Fair Weather

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The weather outside was beautiful! The temperatures made it to sixty-three degrees in February and being that this is the northeast this was phenomenal. January we had storm after storm, breaking records and causing people to become short-tempered or like me depressed. Back in January the snow banks were over six feet along the roads, and on-street parking was virtually impossible. Entering and exiting my driveway was a half hour ordeal because of all that ice build-up. My wheels were trying to navigate into the extremely narrow driveway, and the tires squealed loudly in protest. I was determined to win this battle because I have four-wheel drive. If I had purchased that mustang like I was contemplated I would have been doomed.

There were snow advisories, school and flight cancellations and your typical panic to go to the store to buy milk,bread and groceries. I don’t ever recall this growing up, this sheer mania like we were facing the end of the world. Us kids couldn’t wait to go outside and play and leaped for joy when school was cancelled. It was lovely going outside to watch the beauty of nature and then throw snowballs at each other.

Unfortunately for me, since I am an adult winter slows me down and saddens me. It feels so long and you really can’t go out and frolic like you can during the other seasons, particularly in the spring, summer, fall. The skies are gray and the days are shorter so there is more darkness. One year I purchased a “Happy Light” from Costco’s and let me tell you that light was bright, I felt like I was in another season besides dreary winter. I see why theses light boxes are popular in places such as Sweden. If I lived in Seattle.WA where it rains all the time or Alaska, which experiences so much darkness I would kept that baby on, electric bill de damned.

My mom who stays in bed all the time due to her disability and partly because of her strong will have a vitamin D deficiency. Sunlight would help her tremendously but she is hell-bent on not taking her vitamins or strolling outside in her electric scooter. Relatives have tried to get her to move down south where it is warmer but she refuses. Talk about stubbornness.

Now I recall living in Fl for some time and despite the Sunshine State’s pleasant weather, I was mildly depressed. I believe I was in the beginning stages of realizing something was wrong, but could not pinpoint it. I worked and promptly went to sleep. I isolated myself and had very few friends. I felt out of the loop because I was an outsider; I wasn’t an island girl, I was a Latina and I wasn’t Black enough. The minute I opened my mouth there was a [problem and I missed my hip hop and house music; Miami Bass was the king.

I did hang out with Whites, but one said some unflattering things about Black people in the teacher’s lounge so then that friendship ended. I just had trouble making a connection and felt something was missing. I guess the expression “Fair Weather Friends”  come to mind because these are people who abandon you when you are down and bail out on you.A true friend is by your side and has your back no matter what. Loyalty and integrity are so important. I know some people choose your friends simply for what the other person can do for you, or if they fit a certain mode. This to me sounds so superficial and I am better off without them.

Lesson learned: Get out and enjoy the good weather, protect yourself against the winter doldrums and seek true friends!

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My Funny Valentine

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The other day I was on Facebook and I saw where women took pictures of their balloons, flowers and chocolates that they received from their significant others, family members and friends. I am quite sure there were women who bought their own gifts to make it look like they had a Valentine, a ploy that many desperate girls and women have used for years. But truthfully, who are you fooling? You know the truth. If goes to the many articles that I have read on how the holidays are difficult for single people, particularly women on a holiday that is really supposed to be about love. I  was encouraged by the thoughtful posts by male and females who wished EVERYBODY a happy holiday, whether you were in a relationship or not. It is vital that we love ourselves first and foremost, if we want love in our lives. How can you be in a successful relationship if you don’t love yourself, are stingy and non-demonstrative with love and dwell in past hurts and disappointments?

There is even the bigger picture of  loving God which further enhances love in all of your surroundings. having grace and compassion for others opens your world to a whole plethora of experiences and you will find that you have deeper, lasting relationships with friends in general, as opposed to superficial encounters, because you are radiating love. God places people in your life for a reason, and there is always a lesson to be learned.

