Tag Archives: african american adoptive families

Scratching the Itch

Last night the man in my life asked me if adopting Hope satisfied my need to have a biological child.

It was a heavy question for any number of reasons.

  1. I will forever be wounded by my infertility.
  2. My beau is an adoptee. He shared this with me recently after dating for quite some time. Turned out to be game-changing information for us, and I’d like to thank adoptees for teaching me to act like I got some sense.
  3. Beau is childless.

I was honest, and I said no. It satisfied my desire to be a mom, which was ultimately a stronger pull, and Hope is absolutely my daughter. But did it “replace” my desire for a biological child? No.

I thought so much about this over the last 8 years.

My grief around infertility has changed a lot over the years. Initially it was really messy, as all grief is. I did grieve the imaginary scenario that I’d been cultivating since I was in high school. I would be married in my early 30s to an amazing partner with whom I would have a couple biological children and then look into expanding our family through adoption.

That was my script.

So as I slid into my late 30s, unmarried and suddenly considered infertile, I really grieved the loss of that ideal I had constructed for myself. I remember feeling like it was the last bit of my dream that I lost. Never-mind that my career was going great, I was working on my doctorate, and I was enjoying a really good life. The door definitively closed on my dream, and that was what my grief was about. And sometimes it still hurts acknowledging that, but that’s not where my grief lies now.

I told Beau that my grief has less to do with any imaginary biological child and more to do with how betrayed I felt and feel by my body. We’re conditioned to believe so much of being a woman is about the ability to incubate a new human and have all these warm, nurturing, maternal feelings. Well, not being able to have a child because my body “failed” was and remains hard. I’m like, I’ve always been overweight, but my entire adult life I’ve tried to eat decent and be as active as possible so that I would be able to handle pregnancy like a champ. Instead my body wasn’t even riding the bench. It just sucked when I needed and wanted it most.

My grief wasn’t about having a baby. I was never all jazzed about babies. I just wanted the chance to be a mom. Ultimately it didn’t matter how; it was just that my body was supposed to be able to do this thing that women do. And, well, it couldn’t.

Hope satisfied my desire to parent; that part is the same as what I desired in having a biological child. But in answer to Beau’s question, no it didn’t satisfy my desire to give birth because it was about my body and not the child.

He seemed to understand. I reminded him that grief is a wicked thing. He agreed.

Then I told him about how in 2020 I worked hard to focus on what my body can do rather than what it can’t. While I didn’t commit to doing it because of grief, the reframing definitely helped me resolve some of my grief. Of course the fact that I did get to be mom to Hope is really the story here. I am a mom, which is really what I wanted. I am fortunate to have matched with Hope and be accepted by her. There are times when I really marvel at the fact that I have a version of the family I dreamed about. It didn’t happen as I thought, and the life partner is still missing in action, but I have this family–me, Hope and Yappy.

It’s more than enough.


