What About Your Friends?

For many women, friends are our primary partners through life; they are the ones who move us into new homes, out of bad relationships, through births and illnesses.

-Rebecca Traister’s book

Female friendships are a topic I’ve avoided writing about. I have so many thoughts around the subject and yet nothing I felt would add anything meaningful to this blog. It’s true that I become wholly self-aware and self-conscious around the topic. However I’m here, attacking my trigger.

Where do I begin? So let me say that the age of online friendships is a gift and a curse. I blame Facebook. With the click of a button, you “Friend” someone. Is that all it takes? A passive, mindless act? You may never personally message that person, write on that person’s wall, or even have to remember that person’s birthday (FB does it for you.) But you made a new friend. On the other hand, when I learned of my acceptance into Howard University, I took to Twitter. I couldn’t anticipate the people who extended themselves like @PeaceLuvNicole. We met within weeks, and that made the transition a bit easier. There are people who are eager about taking the relationship offline, and I love and appreciate that. I started becoming more and more comfortable with the idea that I could meet some quality people by just initiating the gesture. Although I dealt with general anxiety from moving to a city where I knew 2 people and had no family, Twitter peoples helped through the process. 

Everyone is quick to “like” my minor triumphs and “heart” my Instagram photos — passive interaction has become the default setting, the status quo.

-Felicia Sullivan

I can make friends easier online. You learn a lot about someone based on what they post. It’s not the ideal way, but it’s easy, less risky and convenient. It’s passive. Trying to make friends in real life involves risk. Meeting strangers hoping and praying it leads to something can be disappointing.

Does she like me?

Does she think I’m talking too much?

Am I talking too much?

She’s so fashionable. I wish I could dress like that.

I’m 30 years old, why is this so difficult?

Truth is, I have a lot of standards because I invest a lot when I care for someone. To me, my standards are like the bare minimum of cultivating and sustaining a friendship.

  1. Thou must not be flaky. I’ve experienced a lot of people that will make plans one day, then inform me the day of that they can’t make it. REPEATEDLY.
  2. Thou must spend quality time. This is my love language, not negotiable. It’s the main reason why I make the effort to see friends that don’t live nearby. We connect when we are actually together.
  3. Thou must show REAL LIFE effort. Check-in with one another, attempt to go out and do stuff. You know, real basic and mutual.

I understand that different people need different things from friendships. I’ve always wanted a group of “girlfriends” that I could count on to do life together with. My history with friends has never amounted to that. It’s not to say it won’t happen, maybe it will take some adjusting of expectations.

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Some posts worth exploring:

What the Market Will Bear: The Long Game of Female Friendships

Sorry I’ve Been a Shitty Friend: A Multiple Choice Form Letter

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What About Your Friends?

Taking Risks: Summer 2016

Looking back in my archives of pictures in my inbox, I got some good laughs at some of the very bold things I did to my hair in my 20’s.

From the shortest hair-chop in 2010:

Shortest cut 2010

To my attempt at blonde:

Blondie

That color did not go well, and I “warmed up” and darkened it the next morning.

I lived the motto: Hair is a silly thing! I found it so freeing, to cut my hair and live my life simply getting used to the face looking back at me: raccoon eyes, big forehead, burgeoning curls, and cheekbones. I discovered eyelash extensions in NYC could take my “minimal make up” look to the next level. I discovered that I had the most confidence the shorter my hair length was. It takes a strong woman to be bold. It takes a confident man to love on that woman, too.

I still find it fun to experiment, but guardedly now. My last cut has not been my favorite to date, but I’ve altered it to where I feel comfortable now. Summer beckons and I got more exciting things to worry think about. I’ve got risks to take in the area of employment, entrepreneurship, and advancing my talk therapy goals. I’ve got places to see, new foods to eat, couches to break-in, trips to plan, wines to try, outfits to arrange, posts to write, word to devour, celebrations to partake in, offers to decline, plans to make, promises to witness.

Summer 2016 is looking great.

What risks are you taking this summer?

Taking Risks: Summer 2016

The “I don’t Wanna’s”

cry baby

It’s May 19th. While I lay in my bed with my space heater on blast, I can’t help but mentally fast-forward to the summertime. I want the heat, I want the lazy days, I want the “summer projects.” There’s almost 30 days left in the school year. I’m experiencing burn out with the amount of work that’s left to do, to not only close out a school year, but also clean out the speech room. The school where I’m assigned is closing. Just about every morning goes like:

I don’t wanna get up.

I don’t wanna be at that building.

I don’t wanna see [redacted]’s face.

