Control Freak

The beginning of Sza’s song Supermodel includes a clip about control.

That is my greatest fear. That if I lost control. Or did not have control. Things would just, you know. I. It would be fatal.

Sza, Supermodel

It resonated with me.

I admit it.

I’m a control freak.

I don’t even think I mean to be. 

My obsession with being in control is directly connected to my childhood.

The adults around me failed to take charge when and where (I thought) it was necessary. This resulted in me being forced to function normally in chaos and dysfunction all of the time. I felt helpless quite a lot. 

That fear of feeling helpless impacts almost all of the relationships in my life. I prefer to have control of most of my interactions with people. 

I’m not a bitch about it or anything like that (I don’t think) but I do prefer to be in charge when I can. I enjoy planning things and trying to account for any deviations from the plans. If I’m planning a road trip, I’m going to account for traffic, accidents, flat tires etc. If it’s a celebration, I can almost guarantee that I’ve accounted for the caterer to show up late or not at all. 

Being in control keeps my anxiety and panic at bay. 

But I learned a very valuable lesson recently.

Last week my car wouldn’t crank.

I just got the car at the end of May.

What the fuck could possibly be wrong now?

It was so random. I was stuck in a Ross parking lot on my lunch break. Midday. In hot ass Texas. 

There was no way I could have planned for this. However, I was somewhat prepared. I had jumper cables. I had access to roadside assistance. That’s as far as the preparation could go. I had to accept that head on. I simply had no control over the car not starting.

Instead of freaking out this time, I paused. It wasn’t the appropriate time to fall apart. It was time to strategize so that I can get back up and running until I could get to a mechanic to figure out what was wrong with it. I asked a stranger to jumpstart my car and then I drove it back to my apartment. I got another jump from a friend and was able to get it to the dealership. The dealership arranged my transport to and from the dealership. There was a screw missing on the battery and a clamp that was loose. Easy fix. I didn’t have to pay a dime for the “repair.” 

2 year plans are nice. Vision boards are smart. Following all of the directions serves its purpose most days. But they are simply preparation and the unexpected and unexplainable are simply bound to happen. Everything is temporary. Nothing is permanent. Shit happens. Things fall apart. Plans fail. People fall out of love. Friendships end. Loved ones die. 

As harsh as it sounds, it’s the reality of things. 

This isolated event served as a simple reminder that life is fluid and control is truly an illusion. 

JUST OUT OF CURIOSITY……

Do you consider yourself a control freak? Where does it stem from?

When do you feel most in control? When do you feel least in control?

How do you adjust when unexpected events happen in your life? Do you adjust in a healthy manner? If not, what could change?

It’s My Party……

And I cried because I NEEDED to,

You would cry too if you walked in my shoes.

Yesterday was my 31st birthday.

It was yet another year of celebrating life in the middle of this pandemic. Unlike most birthdays before last year, I wasn’t genuinely excited.

I knew that this year would be somewhat different since I now live in Texas and most of my family and friends live in North Carolina. 

It began as one of the most “un-birthday-est” birthdays ever. 

I’m used to celebrating throughout the week amongst friends, family and strangers alike. 

Karaoke.

Dinners.

Bar hops.

Vineyards.

Smoking cigars.

Kayaking.

Connecting with nature, 

Hood rat shit with my friends.

This pandemic forced me to do some serious shadow working.

I have had breakdowns galore. 

I have had some rough wild nights.

My support system is A1. 

This revolution around the sun is propelling me forward. I feel it. 

Leering go of the things that torement me. The things that kept me bound. The things that lived rent free in my head for far too long.

It was hindering all that I was trying to manifest.

And on my birthday things changed. 

There was shift. The good finally about to outweigh the bad. 

I got that message very loud and clear. 

Yesterday was an entire party just for me.

And dammit I cried!

Thank you all for allowing me to share this space with you in this lifetime. 

Time to rebrand.

#takemetochurch

The one good thing that’s come out of this pandemic is how much I’ve been able to network, especially online. Many have led to in person meet-ups. The nature of how we are connecting to people has changed since the onset of the pandemic. Those that were formerly camera shy have relocated themselves to the front of the lens. Those that have never imagined online dating are finally finding love. New friendships are emerging everyday amongst people that have shared interests. Seeing people connect with people they would have never connected with offline is beautiful. 

This was the case for Mila and I. We hadn’t met before the pandemic but are both alumnae of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Mila graduated in 2008 and I in 2013. We have hella mutual friends on Facebook and our mutual friend Chynna connected us. 

Initially the connection was for Mila’s podcast- The Pieces of Mi. On the podcast, Mila shares all of the pieces of herself which include mom shit, political shit, human journey shit and real hot girl shit. 

On this week’s episode, Mila, JaLissa and myself take a deep dive into our relationships with black folks and the church. 

Listen via the link below.

https://anchor.fm/thepiecesofmi

Podcast. Take Two.

So……I started another podcast. The last one I started Not Sufficient for Work was very short lived. And when I say short lived, I mean one episode. A week after I started the podcast, I started teaching at a high school and I definitely couldn’t afford for my employer or my students to get a hold of it. 