Ten Things on Wednesday: 3/17/2021

  1. Happy St. Patrick’s Day. I wore my green glasses today.
  2. Things are…all over the place. I almost hate it when someone asks, “How are you?” Like, there’s a pandemic, I’m an extrovert trapped at home; my daughter is struggling and I don’t know exactly what I can do to make it better, work is emotionally draining 99.9999999995% of the time and my own mental health always seems precarious.
  3. So, I”m doing fine.
  4. Except, that’s not really true.
  5. I am fighting the good fight though. With daylight savings I can get more outside time and I’m delighted by that. I’ve taken Yappy on an evening walk every day this week. The increased sunlight and exercise is always great for my mood. I’ve started sleeping with my weighted blanket again. Sometimes that added weight, pressure just is so soothing.
  6. I’m really struggling with parenting right now. We have a good medical team. We’re really trying to give Hope autonomy with her care as a young adult. I’m trying to give her structure, but it’s really a lot with everything that’s going on. The issues are just like whackamole; we get one thing under control and something else pops up. Depression is getting better, but now the anxiety is debilitating. I can only imagine what it must be like for Hope. Not being able to find a “fix” is killing me. I really feel helpless and super frustrated. I don’t see this ending anytime soon.
  7. At the end of every day I’m exhausted. I would probably allow myself to get in my bed at 7:30pm if it didn’t sound SOOO early. Sometimes I do it anyway, but days like today…I’m trying to wait until at least 8pm.
  8. In other news Yappy is now using steps to get on and off of my bed; I’m so proud of him. A few months I noticed he was starting to have to work harder to get up on my bed; it’s a big jump. I bought some doggie steps, tried a couple of times to train him to use them. He looked at me like I was stupid. I shrugged and just left the steps there. After a month he started randomly using the steps, just like that–no prompting, no treats, nothing. He just started using them. Now he uses them consistently unless he’s feeling frisky and wants to hop up. If only everything was that easy.
  9. I am supposed to get my second vaccine next week. I’m now able to really count down the days until I can see my parents, who will be getting their second shot tomorrow. Just knowing I will be able to hug them in a matter of weeks nearly brings me to tears.
  10. I still wish I was motivated to write more, especially about parenting and older child adoption. Sometimes I get so frustrated because so much of the adoption conversation is dominated by infant, international and transracial adoption. I really wish more folks were writing about families like me and Hope. There are absolutely threads that are similar, but there are narratives that are different–not better or worse, just different. I often find myself trying to decide if I want to weigh in on posts even though I know the conversation isn’t about older child adoption and I want to hear about those stories and from those adoptees. I’m realizing that I might need to reconstruct my adoption squad. Our challenges never really go away, but I don’t necessarily seek the same kind of engagement and help that I used to seek. This young adult thing is different, and while in some ways it’s hard to remember what life felt like before Hope, it’s only been 7 years. It’s crazy. I just wish there were more folks talking and sharing about this kind of journey. Sometimes it’s lonely out here.

One Pandemic Year

One year ago, today, I was buzzing around a local hotel with other colleagues making sure that the next to the last day of our annual conference went smoothly. I remember being tired, but excited because Hope was on a bus headed home for spring break. I was looking forward to seeing her when I got home and maybe ordering takeout.

Little did I know that that was really *it* for us, in terms of going out and living free. I had taken a few days off from work to spend with her before she headed back to her small liberal arts college. I ended up working from home full time later that week, while we just assumed that she would be heading back to school in a couple of weeks when this COVID stuff all blew over.

Three weeks later we were packing up her dorm room masked and gloved up.

A week later I had COVID, assuredly contracted during our brief trip to pack up her things.

We’ve both been home ever since.

Hope did have a couple of summer jobs, but quit, in part, because classes resumed remotely in September.

We’d been managing to hold it together until then, but early fall presented an escalation in our struggle. Honestly, things just went totally left in August and it’s been a daily struggle ever since.

Hope experienced a series of traumas related to some decisions that 19-year-olds can be prone to making. Honestly, I made some of the same decisions, as did many other 19-year-olds I knew at the time. It’s just a wickedly unfair world that some of us pay dearly for those choices, while others get skate away trauma-free.

I had to really remind myself to meet Hope where she was and remember what that season of my life was like to be as empathetic as the moment required. It’s easy when you have nearly 30 years more life experience to forget what it was like and how easy it was to do something that didn’t seem like it might have lasting repercussions.

There were definitely days when I failed miserably at meeting the moment, and other days when I nailed it. I’m hoping that Hope shows me the grace I don’t deserve as the years pass.

The hits just kept coming through the fall and into the new year. This kinda lost pandemic year totally wreaked havoc on both of our mental health statuses. The loss of control, the lost freedom, the inability to have the usual levels of family and friend support has been so challenging.

I see a lot of loss ground for Hope in some ways; I see a lot of lost ground for me as well.

My own career soared during this time, but it came a huge cost. In the weeks following the murder of George Floyd, my job and voice was in high demand. There was little time for my own processing of grief and anger. It was mostly a lot of work.

And then after a month or so, a lot of anger and frustration about how folks chose to engage me, how little my own humanity seemed to matter, how much was just constantly demanded of me. I really had to start working on creating boundaries in ways I didn’t have or want to before.

Ten months later, I still trying to create boundaries with almost virtual electronic/barbed wire fencing. I do this in the face of receiving recognition for the work I do within a largely homogenous profession. The wear and tear on me this last year…whew.

Add on how I seem to be sliding into menopause…and I just feel…tired, cranky and crazy.

