Tag Archives: Identity

Radical Self Care

I just returned from Puerto Rico, and I’m realizing I don’t do this kind of radical self-care often enough.

Every morning, I got up to walk. I love my daily walks with Yappy. It’s usually dark, and I’ve got to stop a half million times to allow him to sniff, try to reach the errant, tossed away chicken bone or pop a squat. I often go back out for a quick walk without him. These last few days I’ve walked close to 5 miles every morning, coming back to the hotel drenched in sweat, feeling alive and a little more tan.

I picked up some yogurt from the market, got cleaned up and headed to the beach. I enjoyed the sounds of the ocean, lulling me into a morning nap facilitated by early drinking and an edible or two. I read a trashy book, hit the ice cream shop for lunch and relocated to the pool in the afternoon.

beach2

I discovered a little carry out shop across the street from the hotel; they make the best calzone crust I’ve ever had. I also purchased a bottle of rum and have practically had Cuba Libres on tap the last several days.

beach

I lounged in my king sized bed, channel surfing in the evenings, briefly considering going out, or at least going down to the cigar bar to smoke and drink in the luxe lobby.

Lounging stayed winning during this brief reprieve.

I’ve experienced so few moments of irritation over the last few days that they seem almost a distant memory. Oh, I remember them though and Holy Homeboy, white folks are at the heart of each moment. Now, just remember that part of what precipitated my quick vacation scheduling is having been pushed to the brink by white folks during a meeting on diversity and inclusion, so this is a sensitive thing right now.

Practically empty beach, no please come stand in front my chair to take your selfies for 15 minutes.

Whiny group of 10 traveling together who asked if I would move chairs so they could also sit together at the pool. This chair? The one I’ve been sitting in for 90 minutes? No. I’m good. Cue their melodrama of moving to another row to sit together. #theaudacity

I had time to do a lot of thinking and reflecting on this trip, but honestly…I didn’t. I thought I might take some time to think about my next career moves, maybe spend some time thinking about some of the volunteering I’ve been doing. I thought I might think about finding my way around this dating thing. I thought I might think about a lot of things.

Instead, I gave my brain a much needed rest. I thought about very little. I rested.

beach

Why is it that I had to hit a wall to embrace just doing nothing for a few days? I mean, I know that the daily routine isn’t designed for just being without expectation, but wow, not doing anything for 3 days should not feel so radical or costly. And yet it does.

I’m glad to be home, waiting for the boarder to bring Yappy home. I’m looking forward to getting back into my routine for a few weeks. I’ve got a trip to Hawaii in a few weeks for work. I’m looking forward to freshening my tan and enjoying time with colleagues.

In the meantime, I’m going to find a few minutes every day to just be, to just breathe and to just rest.

Challenging all of you to do the same.

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Never Have I Ever…

Needed to vacuum at 7:30am before becoming a mother.

Wanted band seasons to end so badly.

Been so excited that Hope wants to go *away* to band camp next summer—several band camps actually.

Thought I would restrict Hope’s primary cereal choices to Kellogg’s Special K with Red Berries or Raisin Brand Crunch.

Thought I’d make Yoda so proud with Jedi mind tricks, by my mind game is #strong.

Needed a grown up vacation so bad.

Wanted or needed to figure out how to cultivate new friendships with a bunch of cliquish band parents.

Thought finding Flavor-Ice plastics all over the house would annoy me so very much.

Thought I would deal with hoarding.

Thought I’d sleep with a dog under the covers again after The Furry One, but then there was #Yappy.

See diversity issues through new eyes as an adoptive parent.

Faced the idea of having a primary focus on social development rather than academic performance.

Read so many journal articles on parenting children of trauma.

Thought I’d be so dang tired.

Contemplated the convergence of my many identities—Black, woman, sliding in to middle age, educated, single mom, adoptive parent, professional.

Missed so many deadlines.

Gone this long without reading a book for pleasure.

Drank so much wine.

Spent so much time looking for good wines with screw tops because I simply can’t be bothered with finding the corkscrew.

Been told my blood pressure is elevating.

Bought *this size* clothing.

Worked so hard outside of work.

Tried so hard to find time for self-care.

Been so frustrated that I can come home from a day and a half business trip to find a sink full of dirty dishes spilling on to the counters and stove, a dog with a less than clean bottom, the new bottle of juice empty, a strange pile of tooth picks on the coffee table, dog chewed glue sticks on the floor, Chinese takeout condiment packets all over the kitchen, dining room and coffee table and a dog who seemed extraordinarily happy that I was home just before midnight.

Actually paid a nanny—one of our best nannies—for the previously described welcome home without being really pissed.

