively jaunty.

    As I await the next move in my #fibroid journey, I accept that there are still unknowns. Instead of worrying, I pray, believe and hope for the best outcome. I accept that at this juncture, that’s all that I can do-live my day-to-day life, work…and write. Writing’s been a bit of a haven for me right now.

    I think about my desire to make a comfortable living as a creative. I ponder on the past fears that my dreams would never come to pass and it comes to me like this: You have to accept it. There’s no more time to wonder & ponder; just do it.

    I am stuck on the word accept which leads me to the Five Stages of Grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression & Acceptance. I realize that I’ve spent too many years on the first four steps; denying that a writing career was sensible or viable, surreptitiously angry that I had to (or so I thought) get up at the butt crack of dawn and go to a repetitive, boring job every day and deal with bitchy, vampiric co-workers.

    I remember bargaining with myself using idyllic “what if” situations such as waiting until I get married so I could have a husband to help with the bills while I wrote, (ironically failing to recognize the gift of freedom of action, which can be in direct conflict with the demands of a marriage and could actually be deterimental to the creative process depending on the relationship). Other days, the fantastical idea of winning the lottery granted me the peace of mind I sought.

    Then there was the depression resulting from the acute awareness of time going by, ticking away, and still no books, no articles, nothing to show but a burning desire which had become, with the passage of time, stale, finally disappearing like a wisp of cigarette smoke.

    As I return my cart, it hits me-instead of that final stage of acceptance, in essence giving up (which is something I don’t do), why not accept that we really can do what we want. Acceptance is facing reality is it not? Then, I accept that the universe grants us all openings and opportunities. If I’ve been afforded this opportunity, surely others await, right? I say yes. It is engraved in my reality and so it is, amen.

    So today, I am happy to realize that those four steps are in the rearview. No more lingering denial, I let go of the anger because it serves no purpose and there is no need for me to bargain with the universe; it is already aware of my plans which means there’s no place for depression.

    If the other side of grief is joy, then maybe the realization that our lives are unlimited begets the Five Stages of Joy.

  • I Am the Rose of Jericho

    I Am the Rose of Jericho

    I stumbled across this little number one day when I was looking for sage at a spirituality shop. I had no idea what it was but I felt intrigued by its appearance. I mean, it looked like a weed, but I sensed there was more than met the eye.

    I felt so drawn to it that I had to purchase one after coming across this description on Google:

    “This repeating process of hibernation has earned rose of Jericho the name “resurrection plant.” It symbolizes transformation, renewal, and prosperity to people of many faiths, such as Christianity, Santeria, and Hoodoo. “

    You had me at transformation, renewal and prosperity. Could this plant be my spirit animal? I mean, drought equals death for most greenery, but not this hardy flower. Instead of dying, it just curls up into a ball, protecting itself from the world’s cruelties.

    Like I’ve done so many times.

    I’ve learned that sometimes that’s a good thing and sometimes it’s not. When you’re curled up, no one can see your beauty and what’s inside. Other times, curling into a ball is necessary; isn’t that how we all started in our mother’s wombs?

    We just have to keep coming back like the resurrection plant and never give up no matter how dry it may seem. Eventually, we’ll find our water and bloom.

  • Weighing Options + Awareness=Solutions

    Weighing Options + Awareness=Solutions

    #CynthiaBailey of all people led me to explore my options for fibroid treatment. The Real Housewife of Atlanta (#rhoa) gets real in this article (https://people.com/health/cynthia-bailey-fibroids-dark-place-mentally-treatment/)

    So, in the next and final phase of my recovery, I consulted with an OB-GYN to help me figure out how to address the rather pressing (no pun intended) issue of #fibroids. In my case, they are outside of my uterus and because of the way they are positioned, they need to be addressed ASAP.

    Of course, I could have a hysterectomy but the recovery time is about eight weeks plus the pain level post-op is substantial and ongoing. Additionally, a hysterectomy is another major surgery in a short time frame that would put too much stress on my body. Lastly, it’s just so…final. 

    I don’t want a hysterectomy.

    It’s not just that I don’t want one, it’s that I don’t feel it’s necessary. Every time I’ve gone to an OB over the last five years, the “H” word is the first thing they suggest.

    Less invasive procedures such as UFE or #UterineFibroidEmbolization (https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info/ufe) and #Acessa (https://acessaprocedure.com/questions-answered-common-faqs-about-acessa-for-fibroids/) exist and need to be offered with equal fervor. I only heard about the latter at a recent appointment with my new OB-GYN.


    Both #UFE and #Acessa have just two and one week recovery times respectively vs the hysterectomy’s eight weeks.

    Having ‘female issues’ (shoutout to my grandma’s generation) is stressful in itself, but having to figure out whether you have all the necessary information is unfair and reduces autonomy. My body, my choice.

    After all, I’m the one who’s got to live in it.