It’s all hard to describe, but it’s just perpetually feeling off. I’ve got some cream and I’ve upped my self-care game, but I’m headed to the doc this week to just talk about what I can and should be doing during this time to cling to my sanity and to not kill anyone.

This year has been hard.

But it hasn’t all been bad.

Hope and I are probably closer than we’ve ever been. Our parent/child relationship is evolving to a parent/young adult relationship. The biggest difference is knowing that being of legal age means I just have to let a few things go and focus on leaning into the years of trust we’ve built.

Our conversations are different. The gaps in knowledge around life skills are more apparent. My pushing and pulling is not seen through entirely negative eyes; she can tell me how she sees things. We are closer, and I’m hoping that whenever the next new normal lands that we’ll maintain this level of emotional connection. It’s nice.

I have also finally, genuinely moved to a place of acceptance regarding my body. This last decade of my life has featured a number of body betrayals that were just layered on to two previous decades of body image problems. I exercise every day. I try to eat reasonably healthy. I do not deny myself foods that I enjoy. I ride my bike. I walk a lot. I do videos and I invested in work-from-home equipment that would help me maintain some healthy habits.

I wrote some time ago that I really shifted my thinking to what my body can do and how to maintain and expand its capacity rather than focusing on how it looks. Honestly, regarding my body, the last 4-5 months or so have been the most liberating of my life.

I still fight negative thoughts, but they are fewer and far between.

Most of all, Hope sees me being less critical and that means a lot as well. She’s a beautiful girl, and she struggles to establish healthy eating and exercise habits. The best I can do is model them for her.

In total, it’s been a rough year. I don’t know when the pandemic will be “over.” I got my first vaccine a few days ago and I’m excited that I will be able to see my parents for the first time in nearly a year in a matter of weeks.

It will be a while before Hope is eligible for the vaccine. Because she’s unemployed and not in school this semester (much less hardly leaves the house), she’s very low risk and will be at the bottom of the list for the vaccine unless something changes. I’m hopeful that this year brings some better energy to both of us. I hope that we can get back to some version of our old normal at some point this year


Ten Things on Wednesday: 2/17/21

  1. So parenting…is hard. Trying to maintain some even keel, sense of togetherness, and household energy during this pandemic is hard. This is a hard time for us all; it really is. And parenting? Well parenting is hard on a good, non-pandemic, regular, degular day. This ish during a whole as pandemic is really some bullshit.
  2. Most days Hope doesn’t get dressed. On the regular, we’re at showering every other day. I’ve been trying to send her on errands that just need to get done to ensure that she showers, puts on real clothes and gets a little fresh air and vitamin D–which we are both deficient in. She stays in her room because my “home office” is the strip of space between the living and dining rooms. The recent addition of a treadmill (under or beside my desk) only takes up more space. And because I’m on a Zoom call 60-70% of my day, she stays out of camera view (unless she sees it’s my boss, in which case Hope seems to insist on sauntering behind me to the kitchen in full on granny robe and bonnet. My delighted boss, calls her over to ask how she’s doing and such and what’s for breakfast while I look at the screen mortified. (I’m convinced they are in cahoots!)
  3. There seems to be no balance I can offer during the day. Even when I’m home on the weekends, I rarely go to hang out in my bedroom, so the thought of setting up my office in my bedroom is purely horrifying to me. I’ve thought of taking over the dining room, but it’s already doubling as Hope’s college stuff storage up against the wall. The floor plan is open so moving technically into the “living room” is really just dragging y desk directly in front of the couch. Space is at a premium in this here condo.
  4. The result is that Hope is trapped in her room most of the day. Sometimes she comes and crashes on the part of the couch that is out of camera shot; on those days I know she just wants to be close to me.
  5. Work is so demanding that sometimes she’s fallen asleep, curled up with Yappy, and I didn’t even know they were behind me.
  6. I try to stop work at 5pm sharp. I walk Yappy, and then I set about to spending time with Hope. We just finished True Blood and haven’t figured out what to binge next. We have such different tastes in TV and film. She usually likes my picks; I usually secretly loathe hers. We’ve tried several series over the last couple of months only to split and watch what we want separately. Anyway, open to recommendations on other things to watch. We essentially have all the channels, so send info stat!
  7. I spend a couple hours with Hope in the evening. She’s kind and asks about my day. Comments about how many meetings I had. She’ll tell me about something she read or watched. She’s blurt out something she wants me to buy her or cook or something. We watch a little news because I keep the TV off most of the day. I head to my room around 8 so I have time for yoga and to really wind down from the day. And in the blink of an eye; we’re doing it all over again.
  8. This is the worst reboot of Groundhog Day ever.
  9. I can’t even imagine what folks will little kids are enduring. My sister K has 4 kiddos at home-21, 12, 4, 20mos. Her house sounds like chaos. Hope might be really struggling during this pandemic, but she is capable of functioning with some prompting. Those two littles–the 4 and the 20mo old? #Mayhem #AdorableMayhem
  10. I’m on the list to get the vaccine in my county. I keep checking the website, but I realize it’s going to be a good long while before I get a shot in arm. The day I registered, over 42K of my neighbors also registered, and now we’re all waiting with a total of 104K neighbors on the waitlist. SMH
  11. Yeah, bonus. It is so hard for me to keep up with life tasks these days. I’ve got a couple of checks that need to be deposited, which I can do by phone. I did manage to get my passport renewal application together. In December I did manage to go get my driver’s license renewed. Sigh…moment of transparency: I managed to get my passport renewal together because as soon as I get shot two of the vaccine, I’m booking a trip somewhere, just about anywhere. Optimally, I’d go alone because this lack of solitude is really, whew. But I know Hope also needs a getaway. I’ve been looking at places and dreaming, but no immediate plans. But trust, when I get that damn shot, it’s on.
  12. Yeah, double bonus. I’ve really slipped on my Black History Month edutainment. Normally, Hope and I would’ve watched some shows, some movies. I might’ve made her do some light reading. Right now that requires energy; I barely got it. It took me 3 days to watch Judas and the Black Messiah this weekend. My own motivation is so low. And while I know I can and do this every year, all year, there’s a part of me who feels pretty guilty about not pulling it together this year. Sigh, I’ve got like 11 more days.

