Emptiness from an empty nest

See, I’m young now and so are my kids.  I know that it would be YEARS before I have to worry about the day I ship my last child off to college–especially since I haven’t even had my last child yet.  But I have always been that person who looks ahead in effort to stay prepared for whatever obstacles that may rear its head.

I know it’s early, but I can’t seem to figure how I would deal with an empty nest.  Will I rejoice and do back flips? Or will I sulk around the house and think about all of the times my kids gave me near heart attacks or the times they made me laugh until tears streamed down my eyes.

Will I be that clingy mother who calls their child every single day while they are away at college? Or will I be the type of mother who gives their child space? I know I am young but I can’t help but wonder about the day I ship my last child off to college and end up with an empty nest!

If you have experienced an empty nest, what are some of the ways you prepared for it? What are some of the ways you coped with it?

via Daily Prompt: Nest

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Deafinitely seek help when needed

Yesterday evening I made a call to see about getting myself some mental health counseling.  For the past three years I have been experiencing episodes where I would become extremely stressed and anxious and end up uncontrollably shaking with a killer headache or where I feel like if I somehow die, everyone would be better off.

No, I don’t want to die because I want to see my kids grow up, and no I am not “strong” enough to hurt myself, but I have imagined freak accidents like passing away in my sleep due to eating some bad food for dinner or getting stung by some deadly unknown bug, or getting into a bizarre car accident or getting shot by some crazed racist (since I do live in the south where racism is very much alive.)

I have been battling with this on my own with the support of the many strong and fabulous women in my inner circle.  My mother, grandmother, sisters, cousins, mother-in-law, and friends.

I realized that I am always busy taking care of everyone else and I neglect taking care of myself.  In realizing this, I also realized that if I am not okay, I cannot do my best or be my best for my kids.  I used to believe that they needed to see their mother remain strong in tough situations so that one day when they get older they could follow suit, but I have since realized this was a fallacy.

I would much rather my kids see me getting help and helping myself; realizing I potentially have a problem and finding a way to “fix it” rather than see me in a light that portrays me as being perfect. I want them to know that I am not perfect.

Should either of my children grow up feeling even an ounce of what I’ve been feeling, I want them to feel courageous enough to admit to these feelings and therefore seek help, rather than deny them and let them fester.

The goal is to raise children who don’t need to recover from their childhood. The goal is to set an example for our children and be sure they are instilled with the proper tools that would enable them to live their best life.

I want my children to be confident and unafraid of asking for help.  So I needed to set that example.  I need to be confident and in being confident I needed to accept that it’s okay to ask for help–something I have never been good at.

So yesterday, I swallowed my “pride” and made that call.  The woman on the other end of the phone was clearly confused from the start of the conversation.  See, I use a sign language relay service called Sorenson to make all of my outgoing phone calls.  With this service I am able to make regular phone calls but the difference is I use sign language to communicate through an interpreter and the interpreter uses their voice on my behalf.  Confusing? Think of a conversation going on between an English-speaking person and a Spanish-speaking person with the help of an interpreter. Check this link for more information about Sorenson.

So anyway, I quickly realized this woman wasn’t sure what was going on despite the fact that my interpreter explained that the phone call was being made by a deaf person who uses sign language, so I re-explained that she was hearing someone else’s voice but that someone else was using my words. Things clicked for her momentarily.

She searched for mental health facilities that specifically catered to deaf people and her search only came up with one result.  I told her she didn’t have to look for a facility that specifically catered to deaf people, she could broaden her search to include “regular” facilities and I’ll just enlist a sign language interpreter from a sign language interpreting agency. This confused her. So I tried a different angle.

I said, “I can hear, I lost half of my hearing in both ears, and I can speak very clear, most people aren’t even aware that I am deaf until I tell them. I’ll mostly utilize an interpreter just to be sure I don’t miss any crucial information, but all in all my lip-reading skills are on point”

And boy, her light bulb went off! She said, “Oh! well, that makes a huge difference” I really didn’t see how but in the end she referred me to a different and better (per google reviews) mental health facility.  She offered to make an appointment for me to which I declined her offer, I wanted to do it myself. I needed to.

