Gratitude by the hour.

Alright, so rather than go on a long and winding diatribe about how grateful I am for all I have (see my Facebook wall for that), I’m going to give you a quick and dirty trick I picked up for keeping gratitude with me all year.  While my friend Mekkah and I were working on some project or another, a robotic voice announced the time.  It grabbed my attention even while we were up to our necks in concept creation. She quickly informed me that I wasn’t loosing my mind and that it was her computer announcing the time.  She sets a reminder for every hour so she isn’t late to her appointments.

A light bulb turned on immediately. It had to be  some type of divine intervention, but in that very moment I decided to add the same setting to my computer, only I was going to do it to remind myself to be grateful. Every hour, on the hour (when my comp is on, which is a lot) for the last few weeks  a robotic Australian voice announces the time to which I simply respond “thank you”.  I am already seeing results in the form of a mild shift in my attitude. When I’m frustrated or angry and I hear the time, I still say thank you. That millisecond taken reminds me that it’s never as bad as I think it is. If I’m in a great place, it reminds me to give thanks for that too.

There’s my trick.  I hope you find use for it or something similar.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Rosie.

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1096: A Testimony.

I woke up yesterday morning at approximately the same time I did on November 10, 2009.  On November 10, 2012, I knew exactly where I was; at home.  I was in my less than savory bedroom with clothes in need of washing, papers in need of filing.  My first thought, as usual, was “Okay, what do I have to do today?”  November 10, 2009 was worlds different.  I woke up not knowing where I was and only vaguely sure who I was.  Dirty clothing and assorted documents were the least of my worries.  I was sick, in my body, in my mind, and worst of all in my spirit.  That morning I knew, in a way that old women tend to know things, that if I didn’t stop getting high, I was going to end up dead or in a situation where I sorely wished I was.

It’s hard to describe the type of desperation one feels during a bottom.  The closest I could come would be to say it’s like an animal caught by it’s leg in a steel trap.  That would be the obsession element of addiction.  You’re there, stuck, you know something bad is going to happen if you don’t get out.  You’d be willing to chew your leg off to get out, but you can’t. You’re too terrified to think.  So, that’s the cycle of thought:

I want to stop.  I can’t.  I’m afraid.

(repeated so often, in my case that I was ready to drive off a bridge … literally.)

Then, you hear the hunter coming.  It’s the compulsion element and you know once it has a hold of you, your ass is done.  During active addiction, when the hunter shows up, you freeze up.  He gets you, fricassees that ass, and serves you for supper. The wonderful part about a bottom, if you’re realize you’re at one, is you become willing to chew your fucking leg off (or anything else for that matter.)

On November 10, 2009 I chewed my leg off, well I should say, I removed the trap with the help of my family, my friends, a great recovery program, and my higher power.  Yesterday marked the three year anniversary of my escape from the trap, the thing with addiction is, the trap is out their waiting for me at any time.  The minute I forget that and think it’s  safe for me to test the hunter, is the moment of my assured doom.

While I must stay vigilant, being clean for me hasn’t just been about existing in a bubble while being afraid of my own shadow.  It’s been the opposite in fact.  Abstaining is just that, not using while white knuckling it through existence. Recovery has turned my world on it’s  ass challenging everything I ever thought about my life and myself.  It makes me realize just how great things can be. I have lived more boldly, honestly, and beautifully in the last three years than I had in the thirty-three that proceeded them.  Gratitude only scratches the surface of what I feel about my life right now.

Someone told me the other day that my story was an inspiration. I cringed a little, as compliments make me squirm, but it’s true.  Well no, maybe my life a testimony.  That’s it!  It’s a testimony that an overweight black girl raised poor in a housing project can persevere through sex abuse, being raised by and then becoming a single parent, a turbulent marriage, addiction, frequent battles with self hatred and loneliness  and host of other internal cluster fucks. The beauty of it is, my testimony isn’t the only one.

So, on my anniversary I’d like to wish you the best life you can possibly live.  Make it your testimony, your highest truth.

Rosie.

1095 days + today = One day at a time.

You B**** You!

