Solitude

Solitude.

Being in solitude during this journey has taught me to pay more attention to my emotions, to acknowledge the feelings and try to work through them on my own..

I’m still learning how to beat antepartum depression.

Sometimes I have great days and I feel like I can do this. I can handle the aches and pains alone and I find myself smiling and laughing at my own personal agenda/jokes. I laugh at not being able to put my shoes on correctly or putting the juice on top of the fridge then spending 10 minutes looking for the juice I had just poured. 🙂

Other days I find myself in bed, days at a time.. but still taking care of basic needs. I often spend the last half hour in bed before getting ready for the day emotionally prepping myself to smile at myself in the mirror.

And both moments are ok, I just cannot STAY in those emotions especially since I have someone who can literally feel everything I feel.

So I started writing lists of gratitude to remind myself that it can, and will, get better.

I allow myself to cry, and I don’t beat myself up about it. I hate doing this alone but God has a reason for this period of solitude.

Then I tell myself that joy comes in the morning, and I try to keep it pushing .. 💕

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the foundation starts from within.

In this age of social media, my TL is filled with YouTube makeup artists constantly posting their new tutorials, IG girls who look the same,and self-conscious posts from women who feel as if they aren’t pretty enough without makeup. For the past year, I fell into the eyebrow trend more so preferring that over, a full face beat unless it’s for a special occasion. But every now and then when I feel self-conscious, I would run to the drug store or Mac and buy my favorite lipstick, just to cover something up I’m hiding.

So I never leave the house without make-up on,
I keep mascara in my pocket if I’m running to the market
‘Cause you never know who’s watching you
So I got to stay on, I got to stay on
I got to stay on, I got to stay on
Said I got to stay on! – Jazmine Sullivan “Mascara”

Sometimes I won’t post pictures unless I have lipstick on. Other times if my hair isn’t done, you won’t see me at all on social media. And as I am going through this journey of pregnancy, I’m starting to see the effects of lack of sleep and skin color changes and I have to remind myself that it’s NOT who I am! Drinking water, exfoliating, and not using makeup on my skin is keeping it blemish free and I’m proud to say I never had acne, even in my teenage days.

I think makeup is an art and I admire those who are skilled enough to do it every single day, and look amazing. I can only speak for myself when I say that makeup does make me feel prettier but I also know that I look just as good as without it too. I have to remind myself of this, when I scroll through Instagram and Twitter and don’t get discouraged by those who can make it work for them. Sometimes we let the influence of others determine the beauty we see within ourselves. The foundation starts from within. We must encourage ourselves to see our true beauty in the mirror and know that cosmetics enhance our beauty that God has given us. We are fearfully and wonderfully made, and there’s nothing sexier than a woman who can wear confidence just as well as she wear her makeup.

Now is it real? Eyebrows, fingernails, hair
Is it real? if it’s not, girl you don’t care
Cause what’s real is something that the eyes can’t see
That the hands can’t touch, that them broads can’t be, and that’s you
– J. Cole

 

the beginning of my journey.

I haven’t been completely honest with myself. Or others.

I’ve been avoiding writing about my journey with pregnancy because antenatal depression isn’t a topic that the black community talks about often and when depression is brought up, we are often expected to “get over it”. Or, I’m told that “it’s just my hormones”, “and ” once you give birth, it will change”. But what if it doesn’t?

Too often I think about my child being stillborn. Birth defects. Pre-term labor. Finances. Bonding with my child. My child bonding with her father.

For the first 12 weeks, I was emotional. After 20 weeks, I’ve managed to level my feelings about being a mother into a balance that is often mixed with fear, happiness, fatigue, anxiety, excitement. Some days I don’t know if I’m coming or going. Other days, when I feel her kick, I thank God for blessing someone like me to one day become a parent. & I’ll tell you, if you haven’t had the experience of feeling your child move in your womb, I’ll be the one to say that love truly can’t be described, only felt. I’m changing already. My mentality over the summer has changed from self-centered “going with the wind” young lady, to a woman who is preparing to give life. And I like this process more than I ever thought I would. Actually, I’m loving it.

