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.

Signature

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

What About Your Friends?

Things I want to tell my mom

I think that a most special relationship is one between mother and daughter. I’m always fascinated to read fiction books about mothers and daughters, I tear up when I see special moments on TV, or even in real life. I’m aware of all the complexities that exist between being mothered, having to alter that relationship when daughter becomes an adult, and then possibly daughter becoming caretaker down the road. It truly does come full circle.

My mom became a teenage mother without having had a nurturing mother herself. There is a long list of qualities and knowledge she didn’t have, or possess when she became a mother. I can list many things I wish my mother did better. No parent is perfect. Instead of highlighting things that cannot be changed, I’d rather tell my mother some things I think she did superbly well.

mother-daughter
Lisa Bonet and Zoe.

Mom, 

I accept you for who you are. I don’t blame you for anything that you may feel you could have done better in raising me because I think you did the best you could have done with what you were given. Thank you for sharing with me about your past, I know it’s not easy for you to talk about after all this time.

I feel very blessed to have such a spunky and open-minded mother. I don’t have to worry about being someone I’m not, for you to approve. If I wanted to spend my days writing a book on a Greek island, I know you would support me. If I was anti-marriage, you would say “I understand.” If I decided to only eat red meat during odd numbered years, you would just ask “Are you eating meat this year?” with no judgment. You don’t try to impose your views on me and I respect that.

I know that we live States away from each other and you lead a very busy working life. I wish you didn’t have to work so hard, and I have big goals in my professional life to ease your load. As long as I can help, I will do so with no lament.

Thank you for sending me to California and South Carolina during some summers and exposing me to life outside of New York City. Thank you for making Christmases special and taking care of the cats I always wanted but didn’t want to actually clean after. Thank you for simply being there. Thank you for not accepting sub-par penmanship on my homework. Thank you for sending me greeting cards for every occasion and even for no occasion. Thank you for giving me a chance against many odds. 

With Love,

your daughter.

Things I want to tell my mom

What’s Rockin’ My World: I’m here

changing

This is my second post of the year (sad face, kind of.) That’s just the way it’s supposed to be, I imagine. I’m trying to get my life, ya’ll!

I didn’t plan it that way, but I am also very much about not forcing what is not coming organically. Writing is my happy place, not my deadlines and forced writing place. Occasionally, I did feel that nudge to get something down on paper, but I also don’t like writing just to write. I am very much about content, not just about post numbers. 2017 is bringing a lot of changes, and I’m both excited and ready. Here’s what’s been rockin’ my world thus far:

  • In the tune of self-care, I have decided to cut down my work hours per week. I currently hold a full-time and part-time job, and I used to work 3 afternoons a week, but as of January I cut that down to 2 nights. Yes, I’ll miss the money but I really love having my Monday nights back.
  • I am gearing up for the next physical move in life. I’m saying adios to the DMV! I’m hitting on 5 years in the area (come August), and I’m ready for something new! More details to come… #newcity2017
  • I have to start DISCARDING stuff from my apartment. Namely my paperwork and things I’ve accumulated from graduate school. To prepare for this, I’m reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (audiobook.) https://www.amazon.com/Life-Changing-Magic-Tidying-Decluttering-Organizing/dp/1607747308
  • Speaking of books, I have a 6 book goal for 2017. That sounds like an elementary goal, but it’s realistic for me and I make no apologies for it. Work is the main thing that keeps me from leisure reading, and the other part has been that I “consume” a lot and have no desire to read outside of that. I’m working on it, because I do miss getting lost in books.
  • Work is work. There’s peak high and low times, I’m currently about to hit the peak “pre-spring break” time. IEP meetings galore, therapy, testing and everything in-between happens crazily in the days leading up to spring break. This year, we have spring break a little bit later in the year, which means the weather will be getting nicer and hopefully we won’t have any crazy snow storms. I don’t mind the days off, I just don’t want to extend the school year past June 12th! The good thing is when we come back from spring break, it’ll be almost May, a less-than 2 month countdown to the end of the school year.
  • I want to pierce my nose. I have always liked nose piercings, but wasn’t sure how professional this “appeared.” I think nose piercings are more accepted now (even those septum piercings are very common) and so I’m going to go ahead and do it! #newpiercing2017
  • I’m tired of working for other people, so I’m going to slowly and surely start my own contracting business. Nothing to it but to do it. This has been on my mind for almost a year, gotta set it in action!
  • Love has found its way back to me. We are making it work with effort and transparency. I’m happy.