*the following is a reflection of my experience as a triple minority (black/fat/female), any similarities to your experience(s) or that of your loved ones is purely coincidental. Yes, I do realize that my views may be irrational to some, but this here is my blog … I write what the hell I want.

Some folks make we want to draw the purse strings of my human decency closed … Around their neck … Until they are dead. Case in point (and keeping it one hundred, the reason for this post): My dearest friend Eric and I arrive at a high end apartment complex on the high end side of town. We unemployed/lower middle class plebes actually have a friend that lives there. Upon entering the building, walking past an intense argument between a young Asian gentlemen and a female building attendant bickering over the gentleman’s squatters rights, we approach the elevator. The doors open. Dog. BIG dog. REALLY big dog, one of those sombitches that could stand taller than a human being. I don’t know dogs (i.e. breeds, temperaments, blah, blah, blah), but I do know my history with dogs. It’s dicey at best.

Upon seeing the beast my knee jerk reaction came in words:

“That’s the biggest dog I’ve ever seen in my life.” (a slight exaggeration, but it was preeety damn close to accurate.)

Then came an unexpected rebuttal:

Really?” (dripping with sarcasm)

Pan up from the annoying shoe gloved feet, to slender frame draped work out couture, to JINORMOURS diamond encrusted left ring finger, to almond colored skin, to oval face, to the jenkiest weave I’ve seen in three months.

again, in that bitchesque tone she says:

“Really?!”

As if I were her child and I was carrying on over some non-existent ghost under my bed.

“Yes, really.” I managed.

“He’s a Golden.” she quips …

…like I should have known that at birth, when I honestly didn’t give a fuck what breed it was and didn’t in fact own a pet of the furry variety until I was 22. It wasn’t long before I realized that the dog should have been the least of my worries.  It’s master had already proven herself to be a bigger bitch than it could ever dare to be.

Already exasperated by a day full of assorted strangeness we board the elevator.

“Two, please.” I says.

*blank stare* (I mean blank fucking stare, as if I’d been speaking Mandarin.)

Now, regular well adjusted human beings on an elevator standing next to the buttons will often extend the courtesy of pushing the button for the floor(s) others will be heading to. This bitch was not a regular well adjusted human being. The dog actually had a better shot at being one.

“Oh, I don’t work here.”

In that instant I became more disgusted with her than I had been with any human being in a very long time.  Her snobbish tone and don’t-you-know-who-the-fuck-I’m-is glare made me want to break something … like her face, her fingers, her legs, well you get it.  And I’ll be straight up and say that it’s mainly ego that made me so furious with her.  Nobody likes to be belittled openly or covertly and this is what this chick was doing.  Somehow the circumstances of this … woman’s life had lead her to believe that extending common courtesy was grossly beneath her, and I’ll go further to say she believed that my friend and I were beneath her.

And … I’ll go even further in my attempt to be honest with myself about the situation and say her impudence carried an extra sting because she was black.  There is an implied sense (at least in my black experience) that we are all in this together.  This implied sister/brotherhood was grossly violated, and I resented the hell out of her for it.  I’d come to expect this type of behavior out of certain types of white folk, but I’d venture to say that even their sense of superiority wouldn’t have prevented them from pushing  a damn elevator button for another human being.

During that small exchange  some small part of me knew that I probably had more grace and character in my toe nails than she had in her entire self-centered frame. Me having the common sense that God and my Nana gave me I knew the truth, but my ego didn’t.   Thus this passive aggressive post, because sometimes I just have to allow myself to be fully angry. Now I have been, and since carrying resentments are like eating rat poison and expecting your enemy to die, I’ll let it go. I’ll move forward knowing that in the not so distant future when I am a filthy rich and famous writer standing by the buttons on the elevator of my exclusive condominium complex, when someone boards and says:

“Two, please.”

I shall not hesitate to have my well trained, denim clad chimp press 2. 😛

Rosie.

ok … I’m done for real.