The current podcast Corporate America: I’ve Had Enough of You is based on my second book of the same title. Just like the last time, I began with very little experience creating a podcast. Lately I’ve been on a podcast binge and kept hearing the same messages about the Anchor app which was user friendly for a person like me to use with little to no equipment. Writing books and blogs was much easier but I saw this as a new opportunity to challenge myself creatively. 

It’s been three years since the book was published. My story resonated with and inspired so many people to prioritize their mental health, which for some, meant quitting their jobs. 

Now here I am three years later with those same “fuck this job” feelings about my current job. It seems to be a recurring theme in my work life which is slowly but surely leading me to believe that the reason I’ll continue to have these issues in the workplace isn’t because people really suck at leadership. It’s not because communication from the top down is ass. It damn sure isn’t because diversity initiatives are including more black faces in their company photos but not actually in leadership roles (because we know that that will never change.)

Deep down I know that I’m supposed to be working for myself. Doing what exactly? I still haven’t narrowed it down. Whatever it is, I’m sure it is a combination of writing, education and mental health. But until then, I’ve been focusing on getting the bills paid the old school way.

I don’t know if it’s because of the pandemic or divine timing but lately I’ve been feeling like my book was ahead of its time and that the time is NOW to revamp my efforts in its promotion. 

For the first time in my life (after recording the first episode) I actually loved my recorded voice. I also couldn’t use my favorite excuse that I wasn’t tech savvy. I recorded the episode from a voice memo in my bathroom. I cut out all the bullshit excuses and did that shit.

The Corporate America: I’ve Had Enough of You podcast is a space for me to share the experiences that shaped my book, my current work life and a safe place for other black women to share their similar experiences.

Check out both episodes here. Review, rate and share. Thanks!

Corporate America: I’ve Had Enough of You Podcast

Mindfulness

I bought an orange today

Not just any orange

But a Cara Cara orange

Did you know that it’s a cross between a Washington Navel orange and a Brazilian Bahia orange?

Me either.

I peeled that orange today.

Not just any orange.

But a Cara Cara orange.

I peeled it like us professional orange peelers do.

Using my right thumb as the first point of contact 

I think I went a little too deep because the juices started to seep

I didn’t mean to do that

I stared at that orange today.

Not just any orange. 

But a Cara Cara orange.

I learned that the white stuff that protects the inside 

Is actually called the “pith”.

I didn’t eat it per usual

I split the orange down the center and guess what?

It looked like a grapefruit!

I ate my orange today.

It was sweeter than any orange I’d ever eaten. 

It smelled as sweet as it tasted.

How can I ever go back to plain navel oranges after this?

I had to spread the good news.

Today. 

If only but for a moment, I was fully immersed in the present, enjoying my Cara Cara orange.

And the award goes to…..

In spirit of one of the podcasts that’s kept me afloat this year, The Brilliant Idiots, I think that this quote is reasonable.

If you think 2020 was your best year ever, you’re absolutely right. If you think 2020 was your worst year ever, you’re right too.

Many of us don’t even have the words for what 2020 was. 

Nothing I did was on my vision board. 

My planner looked like a kindergartener had scribbled through it.

I started a new job as a middle school teacher. 

I quit that new job and moved to Texas. 

We got hit with the pandemic quarantine. 

I made $1000 Instacarting one week. 

I got fired from Instacart. 

I had to ask my friends to help me pay my bills.

I finally have a bed after sleeping on a blowup mattress for months. 

I worked at the IRS for 2 days and quit. 

I worked at a hospital for a month. 

I fell in love again. 

If that isn’t Oscar worthy, I don’t know what is. 

2020 showed its ass. 

I’m actually eager to see what 2021 has in store. I’m rather used to this Jordan Peele production we’ve been in for 90% of 2020. 

I’m looking forward to all of the creative ideas being birthed from this pandemic. All of the healthy conversations that are taking place. People are reading again. People are writing again. Strangers are networking. Folks are finally pursuing their passions. 

I love to see it. 

Please do set intentions. 

Please do the shadow work. 

Manifest that shit!

2020. Deuces!

Escaping Survival Mode

According to Psychology Today, “survival mode” is an adaptive response of the human body to help us survive danger and stress. 

From the outside looking in, many people would assume that I had an overall healthy childhood and adolescence. I was raised by my grandparents in the country. I got good grades. I never came off as disobedient. My yes mams and no sirs were always polished. Despite being a “good kid” raised in a super religious household, my life has never been exempt from trauma and dysfunction. I am almost certain that I’ve suffered from depression for years undiagnosed. 

I recently read and shared an article that discussed the immobilizing effects of depression. I recognized myself immediately. I wasn’t in a position to get out of the environment that I was in so I mentally became immobile. I don’t remember how I learned to control my rage. How to play along. How to seemingly “fit” into that world until I could get out of it.

Fast forward to now.

At 30. Far removed from the people, places and things that brought the trauma and dysfunction into my life, I still catch myself functioning in survival mode.

It is very difficult to escape this mindset.

I’m constantly reminding myself. I question my decisions alot. Why am I doing this? When it’s time for me to make important decisions I ask myself if I’m doing what I want to do or what needs to be done? Anything involving money and I’m asking if I’m buying an item from a headspace of lack.

Whatever helps right?

To the person that resonates with this blog:

  1. How are you or have you been working on escaping a mindself of survival mode?
  2. What has been your biggest challenge?