my journey back

Dear Readers,

My journey back.
I spent a lot of time confused as to why I couldn’t bounce back. Two years ago I almost found myself on the edge of being homeless. The events in life that you think couldn’t happen to you like, unemployment, illness, homelessness, no saving, and worst the people who declared and sworn their undying loyalty to you, when the shit hit the fan they were out of sight out of mind. You wake up in the middle of the night and it finally hits you. Your alone. Alone in the battle to reset and regain your life.

How do you do this?

I had a plan my journey began when I was 30. I broke away from an abusive marriage, received much needed therapy, and I though the ghosts from my past were gone. I was wrong. I wasn’t paying attention. I didn’t learn anything. I didn’t stay focused on me or my goals. I made the to do lists, made plans to do better and be better, but year after year I failed. I failed because my major distraction was running after relationships that I wasn’t ready for or men who just wasn’t good for me. I am not placing blame on the men they were doing what men do take what’s being offered to them. When I think about how I suffered through year after year in unless relationships, my heart cringe.
Mistake number two not making me the number one priority. I spread myself too thin trying to play super women. I gave so much of my precious time to people who are no longer in my life because I was just a means to their end. I was busy being a savior. I gave away money that I should have saved for a rainy day. I was too trusting of people who claimed me as their ” friend” for most of my life I have been blinded sided by these so called ” friends”. Paying attention has never been my strongest trait. Its taken me from the age of 18 until 50 for the light bulb to come on in my head. Currently, I am 55 and the last five years of my life have been about me finally letting go of what hasn’t worked in my life. The toughest part of this new journey loosing my apartment and the fear of not knowing. In one year I moved 4 times, each move I lost personal items, money and time. My last stupid mistake believing that I had finally found the one. Not. He was the straw that literally broken the camels back.

I have suffered through childhood trauma, being a single teenage mother, and becoming a high school drop out. I spent one year on the welfare system before I gave up and got my first job as a home health aide, and  I survived 7 years of an abusive marriage. When I fought for my independent I did not understand that independence comes with a price. When a women desire to walk the road less traveled she become an outcast. I worked my way through college it took ten years complete three degrees. During this time I barely kept my head above water, and I experienced some of the worst relationships. What devastated me the most was the lack of love, compassion and support I needed from my family. July 2017, I lost my apartment at the same time I published my first novel a short memoir, followed by a short story. I had no idea that there was a writer inside of me. I turned to writing as a means to escape the pain of feeling unloved and abandoned. I auditioned for a classical chorus and with dedication and practice, practice, practice June 2019, I performed at Carnegie Hall. I created a YouTube channel Conversations with J. R. Floyd, a forum where I talk about relationship issues and everyday life problems that effect our ability to be who we truly are. I kept writing as a result I have two more books to be published in 2020.

In the last three years I have paid attention to old patterns that keep me trapped in cycles of being unproductive and distracted. Now I am the number one priority. And I am happy that I took the time to understand why my relationship weren’t successful. Its feels amazing to finally have my feet planted on firm ground. While on this journey back I reflect on something Virginia Woolf once said as she described the conditions necessary for a woman to unleash her full potential: privacy (a “room of one’s own”), and money (self-sufficiency). Woolf argues that, if women are to explore their potential, they must be allowed to pursue these basic necessities. In my case my own space.

December 1, construction of my new living space will begin and move in day is December 28, just in time to pop the Champaign and celebrate my new beginning with a new year ( 2020) . . I have opted to have a roommate living alone doesn’t appeal to me now that I am aging and my roommate is a perfect fit. This journey back has been difficult, scary, enlightening, stressful, disappointing set backs, tearful, hopeless, feelings of brokenness, confusion, and there were days that I just couldn’t understand why?
I am moving forward with the smell of fresh paint, new carpet, every single piece of furniture is new and I can’t wait to be back in my own kitchen. I decided that I will settle in for a while before I open the doors to invite people in. I am thinking Spring will be a good time to cook a family dinner and open the doors to my new space. Moving forward with the information I have learned I have 5 years until retirement. I will continue on my path of emotional healing, spiritual balance and immerse myself in my mental and physical well being. I have plans to spend my 56th birthday in Vegas, and I have two more trips planned for 2020. And for my retirement finale I am building a tiny house. Please believe the saying, ” life is what you make it”. This half of my life is certainly going to be my best life.
Thank you for taking the journey with me.

Healing

Dear readers,

I should have protected her, but I didn’t know she was sacred. When I was a young girl no one told she was the essence of my spirit and the center of my being. No one told me that if I gave her away too soon she would be abused, missed used, hated, battered, passed around, and treated as if she doesn’t have a soul. No one told me that she would cry, hide and begged to be cherished, loved, and protected. No one told me that she would be branded whore, slut, loose, easy, and old maid. I didn’t listen to her when she whispered” lets not do this again.” I pushed her concerns aside for the benefit of pleasure, but the pleasure wasn’t for us. I didn’t hear her when she begged me to stop treating her like stocks on the Wall Street trading floor sold to the highest bider. After all these years of being together I final understood and the moment that I did the emptiness and pain shook me to my core. The years of allowing others to pour into me their brokneness, suffering, pain, bitterness, resentment, and heartbreak, their spirits never left me even when I thought that I started a new. Why? Because no one told me that my womanhood, my maiden head, my innocene, the purest part of me was scared. No one told me to guard her because giving her away to the woves of this world might result in irreversible damage. No one told me that she would rebel, and that I needed to follow her into the battle to wait for the one. The one who would wait for her to mature. To understand that she needed to be loved and that she is a part if a whole. I regret that I abandon her. I was anger at her for not being better for not capturing and keeping those who I considered a soulmate. She understood they weren’t worthy.