My Valentines

Long weekends are super precious. Despite having no commute, I’m exhausted on Friday afternoons. Saturdays and Sundays seem to go buy in the blink of an eye, and then it just starts again.

This year, of course, Valentine’s Day and Presidents’ Day fell back to back; hallelujah.

I worked on a couple of crochet projects. Enjoyed my long, luxurious afternoon bath. Hope and I finished the final season of True Blood. Yappy got lots of snuggles ,and I made him a new sweater. I cooked chicken and waffles for Valentine’s dinner. I spent the evening with my own significant someone, who might actually get a blog name after all. Things haven’t felt so…psuedo-normal in a while.

Hope has been having repetitive nightmares for weeks now. She sometimes wakes up sobbing and terrified. It’s been a challenge. For whatever reason, she enjoyed a brief respite of no bad dreams. (Lots of potential reasons for the dreams; we’re working through it with the mental health folks.) The dreams are so damn persistent; I’m hoping this short break foretells that things are about to get back to normal. In any case I’m glad she got a break. My big girl Valentine.

Yappy turned 6 last fall, and promptly assumed the personality of a grouchy old man. He wants to dictate the direction and length of every walk. If he senses water dripping from anywhere above him, the situation is untenable. He’s very demanding about how I place the blanket on him and even how I lift the covers to let him snuggle with me in bed. He’s been working on training me to get it right for years now. This weekend Yappy allowed me to repeatedly try on his sweater as I was making it and after his first walk in his new sweater, we came in, I unhooked his leash and he bee lined it to Hope’s room. He’s been so good about making sure Hope gets lots of his attention. He switches back and forth between us when couch cuddling now. One of my favorite things is to see the two of them playing or snuggled up asleep together. It’s really just the cutest, purest thing. A girl and her dog. (He still chooses me at night if I’m not at my someone’s house). My fuzzy Valentine.

And yeah, I’ve got a special someone. At first I didn’t really see it going anywhere. Now I see some possibilities. He shared something about himself this weekend that really made me go, “Ohhhhh, ok, now a lot of things make sense. Ok, I see what I’m working with here.” I also realized how much it must’ve taken to share with me. I don’t take it lightly. So, while we exchanged small gifts for Valentine’s Day. The sharing was really the thing. My low-key Valentine.