Of course, if you are dealing with hurting people who lack the ability to express love, then you have a problem. If your friendship or relationship is one-sided, where is the joy in that? Therefore, you cannot pursue  it because then you end up being unfulfilled.  The meeting of like minds and like hearts seem instant, and you never have to guess where you stand with the other individual. I always wondered why I would pursue guys that were commit-phobic when the answer lied within me. I was broken and I was a reflection of them. Because in this case, similarities breed attraction, both parties knew that time together would be short-term or lackluster, something that was as Marion Wright Edelman term as “sex without the gratification”.

We want things in our culture quickly; we get impatient with waiting in lines, and driving in our cars. For some reason, people thought that the  Great Recession that almost could have been worse would be over immediately and jobs would appear overnight. Well, the factors that lead to the Great Recession did not happen so quickly but occurred over many years. People do not know how to wait, meditate, plan, investigate and then react. Relationships take time to cultivate and nourish. Only fools rush in and then you have two people wondering “why didn’t I see this coming?” Outsiders and experienced people who have lived on earth longer know and can predict if it will last. You really have to take time to really know someone and not get caught up in appearance, status, money, sex. One needs to ask themselves what do I bring to the table and what do I want and what attributes and I looking for in a relationship. If you are a male and you are concerned about a women’s banging body or a female and the size of a man’s wallet, then please know that what you have is a relationship that is standing on precarious ground and won’t even last a season.

I do not want to make the same mistakes at love over and over, so I am looking at successful relationships and they all say the same thing: friendship first, a belief in God, the ability to compromise and laughter. Those are the ingredients to longevity.

So for me to get bent out of shape over a virtual Valentine that was forwarded from someone else, a Happy Valentine Text, gas station flowers, a sub par greeting card is a non issue. These greetings and or gifts were all the sender could muster up. Maybe they are sending me a veiled message…I know I certainly missed the hundreds of gifts I received over the years as a public school teacher. But, it was just that, I was with these young people for most of the day and I tried to impart as much knowledge and wisdom as I could; I learned just as much from them as they did from me. Consequently, the students reveled in the joy of giving, and it was meaningful.

The last-minute, hastily gathered sentiments and gifts were from individuals who were fully invested in me…there was always some reluctance on their part. But that’s okay with me. Real recognizes real and one day when I am at my best I will find my counterpart. I am proud of myself for not becoming dejected over a holiday that can be perceived as commercial and painful to the “singletons”. Love thyself and God. One.

She Gets It From Her Momma

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The other day I accompanied my parents to the doctor’s office. My mom is seventy-three and has had rheumatoid arthritis most of  her life, along with major chronic depression that has never been treated. She has had knee and hip replacement surgeries but never followed up with any therapy and basically has spent two decades in bed. Mom’s hands are curled up and she has no mobility due to the lack of muscle movement and no physical activity. She is in a lot of pain and does not take any mediation or supplements. Her diet is appalling, and she has shriveled away to bones.

She has checked out of living for many decades, and its toll is very alarming. The family has tried in vain to get her to go see doctors, to accept health care workers and outside assistance and now it’s at a point where authorities have to intervene…My father is in no position to take care of her because he is ten years older than her! It is sad to see your parents in this state but the writing was on the wall decades ago. Stubborn resistance to happiness and good health is counterproductive and breeds more depression, and others are impacted by it. The immediate family and extended family all are effected by this disorder, and bitterness, infighting become the normal way to react.

The question then is, how can I get better with my depression and health issues if things are dysfunctional at ground zero?

Eat Something, Already

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If you were tuned in yesterday, you would recall that I slept all day and had serious cramps. Well the solution was simple: after I ate something solid as opposed to Boost Plus Protein Drinks, I felt much better. My body was trying to tell me that consuming liquid food was not enough and I needed to get my behind up and get some real food! So once I consumed some carbs it was much better for the home team. The next day I ventured outside the house and into the below freezing weather and I have to say doing that refreshed me. Just walking to put the trash bin at the end of the driveway felt wonderful. There was less than an inch of snow on the ground and I thought about shoveling for a mini workout. Later I plan to go to my favorite grocery store, Aldi’s, to pick up some healthy food. I already have brown rice and yams, so I am thinking chicken and fish. The scary part of this vignette was I knew this already. Yesterday, then was a Pity Party Day, so I’m telling myself, “It ain’t that type of party!” Peace.