I only told this story to encourage all of you–disabled or not–to seek help whenever you feel like you need it.  Sweeping things under the rug can prove to be more damaging than helpful.  Wouldn’t you want to want to be able to say “I’m going to be okay, I will get through this”? Wouldn’t you want to feel better about yourself? Doesn’t the idea of waking up one day and actually looking forward to your day sound like a slice of heaven?

I bet it does.

In the meantime I do partake in some self-therapeutic methods because I am aware that it isn’t free to just knock on a psychologists/psychiatrist door and ask for help.  My advice is to find something you love doing and do it when you are feeling those feelings of anxiety or depression.  I know that it is sometimes hard to get up and go when you are feeling depressed, but try to think about a time you were doing something you loved and try to recapture that moment.

Below are some of the things I like doing:

  1. Writing short stories.  If I am feeling down, I found that It is easier for me to create characters who aren’t and this lifts my spirits; living in my happy characters’ world is like a little vacation from my reality.  On the other hand if someone in my life pisses me off, I can always write a story where they get hurt insert evil grin here.
  2. Listening to smooth Soul and R&B music.  I tend to listen to a lot of smooth R&B music, preferably songs sang by men.  I find their voices to be soothing especially Luther Vandross. His voice is literally like butter, it makes everything better.  But I also prefer male singers for another weird and unrelated reason as well. For some reason in society most men are conditioned not to show their feelings and to carry these tough personas so I find it refreshing when a man goes against the grain and openly expresses his feelings.
  3. Taking a hot bath with scented aroma therapy Epsom salt. I don’t know whether it’s the heat from the water that melts my anxiety and anger away, or if the aroma therapy thing is real (I’m still skeptical, don’t judge me), but I recently added this to my list of stress/anger relievers and it works wonders!
  4. Read a book. As I’ve mentioned earlier, walking in a characters shoes is an escape from my reality.  I like to read fiction books (my favorite author is Janet Evanovich) and as bad as it sounds, reading about someone else’s problems help me see that maybe my problems aren’t as “unsolvable” as I believe them to be.
  5. Talk to my loved ones.  Communication is definitely the key to everything. Anyone I’ve ever vented to would tell you when I am angry or frustrated I express my feelings in such a raw and otherwise “effed up” yet hilarious manner. And for that, I’ve come to appreciate my moments of frustration and anger because apparently that’s when my creativity shines through the most.

What are some ways you relieve stress or lift your spirits/ mood?

 

Help me understand…

I am always hearing how women tend to create imaginary situations in their heads and then one thought leads to another and so on and so forth.  But I don’t actually see the problem with that!

The way I see it, the more imaginary scenerios and situations we can come up with, the more prepared we will be in life!

“Hmm…if so and so said this and that to me, this is how I will smoothly respond and still have all of my self esteem in tact” and  “If Michael B. Jordan comes up to me and tells me I have a booger smeared on my cheek, this is how I will smoothly play it off” sounds a whole hella’va lot better than having so and so say this and that to me and then me standing there stuck on stupid or having Michael B. Jordan come up to me and tell me I have a booger smeared on my cheek and then me dying of embarrassment right in his face!

What’s wrong with being prepared?!

I mean the saying goes “expect the best but prepare for the worst” doesn’t it? I think that’s why a lot of dudes out there, when faced with “tricky situations” they resort to saying “I don’t know.” Well, you would know if you thought about the possibility of this situation happening, before!

You: Max, why did you cheat on me?

Max: I don’t know

Well, I know! It’s because Max, first off, is an idiot who couldn’t appreciate what he had and secondly, he didn’t think of the possibility of getting caught! Granted he shouldn’t have done it and if he thought of the possibility of cheating and all of the consequences that comes with cheating he wouldn’t have done it, now would he?