Oh, and I discovered a cold brew tap in a box that I can order online. You just open the tap, sit it in the fridge and get your sip on. The way I love cold brew? Looking forward to coffee for tomorrow.

Also, folks who recommended progesterone cream….good looking out. Finally onboard and hoping to level out a bit soon!

Hope everyone had a marvelous weekend.


Ten Things on Wednesday: 2/10/21

  1. How is it mid-February? So much has been crammed into the first 6 weeks of the year that I swear it should be June.
  2. Anybody watching the impeachment? We’re 2 days in, and well, the House manager’s case is compelling. I mean really, it should be a slam dunk, but the way blind allegiance and hypocrisy are set up…
  3. Hope is really coming along this week, and when Hope does and feels better, we BOTH do and feel better. I think we might finally be getting a little more stable. This is a long road though, and I’m used to upset apple carts. My optimism remains guarded.
  4. I’m entering a crunch period at work, and I’m struggling to work thought my anxiety about it. Lots of presentations, lots of zoom meetings, and a never ending inbox of cannibalizing requests. The things people ask of me are just…beyond. Like, I’m not a therapist. I’m not a search engine. I’m not a priest. I really don’t know what people expect when they email me. It’s just so unbelievable sometimes. It is exhausting, and I genuinely do not understand why people will spend 3 paragraphs writing about themselves and then ask something that an elephant in Thailand could probably figure out how to ask Google, Siri, Alexa or Google Assist. #Baffling. If I were to ever write a memoir about this period in my life, I’m totally including the shittiest of the shitty emails.
  5. Anyone watch Bling Empire on Netflix? I binged it a couple of weeks ago; it’s essentially if Crazy Rich Asians was a reality show. There’s a whole story line in which a TRA Korean adoptee searches for his birth family and another woman looks for her dad that she hasn’t seen since she was a young girl. Both characters find some resolution in their searches. It was really lovely to the guy’s mom be supportive of his search., but I was also glad to see that the show didn’t shy away from the fact that he really felt like he needed to know why he had to be adopted. The abandonment, the open wound…even with a good life and what appeared to be a good family and support system, he needed to know about himself and his people. Would love to hear other thoughts.
  6. I made CBD gummies last weekend. I purchased isolate from a local shop, researched some recipes and voila. I look forward to improving the next batch. Each gummy has about 15mg of CBD. Two take the edge right on off of me. I made them for Hope to help her sleep. We’ll see what works.
  7. I need a vacation so bad. Not a staycation, but a get on a plane and fly far, far away, where the food and language are different and the drinks are cool and plentiful. Travelzoo keeps sending me trips and I so want to book something. Maybe I’ll book something after I’m vaccinated. I soooo need to get away from the DC area for a minute.
  8. Yappy is not enjoying winter at all. At 6, he’s surprisingly showing his age. He’s not feeling the snow, sleet or rain. He’s only willing to cuddle on his terms. He’s demanding when it comes to just about everything. Doc says he’s healthy. My spidey sense kind of worries about him.
  9. Anyone else watching TV and sometimes getting anxious because folks are all close together without masks? Just me? Seriously though I’m really increasingly conscious about the trauma response to life during a pandemic.
  10. I need this upcoming long weekend. Got a few Valentine plans, but I mainly plan to rest. Of course I still need to create these presentations for next week…they ain’t writing themselves. But I’m looking forward to sleeping in, having my long hot bath and napping.