What’s currently rockin’ your world?

-She

What’s Rockin’ My World: I’m here

Work, Work, Work, Work…

a-goal-without-a-plan-is-just-a-wish-5

Last night, I stumbled upon a great article on Tactus Therapy about transitioning settings as a speech language pathologist (from schools to medical.) It’s very scary to think about making drastic changes, but I’m learning the older I get that without risk, there’s no reward. I think the most stifling feeling when it comes to work is the thought of being “stuck” or that you don’t have any options. Every speech language pathologist I’ve come in contact with, has chartered their own path. I love listening to “how I got here” stories. I’ve met veterans in school systems, private practice owners, doctoral students, clinicians who aspire to effect change on the state and local level by being active in State organizations, and I’ve read about SLP’s who have landed dream jobs abroad. Many hats, same passion.

I am also a Reddit lurker, because sometimes one can stumble upon the most provoking threads. In our field, sometimes it’s hard to find the answers you’re looking for by searching a simple Google question. I remember a big question that my graduating class had was realistic salary expectations coming out of school. I know there are many factors to consider (setting, hours, productivity, etc.), but I think having that information is empowering (especially in a female-dominated field where the N word is difficult.)  Salary is not something you go up to a professor and discuss casually, and we (as a class) got the feeling that it was neither “proper” or “professional” to expect a direct answer or number. But it sure would have been helpful. In my experience in reading Reddit threads, people are more willing to share numbers to strangers across the interwebs. The transparency is just one aspect that we may lose in the spirit of “decorum.”

I’m writing this because I’m recognizing very early that the school setting is not a long-term reality for me. I’ve learned a lot in the 3 years (one year CF, and 2 “on my own”) from 2 different school districts. I have a lot of respect for everyone involved with keeping schools running, however, it is not for everyone. It is a tiresome, thankless job that no one does for money. But you’ve probably already heard that tune. I think the most exciting question to answer is… so what’s next?

The aforementioned article closes with the the thought that one should “travel toward what excites them, not away from what scares them.” In other words, it’s all about perspective. Recognizing what’s NOT for you is just as important as what is. The journey is the fun part, and the plan is what drives the goal. This year, I am embracing the plan and not becoming overwhelmed by big tasks. I’m striving to take a step every day towards not settling, committed to staying fulfilled, motivated and present.

How do you stay motivated when finding the right work setting?

I remain,

She

Work, Work, Work, Work…

Life be Life-ing

“Now I use the word happiness very loosely because happiness is not a place where you can live. It is more like a space we cross through periodically, sometimes more frequently or for longer duration than other times…”

It’s October 7th and I’m sitting on my couch debating on whether I want to cook dinner or pop something ready-made in the oven. My blog has been unfamiliar to me for awhile. Radio silence in August and September. Those are very busy times for school-based therapists. Not only is work gearing up speed, but life also be life-ing. You know what I mean. Life continues to be life- victories, upsetting moments, change of weather, change of mood, we loose daylight, changes, changes, changes. Some more drastic than others.

Fall and spring are two of my favorite seasons, in spite of being born in the summer. Fall reminds me that there’s no place like having a home to call your own. It is about getting cozy on the couch, drinking chai tea latte and baking pumpkin spice cake. It’s a season to prepare for the cold winter, because as we know, winter is coming. Fall is also about taking advantage of what’s left of the year before we usher in resolutions, new intentions, and the realization that “damn! Time flies.”

I’m in another transition time. It’s been stirring for a little while. It’s not comfortable and can be scary to think about, but it’s something I want. There’s more places for me to see in this lifetime, more to do, and the DMV area has been real. I’ve had highs of highs and lows of lows here. I got my Master’s degree, a professional license, life-long mentors, and an experience at an HBCU. I fell in love in all its glory and pain. I got my own apartment. I bought my first 2 cars (not simultaneously, yet.) I have a retirement plan. I’ve developed a love for painting and art. I’ve come to appreciate what this move meant to me, and how it has propelled me into what I consider to be an “adult.” Not only am I proving to myself that I can take care of myself financially, but I’m dedicated to working on my mental health by staying consistently in therapy. That’s my life right now.