My point is, imaginary situations that are created in our heads aren’t all that bad, so keep on creating them!

 

via Daily Prompt: Imaginary

At the End of The Tunnel

Survive

Isn’t it amazing how much you can learn and come up with when you’re forced to enter survival mode? New-never-before-thought of inventions are born, new lifestyles come to life.  You learn what you can live without and realize what you can cut back on, you take something that is meant for one thing and use it for an entirely different thing.  Then even when you emerge from survival mode and enter comfort mode, those life hacks you learned during your low moment can still be applied.

Let me use myself as an example.

About a month or two after my youngest was born things got a little tight financially.  When faced with the decision to either buy sanitary napkins or something cheap to make for dinner, of course I chose to feed my family, but what was I going to do about the impending dreaded visit from my….”Aunt”? I knew that I would bleed through tissue so I wouldn’t even allow myself to go there.  I also knew that my youngest had outgrown her Newborn diapers and was now a size 1 so here I had all of these Newborn diapers just sitting around.  Let’s just say, they absorb much better than regular pads! I call this finding the “Struggle pad”

Not long after running into financial problems we unfortunately lost our apartment and had to live in a hotel (luckily, for only one week!) The hotel had a kitchenette area so we were able to cook our own food which was great! One morning I decided to make pancakes (from scratch. Haven’t made pancakes from the box in years–and yes I’m showing off!) I made a whole stack of pancakes just for my four-year old to ask me to pass her the syrup. Crap.  I didn’t have any and forgot to buy some! (I’ll have you know the hotel was basically in the middle of nowhere and there was no store within walking distance and I didn’t have a car) But I did have milk, brown sugar and cinnamon! The perfect blend of the three (preferably heated up) had my daughter and I like “Syrup? what’s syrup?” We call this concoction “The special stuff”

When I find myself in situations that are meant to break me, sure I go through a moment where it’s like “oh, my God, this is the end, there’s no light at the end of the tunnel” but then a little voice in my head yells above all of the negative thoughts and tells me, “use it.” For the longest I never understood what that meant until I was forced into survival mode when I moved to North Carolina from New York City and didn’t know the lay of the land at all.  I couldn’t find a job or affordable daycare and therefore was pretty desperate and feeling worthless.  There was that voice saying “use it” and It finally clicked.  Though I haven’t made any money from it, I thereafter started using my life experiences and putting them on paper in a story-form. I notice that my writing skills grow with each story I write and I therefore feel myself grow.  It’s like I write my way out of a dark circle.  I call these creations “Potential-books-that-need-to-be-published.”

Granted it’s not a good feeling to have to be put through rough spots but at least I can create a story from it, right?  (I promise I will finish at least one….some time soon so you guys can read it! I have a really bad habit of starting one story then having another idea–A.K.A another life obstacle–pop into my head–and life–then dropping the first story then continue with the second and so on and so forth but I will get my shit together I promise!)

Did that make sense?

At last, the final thing that being in survival mode teaches you is who is really there for you and who isn’t.  Through all of my trials and tribulations, I’ve learned that not everybody around you wants the best for you.  They tend to usually keep you around for their own benefit and would have nothing to offer you when you are in need.  I call this discovery, “Growing up”

Yep, surviving caused me to grow up.

via Daily Prompt: Survive

Happy and you know it? Clap your hands

I am always interested to learn what makes people happy.  I feel like in order to enjoy life people should do what makes them happy, would you disagree?

So tell me, what makes you happy? How do you know you are happy? How would you define happiness?

For me, writing makes me happy.  I find writing to be extremely therapeutic when I am going through something tough.  I like to write my feelings and thoughts down because I believe that once you put your feelings down on paper (whether it’s in the form of a diary entry, poem, or song) you would not only have a better concept of how to deal with them but you’ll be able to get them off your mind.  I’m sorry was that confusing? Whoops.  Okay, let me try again, you go through a rough patch and you don’t write it down to get it out of your system, it builds and you’ll most likely implode whereas if you jot everything down, it doesn’t need to stay on your mind anymore.