Ten Things on Wednesday: 2/3/2021

  1. I’m a day late. What can I say? It’s been a hella busy week and while I started the draft yesterday (Wednesday), sleep proved more important that blogging. Sue me. LOL.
  2. Tuesday was my birthday. I worked. I ordered in, and I got a huge same day order from Target. It was a good day. Is it petty that I had to order in for Hope and tell her no she’s couldn’t get a milkshake because it was MY birthday? Yeah, I didn’t think so either.
  3. I’m feeling so much more stabilized now. I’ve had some reflection time, and while I’m still feeling legit fragile with all that’s going on, I’m realizing that my hormone levels are starting to swing like a trapeze. That’s a problem. I’m still looking to take some time away, but it feels less urgent now. I do need to go get some bloodwork done to see where my “levels” are. This is happening a few years younger than it did for my mom, so I’m like yo, what’s happening here? This aging thing is something.
  4. I’m spending a lot of time thinking about parenting these days. I continue to learn so much on this journey with Hope. The pandemic changed both of our lives so radically that it still feels like we are trying to figure out how to live together. And even though I know Hope can be a remarkable young woman, she can also be a little devil in PJs. I hereby confess to occasionally allowing her to sleep the whole day away just so I can pretend to be alone. I’m a hardcore extrovert, but everyone needs alone time sometimes. Lately when I retire to my room around 8:30, Hope wants to come with. Um, no thank you. I’m about to do my yoga, sip this wine, read the paper on my phone and turn this light out in an hour. SHHHHHH!
  5. I’m so frigging over this gotdern pandemic. Put the stupid mask on and stay home. I mean if we could get everything in the universe to sit on our collective asses down for a good 3 weeks, we would have this thing licked, but noooo! I’m really, really over it. And even though I have greatly improved my work from home set up, I’m resentful about having to make space because so many folks won’t stay the eff at home.
  6. I’m about to make a hiring decision between to candidates. I honest to goddess do not know with of these two candidates I will pick. They are really different, but the same: confident and hungry for career building work experience. I don’t there’s a bad decision to be made here which is an enviable place to be in. Still I have feelings.
  7. Back to parenting. Anyone else’s kids regularly send them tik toks to watch? Hope sends me the weirdest, darkest, random mess on a regular basis. I don’t bother feigning interest in that ish. I’m guessing she wants to be interesting and stylish, and that she wants more connection. I never complain about the rando videos, but they do make me wonder if this is the stuff she shares, what in the world is she watching the rest of the time??
  8. Yappy is having serious issues with dreaming at the moment. In the evenings he snores, baby barks and sleep runs. Just once I’d love to peek into his dream and see what he sees. It’s kind of adorable.
  9. I’m thinking of getting a new coffee maker. I kinda want something fancy even though counter space is at a premium. I just have a regular Mr. Coffee at the moment, but I’m thinking about something more sophisticated since I don’t really get coffee out anymore. Suggestions? I noted that Instapot has a new coffee maker that takes Kcups and Nespresso pods. I like the idea, but it’s not what I had in mind. Hit me with your best coffee maker recommendations.
  10. At what point does one stop giving their children money to buy the birthday/Christmas/etc gift, while also telling them what to get? Now, admittedly at Christmas, Hope took my request and upgraded it to the amazing bamboo bathtub caddy. She tells me that the waffle iron I requested (and low key paid for) will arrive today, but seriously…how long do we go through these theatrics?


Modeling Behavior

Not gonna lie; I have a number of vices…

Cake.

A good glass of wine.

An occasional edible or three.

Pizza.

Shopping.

Buying organizing stuff that I don’t bother using to actually organize.

And a bunch of other stuff…

But I also have a lot of healthy habits.

Daily exercise.

Simple prayers of gratitude.

Cooking.

Desperately fighting my anxiety and depression.

I’m fortunate that I have had only a few moments in this life where my mental health rendered me unable to function. About 15 years ago, I took a month off from work to just pull it together. It was hard. I was keeping crazy hours, trying to define myself professionally, trying to navigate a dreadfully unhealthy relationship, and struggling with an eating disorder. I just had to hit the pause button.

The early years of parenting nearly brought me to the brink. I’m not ashamed to admit that I wasn’t prepared to really tackle the trauma that Hope had endured. I thought I was, and Lord knows I fought for her every step of the way. The reality is that those pre-adoption classes that agencies make APs take as a part of the approval process are bullshit; they are soooo woefully inadequate. I knew nothing about secondary trauma, post-adoption depression or all the ways in which trauma might manifest in my daughter’s worldview.

There were definitely times when it brought me to my knees, begging for a timeout from the rest of my life so that I could really figure out how to parent and do it well.

I spent a lot of time just putting my head down and plowing through.

As Hope and I recover from another recent major trauma, I’m considering hitting the pause button once again.

I’m tired. This pandemic with non-stop social unrest has gotten the best of me, and it’s gotten the best of Hope as well.

In recent years, I’ve really tried to model healthy behavior for Hope. I work out daily; even if it’s just a YouTube workout video in the living room. I get outside every day, rain or shine. I balance my sweet tooth with attempts to get my fruits and veggies in. I get up; I get dressed even when there is no where to go. I, at least, put on fresh lounge wear. I make sure she sees me reading for pleasure, for work and for information.