Adulting and life-ing ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. But today I’m thankful for the support I have around me, those I love and that love me, my career, my passion and my drive. There’s nowhere to go but forward.

-She

Life be Life-ing

OBX, North Carolina

It’s Wednesday. But an atypical Wednesday. I am halfway through my vacation in the Outerbanks (OBX), North Carolina. It’s about 6:26 pm. Today, I woke up a little after 8am to make breakfast for about 12 people and then spent most of the day at the beach. I once thought that I couldn’t do the beach for more than 2-3 days in a row but turns out, that isn’t the case. We (B and I and his group of friends) have been here since Saturday and each day the beach offers something different. Different views, different water temperature, different crowds, different vibes. I also have never experienced “beach house” living– wide verandas, outdoor lounge areas, outside showers and a backyard pool complete with a hot tub. It’s been new experiences all around for me. If I were at home, I would be finishing up work and heading home to figure out what’s for dinner and watch TV. I prefer this kind of week much better.

I feel like this was a much needed get-away, as I’ll be going back to work in less than a month. I’m not sure what next school year holds for me, and I’m trying not to think too much about it. My mother comes to visit next week and I’m looking forward to it. Ready to soak up what left of the summer. Here are some pictures of the week so far:

I’m excited to be putting my coloring book to some use again. Since purchasing it in January it’s been sitting in my apartment with half-completed wishes collecting dust. I’ve also started reading Issa Rae’s new(ish) bio, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. Now I’m reading two books simultaneously which is always hit or miss for me. Well, hope you’re enjoying your last week of July (the best month of all.) Gotta go enjoy the sunlight while it’s still here.

Summer baby,

-She

 

 

OBX, North Carolina

Summer 16: What’s Rockin’ My World

I’m already halfway through the summer “break” (when traditional schools are closed, unless they are in extended school year) and this has been a great time of waking up late, staying up even later, and doing whatever my heart desires. Most days it’s been cleaning, TOO much t.v., sitting poolside working on my tan, small decoration projects around the house, or planning trips. I have yet to post about the Chicago trip (it’s coming!), and this weekend I leave for a week-long beach trip. After that, my mom is coming to visit me in my big-girl apartment (sans roommate) for a couple of days from Florida. I’m geeked about a whole week of being steps away from water. Also, I get to hang out and get to know my boyfriend’s college friends, which we don’t see very often because they live near Richmond, VA.

I think this is the best summer I’ve had in awhile. A summer of part time working, but because I chose to, not because I had to. I have not had a summer “off” since I decided to go back to school 3 years ago. It’s hard getting used to not having anywhere to go in the mornings, and then doing that for about 6 weeks. I don’t know why I feel guilty about staying in bed until midday, or when I have a day of nothing on the To Do list. But I intend to keep sleeping in until I stop feeling guilty about it. 🙂

Last year, I didn’t work on my birthday (which fell on a Friday) but I still had to wake up early Saturday to work. This year for the big 3-1, I enjoyed a Sunday picnic with friends on a vineyard in Southern, MD called Running Hare. And we played Scattegories. My ideal day; chicken, friends, board games and chilled wine. I don’t intend to work on my birthday ever again (if I can help it.)

IMG_4448.JPG
Birthday vibes.
IMG_4450
View from Running Hare

The remainder of the summer is looking great, I have the next 2 weeks off and I intend to be present for them. I want to sign up for some technique dance classes. I have some more de-cluttering to do in my apartment (read: throw out paperwork.) I want to plan for a smooth transition back to work, at a new school with less support than I had my first year. I’m excited to see what population and new school team I will be a part of. I also want to soak up all my well-deserved time off before that countdown back to work. I may or may not get to do more writing until next month, but that’s only because I’m taking doing nothing very serious.

Your turn now. What’s rocking your Summer16?

 

-She

Summer 16: What’s Rockin’ My World