I had my gender reveal on August 19th, and I’m having a younger, smarter, faster me. A little me! Someone while will mirror my exact actions, hopefully my features (although I strongly believe she will look like her father lol). I will raise her to be a little girl who will be whoever she wants, with dreams bigger than the ones I’ve had at her age. My daughter will be one of substance. She will be fierce, sassy, determined, sweet, a child of God. And one day grow to be more than a woman I will be ever get to be.
I have managed to level my feelings about being a mother into a balance that is often mixed with fear, happiness, fatigue, anxiety, excitement. Some days I don’t know if I’m coming or going. Other days, when I feel her kick, I thank God for blessing someone like me to one day become a parent. & I’ll tell you, if you haven’t had the experience of feeling your child move in your womb, I’ll be the one to say that love truly can’t be described, only felt. I’m changing already. My mentality over the summer has changed from self-centered “going with the wind” young lady, to a woman who is preparing to give life. And I like this process more than I ever thought I would. Actually, I’m loving it.

black women are inspiring.

When I look for inspiration, I turn to my fellow black women that are raising the bar high for themselves, for others, and for the children that will follow one day in our footsteps.

Black women with degrees and credentials are flourishing in our communities; creating their own hair care lines, opening their own businesses and earning their Bachelors, Master’s, J.D.s, Ph.Ds left and right. I applaud woman  who proudly wear their regalia on commencement days and those entrepreneurs that own successful businesses that are breaking down the barriers left and right. Creating wealth. Building a brand. Encouraging young sisters like myself to never let a dream be deferred.

As an educated black woman, I find that we have a confidence instilled in us from the perseverance, dedication, sweat, tears and the overwhelming feeling of achieving any goal we set our mind to. We don’t have time to cry because we have bridges to cross, a thesis/dissertation to write, children to tend to, a home to care for, businesses to run, books to write, panels to speak on. The nights are long and sometimes the money is tight. How do we do it? How do we not let the world cave in on us ?

Speaking for myself, I know how easy it is to give up. I did give up a few times, because the load can simply be too heavy for us to bare. AND THAT’S OKAY! I think we are so hard on ourselves sometimes because the world depends on us. If you look around, we have the most wise, educated, talented, women of grace raising future leaders of the world, (some are doing it all while being a single mother, kudos to all the mothers). The load gets heavy but the strong doesn’t let it weigh us down. Through adversity and experiences it has shaped our black woman to be as mighty as a lion and still as gentle as a bluebird (S/O to Lyfe Jennings).

And, I’m rooting for you to keep shooting for the stars and beyond sis.

Adulting. What did I sign up for?

As a young, educated, black woman, I have found that the transition from undergraduate, to graduate student, to career status, to be difficult, surprising, but everything I expected and more. As I have mentioned in my first blog post about relocating after undergrad, I have learned that the greatest risk, is not taking one. My struggle with transitioning from that bright-eyed undergraduate, to a young professional was an eye opener. I thank my beloved university, Lincoln University for paving the way and preparing me for the real world, BUT, what LU did not prepare me for was how to handle the blues that came with being an adult. We were so spoiled in college. If we wanted to eat, we would go to the cafeteria or order out. If we wanted to party, all we had to do was walk across campus to the nearest get together or the SUB, and lets not forget Homecoming, Spring Fling, Pump Handle, and every other turn up. When I needed a friend, it was nothing to call a friend and meet them at their dorm or the U. Everything was literally at our fingers. When I graduated May 10th 2013, and moved to NC on July 26th 2013, boy, was I in for it.

Adulting-  the responsibilities that one did not sign up for, but must take care of. 

I quickly learned the ups and downs of adulting- apartment shopping, car shopping, budgeting, bills, tuition paying, food shopping, credit cards, debt, flat tires, accidents (boy oh boy) and everything else that seems to get in the way of us pursing our life goals. I had to recognize that I am now in control of my life. My parents or guardians can only do so much . As an adult, on my own, I wasn’t as prepared to face the challenges I did over the next few years. . There has been plenty of nights I cried because I didn’t know where my next meal was coming from, how I was going to get gas, failing grades, no one to turn to, completely STRESSED you hear me?! But wasn’t this what I asked for? Bills are due, rent is due, in between jobs. What to do?