When Hope fell into the deepest pit of depression a few months ago, I really tried to include her in light workouts, cooking, doing hair, reading. It was hard to see her decline and just roll over to go back to sleep. I get it; gosh to I get it. I often feel like I could just roll over and sleep for ages because my emotions are just too much that they feel both burdensome and invisible. But I’ve got to work and keep us fed and sheltered, so I soldier on.

With the recent developments, we’re back into the stuck in bed thing. It’s so hard because really, there’s a pandemic and crazies are out protesting an election that was resolved months ago. Other than going for a walk and to buy groceries, being out and about isn’t really an option. On my days off I still get up, get dressed and pull together a plan for the day—even if it is sitting on the couch watching movies. I try to stay active. I try to model pushing back on the darkness for Hope.

It’s hard to maintain that flow. It also feels useless as my beautiful daughter languishes in bed for days at a time, getting up to eat after I’ve gone to bed and jacking up my Netflix recommendations even when she has her own profile. I encourage her to try. She never regrets getting up and about, but she never initiates it on her own.

Recent developments have just taken their toll on me, and I’m finding it hard to keep going. I, too, could use some time to lay in bed—even though I know I won’t, or at least won’t the same way Hope does—and just sit with my emotions. I’m kinda overwhelmed with all that’s going on.

So, I’m looking to take some time off. Even with that, I feel bad because I need to cancel some engagements and some workshops I committed to recently. But I try to remember that if I got hit by a bus, those things would go on and folks would simply find someone else to do the things I thought I would do. Cancelling is not the end of the world, and some of this stuff…well, I probably should’ve said no to in the first place anyway.

I’m trying to model self-care. I’m trying to model coping. I’m trying to model self-love and resilience. I honestly don’t know if the lessons are landing, but I’m doing the best I can as I try to find my way through my own darkness.

We’ll see what the next month holds and whether I take the time I need and show my daughter how I hit the pause button. I just know I’m really tired, right now.


Ten Things on Wednesday: 1/20/21

  1. Today I breathed. It’s not that I think Biden/Harris will solve all the problems, but I certainly don’t think they will cause as many as we’ve seen during the last administration.
  2. Watching VP Kamala Harris take the oath of office with Justice Sonia Sotomayor with my daughter this morning was…amazing. #RepresentationMatters
  3. I can’t really describe the relief I felt watching the Troll in Chief and Troll Barbie take flight and disappearing.
  4. My only sadness is that I couldn’t take Hope down to the mall to watch it in person. Don’t get me wrong: inaugurations are cold (it flurried here this morning) and usually crowded, but the energy is amazing. It’s actually very cool and super patriotic.
  5. Did y’all see Michelle Obama and that guy she’s married to? (I love him too.) My gawd that woman is gorgeous. The hair, the outfit, the lashes…the gorgeous former president. I live!!!
  6. I really needed today. It’s like a bright spot in a dark time for me. The pomp and circumstance! The lofty, aspirational charge of it all. The hope. I needed it really badly.
  7. Things around here are still precarious. I’m still fighting burnout. I’m still trying to prop Hope up in the midst of new traumas.
  8. I think I’m going to tackle my front closet and my bedroom closet. They are both a disastrous mess. I was always taught that your closets are a reflection of your life, and well, those 2 closets are a disastrous mess. I’ve been consciously avoiding them for months. I know that tackling them will help.
  9. I also need to do some purging. Things feel really cluttered around here. So, stuff has to go. Of course I’m also still shopping for a new low profile treadmill; so part of my motivation is to make room for new ish.
  10. I’ve been really trying to be more introspective right now. I’m honestly feeling a bit lost. Motivation is low. I slap on a functional face on workdays and feel like collapsing after 5pm. I really have not experienced these feelings in a very long time. I don’t like it, but I’m fighting through.

2020 Reflections

Each year I do a vision board. I have it blown up and I keep it framed in my bedroom so that I see it daily and am reminded that there are things to do.

My 2020 board included things like evolving my parenting now that Hope is in college, chasing some adventure, self acceptance, health and as always love.

How does the meme go?

How it started…It was to be a year of great promise.

How it ended…It was a year of survival.