Thought I’d take my teenage daughter’s narcissism so personally.

Thought I’d have the wonderful relationship with my boo, Elihu, that I do as a single parent.

Believed that I had the capacity to grind out this life like I do.

Believed that I could love like I do.

Believed that I could be as angry as I get sometimes.

Believed that my life could be full of so many decisions where there were no apparent upsides, just rocks and hard places.

Learned so much about invisible disabilities.

Had so many epiphanies about life.

Realized just how privileged I was growing up.

Realized just how much I took for granted before adopting Hope.

Had to sneak away to buy things for myself.

Had to carefully curate my online persona like I do now.

Been so frustrated about racism and sexism as I am now that I have a daughter—I was always frustrated but on a scale of 1-10, I’m now on 50.

Been so annoyed by how teen magazines spend so much time coaching girls about how to get a boyfriend/love interest.

Spent so much time trying to figure out how blended/complicated family structures can thrive.

Wanted so much out of life for someone else the way that I do for Hope.

Spent so much time thinking about what the second half of my life will look like.

Spent so much time thinking about how Hope will shape what the second half of my life will be like-who will she evolve into? What will she choose to do academically? Professionally? Where will she live? Will I be a grandmother? Will I ever breakdown and start shopping at Chico’s because I associate it with grandmotherhood?

Considered thinking about the need to move from my beloved condo like I do now.

Daydreamed about what living in a larger space with a yard would be like before now.

Spent so much time thinking about my personal politics and how adoption from foster care and motherhood have shaped them.

Spent so much time thinking about my own religious beliefs and needs before feeling rejected by my former church.

Felt *this* frustrated trying to figure out what kind of house of worship will be the best fit for me and Hope.

Questioned organized religion as much as I do now after being told that Hope and I don’t fit the “motif” of a cute family seeking a public dedication to the Holy Homeboy.

Never have I ever felt like my body betrayed me like I did when I realized I would never birth a biological child.

Confessed just how deeply that revelation hurt me because there are simply no words that can describe it.

Believed that life was fair.

Believed that we all get the same, equitable shot at the life we really desire—some of us have to work doubly, infinitely harder to get there.

Believed that a good fight wasn’t worth it.

Envisioned that this would be the life that I would have.

Been disappointed with it in total—there are some episodes I would change, but it’s all pretty good when viewed holistically, I guess.

Not been thankful for what I have, what I pursue, what I have achieved.

Not acknowledged the folks who have pushed me along, even if their pushes have been painful or served motivation to simply prove them wrong.

Not been grateful for my haters. #theyseemerolling #theyhatin’

Not been without flaws.

Not done my absolute best, sometimes to my own detriment.

Not been brutally real.

Not been authentic.

Not been just me.

Your turn…sound off.


7 Days and Counting

So Hope and I have had phone contact every day since I told her that she was moving.  And every day our chats have hit a snag like an ugly hang nail.

I ended last night’s call abruptly because it was after 11pm my time, and I’d been working on my dissertation for 3 hours with only a few sentences to show for it (I’ve been doing analysis, so there’s technically stuff in my brain, but I can’t show that), and she was so obnoxious that I said to both of us:

“You know, I’ve only got a week before I have to deal full time both of our attitudes at the same time,  and then I only will be able to leave the room rather than just say goodbye and hang up.”

She replied, “Oh really? Ok, whatever” with lots of attitude and implied dare.

I said, “Yeah, love you.   Peace out homie.” And click.

Somewhere in there I feel a bit of guilt, but not a lot, very little actually.  So, yeah, I clicked the “end call” button, popped a sleeping pill so I could clock 4 hours of sleep and get up and back to work.

I feel like I’m racing.  Racing towards Hope and racing against time clinging to life before full-time Hope.

There are things I want and need to do before she gets here.  It feels like there isn’t enough time.  It probably doesn’t even matter, but it seems that it does on some level.  These fleeting moments of being able to say no and shut it down feel delicious.  I’m giving myself a break about the tiny bit of guilt I feel about that.

There’s a part of me that feels like I’ll be trapped once she’s here.  She’s not an infant, and we’re not really trapped, so I’m guessing it’s the reality of the WE versus the ME.  I really am fretting a bit about what happens to ME as a separate entity, separate identity.  I didn’t imagine this identity thing really freaking me out as much as it has.

Ugh.  Again, emotions are messy.   And nothing like practically hanging up on your obnoxious 12 year old daughter one week before placement, followed by irritating AM texting from an ex who wanted to remind me that he thinks of me all the time <eye roll>. Yeah, that kind of morning.  Blech.

Team meeting about the kiddo later today.

Sigh…


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