Note:  Aldi’s is a no-frills, bag your own groceries, no courtesy desk store where the store brands are actually tasty. They are based out of Germany and you can money by shopping here, especially if you are on a fixed income like myself.

Female Trouble

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I mentioned yesterday that I would discuss how Blacks view the medical community.  I wanted to give you specific facts but I cannot at this time. You see, today I had serious cramps caused by my fibroid tumors. I had a procedure to reduce them back in July and the larger ones have decreased in size, but they are within the muscles of my uterus causing pain and fatigue. I took two Advil this morning and hoped the pain would go away. It did, but in one area on my right side. Now I have pain in my lower back area; the nurse showed me on the ultrasound how  massive the fibroid was pre-procedure. I don’t know if I am ovulating  at this time. I am in the perimentrual phase of my life being forty-five years old and all. From the age of fourteen on I have had periods that wrecked havoc on my life. At the age of eighteen I started taking birth control pills in order to have less pain during my cycles and that helped but the side effect was nausea.

I have just listed to conditions that have exacerbated my depression: uterine fibroids and painful menstrual periods. It is enough to make one go over the edge. So today, I slept, with my puppy by my side. I will try to get back to you soon.

Why This Blog Is Neccesary

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I am writing this blog because there is not enough information on depression in the African-American community. There is a stigma about this disorder and people believe that you can simply “snap out of it” like removing a synthetic hair wig off of your head. You bought the wig at one of the thousands of Black beauty supply stores because you thought what was on your head was more important that was going inside your head. So you try to hide your illness, or some of you sisters are not even aware you have an illness. Consequently, the addictions develop because you think that is a way to deal with your feelings and the emptiness inside. The addictions can be too numerous. I like many young and middle-aged women fell into the whole Carrie Bradshaw thing of buying designer clothing and or knock offs, just to be fashionable. I had to have a walk in closet to display my rows of shoes like Oprah, or the pretty large lipped actress on “Girlfriends”, whose name escapes me because I haven’t seen her in a while. (I hope she is getting those residuals).

Speaking of addictions, In Style magazine was a culprit too. Whatever the must have handbag, designer jean or beauty product they were “pushing”, I wanted it. I knew all about brand names and particular shades like Nar’s Orgasm Blush or MAC’s lip glass in “Oh Baby”. Magazines and catalogues  from Victoria’s Secret and Spiegel arrived on a daily basis. Like a crack head, I craved that next purchase of  shoes from Zappos.com, because they shipped within twenty-four hours. The credit/debit card was held in my hand and I would wield it back and forth like it was a crack pipe. And once the, Thank you for your purchase screen with my order number I exhaled and slumped over in my seat. The transaction was complete and my brain felt rejuvenated.

The shoes arrived promptly but having large feet due to my height I had to stretch them out for a couple of days. So the shoes were put on hold. I thought of the outfit I would wear to work and all the compliments I would receive and that boosted my ego. But in the meantime….I must get ready for spring fashion and I need to search for some size ten shoes or even better size eleven shoes…..My mind was racing like a crack addict, scheming on who to rob, what has value, which pawn shop to go to because I don’t want them to think I am a regular. So I am on the computer again, no one is to have these shoes and it will be one of a kind because that’s how I roll.

And so on. I must share with you that depression runs on both sides of my family. Everybody knows this but it is not really discussed, like it is the proverbial elephant in the room. Members of my extended family have been hospitalized and entered treatment programs, yet they tell me, I don’t know what’s wrong with you and you need to get yourself together. Did I mention that most of my family members are social workers and teachers, because if you were educated those were one of the few fields where you could get hired if you were “colored”.

We are from a line of HBCU grads and prominent universities; some of us have advanced degrees and my family members still don’t get it. There are public libraries with books on psychology and bookstores with comfy chairs and mocha caramel coffee where one can peruse the self-help section. Oh, wait, there is also this thing called the internet. No one understands depression in my family and they damn don’t understand it in the Black community. It is straight up denial.

Before I get a comment from someone outside the Black race, please understand the distrust that Blacks have for medicine and doctors. I will talk about that in my next post.

Hello world!

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