COVID-19 pretty much took a wrecking ball to the year.

Hope is currently not enrolled in school, and I’m back to daily, active parenting. Just when she was becoming more social and connected, everything was cut off. It all made her really vulnerable, and just like that trouble found her. It’s been really hard dealing with the fallout of the summer’s drama. The pandemic made it just that much worse—there are so few outlets for having any sort of social connection.

Adventure? Well, going to the grocery store became an adventure. Going anywhere became an adventure. I feel like my world just closed in this year. In January I was counting down days to a trip to Israel in March, but instability in the region made my travel buddy want to cancel. We rebooked and planned a trip to Costa Rica, but then COVID hit and our trip got postponed to November. November came, along with a surge in cases, and Costa Rica was cancelled. In July Hope and I took a day trip to see my parents. That was a highlight for the year.

My vision board has hiking and relearning how to swim on it, meanwhile the pool never even opened. Adventure finally came about two months ago when I decided that we would start visiting local farms in the area. It was fun, and I have a lot of jam in my pantry now. It was wonderful having fresh pressed cider and fresh picked collard greens. I will likely sign up for a CSA in 2021 so that I can be sure to keep the goodness coming.

While I’m grateful that I found small ways of creating adventure, I’m sad that my world shrank in so many ways.

I have had a lot of time to think about what I like and dislike about myself. I’ve also had a lot of time to remember that Hope watches and learns from me. I have been able to make a lot of progress on self-acceptance. Listen, I’m not saying I’m “there,” but I’ve at least switched my thinking from focusing on my looks and size, to focus on what my body can do and what I need to do to make sure it is able to keep doing those things. I lost about 20lbs this year, most of it in January-March, but have largely kept it off. I walk every day. I’ve managed to increase my daily steps substantially. I cook more.

But I also still make a cake every 4-5 days; I still eat too much sugar, I still haven’t mastered hydration and my coping mechanism when it comes to consumption is still…an issue. 😊

I’ve been fortunate that I didn’t take a financial hit this year. I’m grateful for that. It’s meant that I’ve been able to keep debt low and afford some things that have made quarantining more comfortable—more streaming subscriptions, a new electronic standing desk, and some other odds and ends. I’m now contemplating some updates to the kitchen and my bathroom. I mean, if I’m going to be hold up here indefinitely, I probably should make it pretty and comfortable.

The flip side is that this has been one of the most challenging years of my career. The emotional toll is heavy. Dealing with rampant White supremacy in the midst of a pandemic is draining. The murder of George Floyd will be with me for a long time. The fall out has changed the way I think about the work I do, the pleasantries that I’m sometimes forced to engage in, the patience that I’m nearly always in short supply of. And watching some folks just fade back into racial oblivion is…toxic, yet to be expected during the best of times.

It’s been hard.

And love? One of the great loves of my life passed away in January, Elihu. I miss him every day. I wonder what I could’ve done to change the course of our relationship, even though I know my ending it was the right thing to do at the time. The loss of E came on the heels of losing another one of my great loves just the year before. Dating this year was trash. I am seeing someone, but I know it’s not a great fit for me, so I also know it has an expiration date. What can I say pandemics…#shrug. I’m hopeful that maybe I’ll make a meaningful connection in 2021—not meaningful like the Match commercial with Satan and 2020, but meaningful nonetheless.

But I suppose there are some bright spots.

  • I survived my own bout with COVID early in the year.
  • Hope had two jobs for a while and was really good at them.
  • Yappy is much more affectionate with Hope, even if he is primarily still very attached to me.
  • I managed it all without completely falling apart.
  • I deepened some of my friendships.
  • I did a lot of writing and creating, though not in this space.
  • I found another level to my voice regarding diversity at work.

I’m also super conscious of the fact that lots of folks would trade places with me in a minute during this crapshoot of a year. Hope and I are fine. I would give my left foot to hug my mom and dad, see my sisters and snuggle my niece and nephews, but I guess I’ll settle for waving on camera. In the grand scheme of things Hope and I are very fortunate to be comfortable. Our families have not suffered any losses. We are able to afford what we need and largely what we want. We have each other and Yappy.

We’re ok.

I have no idea what my vision board will look like for 2021; right now I just want a giant picture of OUTSIDE, but I’m guessing I should be more specific.


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