Count it all joy.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. –  James 1:2-6 The Bible (NIV)

I am not a bible-y person.  I am not at all religious in fact.  I can be buddhist-y or christian-y or hindu-y depending on how I’m moved on any given day.  Over the last few weeks people in my life (friends/co-workers) have been moving through some pretty tough life situations. As I heard about each one I felt a deep sadness.  While they are not my personal situations and some don’t directly effect me, there is a spirit of compassion that I am fortunate enough to have that allows me to see the interconnectedness of all human beings in existence. It is that compassion, that “gift of sight”, that saddles my spirit with sadness during the calamity of others and fills me with joy during their triumphs. Despite the emotional roller coaster is sometimes produces,  I’m grateful for it.

At the cradle of my at times esoteric beliefs is this:  There IS  something … a force, a body, a spirit … that guides us through life and for the most part seeks to protect us from our silly selves.  This force is kind, never cruel or judgmental. It speaks to us through music, art, people, situations, and every now and then it whispers sweet nothings into our spirit.  Last night while I was trying to comprehend the loss a long time co-worker and friend of mine and his family was enduring the words “Count it all joy …” were whispered into my spirit.  This morning they were still there, so I did what any curious 21st century adult would do; I consulted Google.

Imagine my surprise when I found out it was biblical.  Imagine my delight when the words that followed were ones of comfort and encouragement that reassured me that despite what we may be going through it will not only be okaybut if we choose to … we will thrive! They were just the words needed at the appropriate time.  That’s how it works … and it is indeed all good 🙂.

If any of my folk happen to come by this reading, know that I am there with you in spirit always, and in the flesh if you need me. As bad as it feels right now, there is joy on the other side.  My experience bears this out.

Rosie.

Drowning in tears vs. Water for growth

I could have baptized a small village with my tears today. I guess sometimes it just has to go down like that.  I’m in the middle of a written self discovery process that would be kindred to shoving a sharp instrument into your gut through your navel and emptying your abdominal contents on the floor for you to then examine and analyze. (Next, I get to examine them with someone else!)  Sounds harsh, but at certain points I’d rather opt to literally shovel my guts out.  Emotional pain is  horrible, but the pain of me being stuck repeating the same stupid shit over and over again is a fate worse than death.

Good news is I have a lot of love and support, and every time I have a day like this the universe sees fit so send me a silver lining.  Today it was:  THE AFROBEATLES! When I came across this ingenious mash up situation, my tears dried, my ass shook, and the world … if only for 1:47 … became a better place.  Enjoy!

“Water no get enemy.” –Fela Kuti

“The farther one travels, the less one knows.” – The Beatles

Rosie.

More here!

http://www.jumpnfunk.com/#11435

i want me to want me.

Phrases like:

“The only way for someone to love you, is for you to love yourself first.”

or

“To thine own self be true!”

OR

“You’re special just the way you are! God don’t make no junk!”

Make me want to strangle the well meaning sages that deliver them unto me with a recently ripped off chain of kitten tails, and  I would two except for two things:

1.  I love kittens.  Oh how I love kittens.

and

2.  I know, as hokey as they may sound, all that bullshit is true.

Where does one start though? Regular mani-pedi’s?  Dinner for one? Movie dates with yourself? Meh … while that stuff helps, my experience has led me to believe that it’s best to start here:

Sarah Baartman a.k.a. The Venus Hottentot.  (It is strongly advised that you click her name to gain a broader … pardon the pun … perspective on the history of black female sexuality and the western world.)  Sarah, which is ironically my grandmother’s name, could be my butt naked body double (or I should say, I hers).

Sarah (B), is definitely where I’m at.

The hardest part of  accepting myself has been getting past my body image.  I have lost tremendous amounts of weight.  Gained part of it back. I have cut, pasted, prayed, and starved in an effort to deny my Sarah Baartman body.  She will not be denied.  I have to accept what most diet/exercise programs don’t tell you … your body type is your body type.  I will never diet away my thunder thighs or the delectable craters found within my ass cheeks.