I know I’m happy when I feel like I’ve grown in any area of my life.  Whether It’s making an improvement in my writing, turning a new page with my kids, learning how to better communicate with my husband, or making a new friend, the feeling of growth is how I would best describe my happiness.  As long as I am growing and gaining new experiences, I know that I am happy.

As long as what you do doesn’t feel like a burden or a job that you don’t want, I think it means you’re happy, right? If you could wake up every morning and look forward to doing what you do everyday it would be safe to believe that you are happy, correct?

Now, with that said, if you aren’t happy, what are some of the ways you can become happy? What advice would you give someone who is stuck on their road towards the pursuit of happiness?

I would love to hear your thoughts! I might be able to make use of any advice anyone may have.

Can You Believe that?

Almost everyone around me associates themselves with a religion.  I, however, do not.  I don’t consider myself in any way, shape or form, religious.  I think that the best way to describe my belief system would be that I am a spiritual person.  But don’t get me wrong, I am very aware of the different religions out there and I try my best to learn about them; I may even take a little of what I learn and align it with what I believe.  In other words there’s a little bit in each religion I’ve learned about that I hold with me.

I feel that my choice not to be affiliated with one religion gives me the ability to be religiously free.  I don’t think there is a right or wrong religion, I don’t think that there is any belief that is wrong.  I actually respect the differences in people’s beliefs.  I try to understand why they believe what they do rather than try to tell them that they are wrong.

I remember when I was in College I had an art class–but we didn’t draw anything and that upset me! I was tricked because no one told me it was an art history class (bore, bore, snoozefest, cue in the snoring).  I remember specifically learning about the Greeks and Romans and all of this stuff about the way they lived and how they captured their lifestyles in their art.  I remember little things about why their sculptures were the way that they were and so on and so forth.  I remember one day the topic of religion came up and my professor talked about Jesus on the cross.  My sign language interpreter made just about every face in the book and kept shaking her head and adding “that’s wrong” or “that’s not true” whenever my professor would explain a “textbook fact” about Jesus.

There was one comment that she made that has stuck with me through all of these years because I remember thinking to myself, “I don’t care about what’s wrong, I just care about what the professor is saying because that is what’s going to be on the test and I need to pass this class.”

When my professor mentioned the shape of the cross and how Jesus was positioned on it, she said it was a plus-sign shape and Jesus’ arms were stretched out on his sides. my interpreter who was a Jehovah’s Witness said to me in sign language, “that’s not true, that’s the stupid Catholic belief.  In the real bible–my bible–it states that the cross was in fact not a ‘plus sign type-shape’ but it was actually a ‘x shape’ with another piece going straight down in the middle.  His hands weren’t stretched out across the cross either, his hands were actually tied up above his head because think about it, if you hang someone up on a ‘plus sign shaped’ cross with their hands stretched out, gravity would cause their body to fall and possibly detach from their arms and the cross would fall forward, whereas if it was positioned the way it shows in my bible, Jesus would have had more support. Plus, it makes more sense that way”

I remember looking at her feeling a growing pang of annoyance.  I couldn’t immediately determine if I was more annoyed by the fact that she was telling me this, or if I was more annoyed by the fact that since she started telling me this my professor possibly switched topics three or four times, or if I was annoyed with the fact that she seriously called another person’s belief stupid.  It’s a belief system as far as I am concerned, none of it is proven facts.

The bible has been repeatedly altered throughout the years to match the evolving times so what right does anyone have to say what is wrong or right?

I believe in the power of love, freedom and respect.

My grandparents are Jehovah’s witnesses, I have an uncle who is a converted Muslim (If thats the proper termonology), I have aunts who are Catholic, a whole family of Christians whether they are devout or not, I have friends who are Atheist, I know people who are Protestant, I know people who practice Hinduism, and with that being said me, not being affiliated with any religion makes it easier for me to absorb everyone’s belief.