I don’t wanna do therapy.

I don’t wanna write notes.

I don’t wanna plan.

I don’t wanna test. 

I don’t wanna type up a report. Or an IEP. 

I’ll be so glad when June 21st gets here. I don’t want to rush summer, but it’s VERY. MUCH. NEEDED. When the case of “I don’t wanna’s” hit, I am also reminded that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. This time shall pass. I try to focus on other things going on. Things that make me happy.

The thought of reading books.

Game of Thrones.

Food. And Drank. BBQ’s.

Making summer plans. Planning trips.

Thinking about what new positions to pursue. Actually searching and applying for them.

Spending time with Brandon. Traveling with him.

Cleaning out my home office, that has been in the same condition for 8 months.

Planning Book Chats. Writing.

The things that center me, the things I can do right from the comfort of my home. I try to remember that I can find some happiness in the simple things. That my home is a refuge, a safe place to lay down all my cares when I don’t want to deal with the world.

-She

 

 

The “I don’t Wanna’s”

Fear

Charlie Brown

I’m not writing the way I want to be, recently.

I am not free. I remember this feeling from when I was younger. I was 16 or 17 years old and I attended church at least 3 times a week (there’s Bible Study, choir rehearsal, church services.) Sunday services were at least 5 hours spent in church in one day alone. I attended an A.M.E. (African Methodist Episcopal) church where praise was lively and boisterous. My family didn’t grow up going to church. Well, my grandmother (the matriarch of my household) was a God-fearing woman but as the years went on, she stopped forcing her children and grandchildren to subscribe to her faith. When I attended the A.M.E church, I used to have a fear that my mother would see me vigorously praising in church and that she would drag me by the hair out of the building. Because our family wasn’t raised like that.

I used to have that thought a lot when I was in a church service. It was a youth church, so the adults would sit towards the rear of the church…and I would imagine when and how  I would be “yanked” out of the church. That fear never came true.

Fear is a common and popular sermon topic, it’s something I’m too familiar with– whether the threat was real or not. I always enjoy a good quote about battling “fears,” a good acronym, a helpful reminder on how faith should trump fear. Clever, but there is no step by step guide on how to conquer fears. Everyone’s road is unique.

Three decades on this Earth, and fear remains a personal battle. It’s fueled by doubt, the feelings of unworthiness, the unknown future. This is a big, bad, scary world. Sometimes, it’s easier to succumb to the thoughts. Some days are easier than others.

I’m in a mental prison…trying to free myself stone by stone.

-She

Fear

Pushing, moving, working

Spring is here

Spring is moving in, and the mornings feel glorious now. I had to brighten up the blog around here, what do you think?

Even the rainy days are necessary and welcomed. Last night, the sky ominously turned shades of gray before the sun was officially to set. An orchestra of thunder paraded the sky. It was a scary sight to be driving around in, but when the rain came down, it reminded me of Costa Rica. It was one of those hard rain showers, that first fell as sloppy drops before they turned into uniform sheets of water. It felt as if the sky’s regrets came violently drop by drop.

The mood reminded of me of Carl Thomas’ Summer Rain song. It was wonderful opening my balcony door and listening to the sheets of rain coming down. I got to cool down my humid apartment with the wind coming in. I am missing home at this time, that very enigmatic concept of home. Except I’m not exactly sure what “home” I’m missing.

Home is whatever you want it to be, in my opinion. It can be a place, a feeling, family members, friends, food, good memories. Or a new tradition. New experience. A place you desire to be your home.

I’ve been living in this area for going on 3 years. Not quite sure it’s “home” yet. And maybe it’s not meant to be. It could be a transition to my next experience, the journey to finding my new traditions. I made some great memories here. Accomplished some great things. I got a second chance at a career, and I’m finishing my first year in the field come July. I’ve been in love. I’ve been in lust. I am in love. I made friends. Friends left the area. Classmates also stayed. It’s been crazy. I’ve had lows and highs, and I’ve also met some really memorable people. I’ve pushed, I’ve moved. I am working. I’m “adulting” with my own apartment (sorta), bills, car notes, federal loans. Man, the grind is real.

I’ve done some significant work on myself, addressing my mental health issues. Last week, I began taking anti-depressants. I’m giving it a shot for 5 weeks. This was not a small decision, but I made an adult decision about how I want to manage my current symptoms. To be honest it seems like I’ve barely grazed the surface on the amount of work that needs to be done.

But I’m no quitter. 🙂 Happy Spring!

What does home mean to you? Do you inhabit home right now?

She

Pushing, moving, working