Now maybe your issues have nothing to do with good ole Sarah, maybe it’s your nose, or your relentless uni-brow. No matter, it’s not about what the thing you dislike about yourself is (at least not for me).  It’s the fact that it exists.  It’s the fact that my feelings about my weight , are a parasite that has drilled itself into my psyche and taken up residence.  It is with me of every moment of everyday whispering gems like:

“He couldn’t possibly want someone that looks like you, don’t even embarrass yourself by saying hello or even looking at him.”

or

“You look terrible in anything you put on,  so what’s the point.”

…and some that are just too unbearable to write here.

The only way that I’ve found to battle back the parasite that works (as alcohol, mani-pedi’s, and self-dates proved to be dismal failures) is facing that sonofabitch head on. There ain’t a quick fix on the market that trumps honest, loving self appraisal.  It’s a journey that I’ve been on for most of my life, but the honesty part just crept in about two years ago. Needless to say, it’s been a rough, albeit rewarding, two years.

More recently, as recent as this past Wednesday, I had another … break through? break down?  Hell, I broke … and had to come to accept that a man that I’d endeared myself to, for far longer than I should have, would likely never be able to give me what I needed or wanted from him.  I had been holding out hope that somehow if I proved how awesome I was to him that he would have some type of miraculous epiphany, look past my misshapen body, and “pick me” giving me a chance at the relationship I’d so desperately wanted.*

*Yes, on an intellectual level I know this is bullshit, I cringe as I write it, but it’s what my inner dialogue had been.

If I’m honest, and again I try to be these days, I’ll have to say that it wasn’t necessarily him, but ALL of the “hims“.  All of the men and the shitty situations that came with them, that I settled for because on a gut level I assumed that no one else would want me. It’s the parasite, the disease, my thinking (call it what you will), that had me believing that one sided situations with emotionally or otherwise unavailable men were all I could hope for. Now?  I’m just too exhausted to give a fuck.

The prospect of being sans a partner for the rest of my life is no longer terrifying.  The prospect of wasting my life lying in wait of what might be, is.  So if being single is what it is for me right now (or longer) I need to continue to do the work of being okay with the person I wake up to everyday.  I have to take care of me which for me includes:

-Taking care of my emotional and spiritual self by continuing do the work of recovery.

-Taking care of the one and only body I will ever be given by eating right and exercising, not toward any magical goal weight, but because it feels good.

-Getting enough rest.

-Setting healthy boundaries in my relationships, which include running in the opposite direction when I see the red flags.

-Taking care of my responsibilities (having bad credit is no longer “cute”).

-And most important, CONTINUING TO WRITE!

Despite all my emotional ups and downs I do feel a shift happening.  With continued hard work and perseverance,  I might just fall in love with myself, Hottentot table top ass and all, at some point before I’m dead ;).

Rosie.

Oh the irony.

Uncle 2.0 (A kinder gentler surrender.)

When I began the graduate school application process I tried to maintain the belief that no matter the outcome, “good” or “bad”, that it had nothing to do with my ability to write or my value as a writer. I probably should have taken it to the next level and said that it had nothing to do with my value as a human being, because ultimately it doesn’t.

Grad school was to me was about what I valued.  I value education.  I enjoy becoming educated. Academia is my home girl.  However, I do realize that there are non-conventional ways of receiving the education I desire, and if it ends up that those are the avenues I have to stroll down that it is okay.  The sting of my experience comes from valuing the means of getting my education more than I do the education itself.

There is a balance I seek to find between my desire to achieve and the realization that my achievements do no supersede my humanity. There is absolutely nothing wrong with me wanting to succeed, but that success should not come at the expense of what really matters, my life and happiness. Looking back over the last few months I can see that I have been highly driven, but not exactly enjoying my life, even during times that were intended to be enjoyable.

I’m entering an easier phase of surrender as I continue to raise my white flag and wave it at Tisch Asia (the game is not entirely over, but it appears to be a blow out). At this point, I’m not too clear on “what’s next”.  I’m still feeling some residual yuckiness, but I know it is dangerous for me to live here.  I want to hide because I am embarrassed and ashamed, but I won’t.  Instead I’ll volunteer to be the fool that is brave enough to fail fantastically and be willing to tell the tale.

Rosie.