It also makes it easier for me to see people for who they are beyond their choice of religion, or their choice of lifestyle like being Gay, for an example. (Let me just say, I don’t like using the term “homosexual” I feel it’s just as offensive as the word “Faggot” which I don’t use either; I prefer to use terms like Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, Transgender etc.)

If you’re human and you happen to be Gay–as long as you are not going around killing people or harming other people in any way–I love and respect you (that goes for anyone, whether you’re gay or not). Why is it a problem that you love someone who happens to be the same gender as you? As long as you found love, and you are happy nothing else matters.  I don’t feel like being Gay is a “sin” I don’t believe that being Gay is even wrong; I honestly see nothing wrong with being Gay. I hear the saying “people should be fruitful and multiply” but some people don’t want children (even ” straight” couples) and children are expensive as hell…I know this from experience.  I’ve heard the saying “God made Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve.” Man, listen, God made, Adam, Eve, Steve, Shaquana, Taquan, Richie, Raul, Maria, Su yung and all of them, if you believe that God made all of us, right?

A belief system is a belief system, and I want to share with you my belief system.  In addition to believing in love, freedom and respect, I also believe there’s a reason why everything happens and people die (before they get old).  This might be a little confusing but I will try my best to make as much sense as possible.

Okay, so, everyone has a different walk of life, everyone goes through different things and everyone turns out to be who they are.  Why? Because every walk of life teaches people different things that could either help them grow or give them knowledge that they could pass on and potentially plant a seed in another person who would then have the power to change the world.  We all go through different things in order to polish us and groom us so that we could be functioning human beings–life to me is all about learning.  We all turn out to be the way we are so that other people could learn from us and experience some inner growth.  We need other human beings to survive, is what I believe.

I believe that if you wronged someone in any way–and if you are religious it’s always a good thing to ask for forgiveness from your God–but even if you are not, it’s also a good thing to face the person or people you’ve wronged and ask them for forgiveness as well.  Give people and yourself a peace of mind to be able to grow and move through life as smoothly as possible without carrying the weight of being angry or resentful.

Is this confusing? I hope you at least get the gist of what I’m trying to say because my belief behind death might be a little more confusing.

When people are faced with a tough situation they tend to pray on it to their God.  I pray to any loved one of mine that passed away.  In most cases I pray to my Uncle Tony.  I ask him to look over me and I ask him for clarity.  I ask him to give me signs that I am walking the path I’m meant to walk and he always comes through for me.  It gives me comfort because I actually know my uncle, I know what his voice sounds like, I know his personality.  I know what faces he might make if I ask for something ridiculous like if he could find a way to make it so that when I wake up in the morning, a million dollars would be sitting on my nightstand.  I know his laugh so when I think of something funny I can hear it.  I know him personally.

Which brings me to my reasoning as to why he and many other people passed and still pass away “before their time”. I believe that each death has its purpose.

I was too young to understand what–if anything–was going on in my family around the time that Tony passed away but I do remember feeling like my family became closer after his death.  I remember feeling like everyone was checking in on everyone often and everyone was helping everyone out more often. So, I think that the reason he had to pass away was to wake my family up and to make them aware that even though on the outside we may look healthy, we might be fighting internal battles (diseases or otherwise) and we need someone to reach out to us and help us because we may not always be too forthcoming when we need help.  I think it’s safe to assume that my family also learned to appreciate the gift of life and became more driven to achieve their goals being that Tony was in his late 30’s when he passed away. He was very young.

I’m currently twenty-six years old and will be turning twenty-seven at the end of the year and I want to do so much with my life, I have so many ideas but I don’t know where to start. I started this Blog with hopes of figuring that out.  I have to admit that I feel a little impatient because I am not where I want to be, but I do believe that when it’s my time to put all of my ideas in motion, I will do so with a bang with the help of Uncle Tony and other humans in my life or who I will eventually cross paths with.