The first thing I learned, was that I can pray or worry, but I can’t do both! I am the QUEEN of worrying. I will literally stress my self out to the point all I want to do is lay and bed. But when you have life hanging over your head and your troubles seems like its never ending, I’ve learned that you have to put in the work, be still and let God have his way. Each obstacle we face while adulting is meant to teach us a lesson once we cross that hurdle. If we constantly find ourselves repeating the same old cycle in life, maybe there is a lesson that you haven’t learned yet and God is trying to show you/teach you how to come out of it. But everything I went through after graduation I’ve learned that it’s what I prayed for, and I had to let God handle my worries. Of course that is easier to say when a debt collector is calling you or you are afraid of getting your car repoed. It’s easier said than done when you needed that one extra point to pass that class or you won’t graduate next semester. My only advice to those going through it, is GROW through it. Focus on the good in every situation. I’ve learned to thank him for that roof over my head, the bank account I was able to open if if I didn’t have any money, and the support all the way back home. Watch him work!

Although I am still adulting, my first year after undergrad taught me that you are meant to experience everything you went through to prepare you for your next phase in life. You will look back one year from now and think wow, I didn’t think I would get through that period of my life, but you did!

-Ty.

Moving to a new city after graduation: The risks, the falls, the testimony

We often see those memes about taking risks on dating, jobs, etc. That was my life, the year I graduated college in 2013. I had packed up all of my belongings to attend graduate school in North Carolina. I had just knew, that me taking a risk like this would put me in a greater position financially, spiritually, mentally, etc. I just knew that I would walk way with a degree, a stable life, my peace, my sanity, and all of this black girl magic that we all love . I wanted the recognition, to mark off my “goals and aspirations list”, to walk away from a M.Ed in a field I love and by any means necessary, I was going to get it.

My first semester in graduate school, I failed horribly.. Until I received my M.Ed. in 2016, I was embarrassed of this aspect of my life and have never made it known. I quietly shut my friends and my family out, I made rash impulses on jobs, apartments, and began to sink into a deep depression. Upon graduating in 2013, everyone knew that I was heading to North Carolina to pursue a higher education. The fact is, I just wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready to take the risk of moving away to a new city, starting a new job or school like those memes suggest.
I remember arriving to North Carolina in August of 2013, on the Greyhound. All I had was $500 , suitcases waiting for me at the post office (that was ruined upon  arrival), and the realization that this was very real. This was when anxiety and depression began to set in. As someone who always struggled with family dilemma, friendships, and relationships, I was used to being alone.My first year in graduate I spent holed up in my room, the library, ignoring places where I had to interact with people. I didn’t make much friends, nor did I have time. I was lost in a city that I talked about since I was a little girl.
My spring semester in graduate school, I switched programs. Again. This would make the third time I have switched programs and I was beginning to become overwhelmed with the thought that maybe graduate school just wasn’t for me. My financial aid was taken away from me, I had quit my job, and had to find a new apartment with absolutely no money. I had nothing except my dignity.
I questioned every decision of taking a risk without a backup plan. I had none, it the fear or returning home with failure on my back was just to great to bear. But as someone with a passionate and ambitious spirit, I had to tap into my inner self to not let a few no’s deter me from my ultimate goal. I quickly learned that the source of my strength comes from the hills above, and if I didn’t have anyone else to rely on, knowing that I gave it my all despite the outcomes gave me the ultimate confirmation that (It’s gon be alright!, K.Lamar voice).So I stopped holding on to the dream and plan that I have mapped out for myself. My path to education, to financial freedom, to sound stability is not the same as everyone else’s. If I haven’t taken the risk to move away, I wouldn’t recognize the woman I am today. I wouldn’t know how high I can jump, how to get over disappointments and betrayals, how to make something out of nothing.
4 years later and I’m still finding my purpose. I’ve finally received my M.Ed last year, after leaving my beloved graduate school that was doing more harm than good. I secured a job in my field, received my degree, and somehow gotten back on my feet.  I turned away from those professors who said I would never receive a degree from their program, from those jobs who tried to out me, to the friends who betrayed me, and to my impulse decisions that shaped me into the woman I am today. As I look back on my decision to move away to a new city, I’ve realized that life has a grand way of kicking you down in order to build you up. You are meant to GROW through every situation, to LEARN from your mistakes, and to believe that your tests are your TESTIMONIES.
You are allowed to stumble. You are allowed to fall, and fall again, a dozen times. But the greater reward is high how you bounce when you fall. And when I continue to fall, I remember that God is within her, she will not fail. -Psalm 46:5
4 years later and I’m in a new city, ready to risk it all, and fall again.