Today, after all of the destruction of my past I realized I never forgave myself for not protecting the innocent young girl who give in too soon. Can you ever forgive me?

I write this too all the women who gave in to soon. HEAL.

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An Ode to Nephew

Dear Readers,

Wednesday October 4, 2017, I was sitting in my bedroom pouring my soul into my journal, ranting about how humanity has left me feeling abandon, unloved and an outcast, in a society where people prefer to engage in a relationship with their technical devices, instead of connecting with people. At 11:35pm, my mobile phone rings, I saw my youngest sisters’ name on the screen, I said “shit” took a deep breath and answered.

“sis.”

“Yes.”

“sis, what’s wrong?”

“Donavan committed suicide.”

Silence. Time Stopped.

My handsome 22-year-old nephew, a recent college graduate, received a new car from his proud father, and on his way to a career in law enforcement. A young man with a spotless record, choir member and church usher; felt that he no longer wanted to live. Days after this tragic event people are asking why? If I had the answer would that knowledge bring him back?

We live in a society where there is an increasing number of teens and young adults committing suicide, and the only question people are asking is why? My family has been devastated by such a sudden and violent death. When the family gathers we don’t talk much, we stare into space and go through the motions of planning his final service.

His mother, my sister asked me to write something nice for his obituary. After many tears soaked pages, I finally wrote these words.

Yesterday, the sky was a blazed with stars so bright they lead me home.

Yesterday, I saw your smiling face, happy with hope, faith, and peace.

Today, the Sun shined radiantly I saw your smile in the warmth of the rays.

Tonight, no stars, and the smiling, peaceful, hopeful, faithful face is no more.

The Sun has gone down. In his rest my beloved nephew struggles no more against the trails of life, loveless days, and the pain that he was unable to express. Yesterday, silence. Today there is Peace.

 

 

 

A Different Flavor of Love

Desiree Hancock is born during the worst snowstorm New York City has seen in decades. Her entrance into the world takes place on the living room floor of the Marlboro Houses in Coney Island. Her mother Olivia barely survives on public assistance, bringing home any man who is willing to buy food and stay for the night. Desiree only hears rumors about her supposed father, Luis Figueroa, a low-level gang-banger and drug dealer. He never officially claims Desiree as his child because he knows that Olivia is in the habit of having more than one sexual partner. As Desiree matures, he sees some resemblance to his grandmother; this softens his heart enough for him to give Olivia money when she claims to need things for his daughter.

Growing up, Desiree becomes used to Olivia’s staying out all night and seeing a new man sitting at the breakfast table in each morning. She struggles with issues children her age should not have to. One of her biggest problems was staying in school. She is absent whenever Olivia stays out and doesn’t come home the next day.

At school, the other kids wear nice clothes and shoes. Desiree’s clothes are worn thin and sometimes dirty. Despite not wearing the best of clothes, the happiest hours of her day are at school. There she can be a child, and eat lunch without having to share with her sister. At home, there is always the baby to feed, clothes to wash, and a mother who glares at her with hatred.

Desiree makes a few friends at school: her best friend is Sophia Evans, who lives a few buildings away from her. Sophia’s apartment is different from Desiree’s; they have nice furniture and their apartment always smells nice. Sophia has two parents who work. Mrs. Evans works part-time in the school cafeteria, and her father is a security guard. Wallace is Sophia’s older brother, a senior in high school. After graduation, he plans to go into the army, getting out of the projects. As often as Desiree can, she sneaks over to Sophia’s, claiming that she needs help with her homework.

Desiree barely makes it to the eighth grade; she is struggling to keep up with the rest of her peers. The school administrator threatens Olivia if she does not take responsibility for sending Desiree to school on a regular basis. If she fails to comply, the school will recommend a home visit from Child Protective Services. For a short period, things improve, but not much.  Olivia stops talking to Desiree, and when she does speak, she yells orders at her.

Olivia is pregnant, giving Desiree a reprieve from her mother’s meanness. Desiree takes this opportunity to spend time visiting Sophia. Wallace notices that Desiree is developing physically, so he hangs around the house during her visits. When it is time for her to go home, Wallace offers to walk with her.  He is seventeen and she is fifteen. Wallace is horny and Desiree is primary bait.

Desiree is excited because her sixteenth birthday is approaching. For days, she begs and almost gets on her knees asking Olivia to have a party. A week before her birthday, her mother gives in on the condition that she does all the work. Desiree turns to the only people she knows will help her. On the day of the party, Mrs. Evans makes fried chicken and potato salad, to go with Desiree’s BBQ chicken, rice and string beans. Wallace brings the cake, Sophia uses her allowance to buy the decorations, and she gives Desiree a blue dress to wear.

Olivia leaves to stay at a friend’s house, claiming that she cannot be around the noise. Desiree is not disappointed; secretly, she does not want her mother there.  At 4 o’clock, Sophia arrives to help decorate and to style Desiree’s hair. By the time they are done, it is 7pm. Wallace, the DJ, his friend, and Mrs. Evans come to set up the food and the music. At 7:30, Luis (Desiree’s father) shows up, after hearing about the party from Olivia. He asks Desiree if she needs anything, and gives him a list of things that will help to make the party better. Half an hour later, Luis comes back with three girls about Desiree’s age; he introduces them as family members. He brings the items that were on the list.  Slowly, the other guests arrive, and by 8:30pm there are fifteen teenagers at the party, Desiree is hoping more will show up. Despite the low turnout, she is having a good time.

Mrs. Evans stays to help serve the food; Luis makes himself useful by setting up an area to serve the soda and water. By 9:00, the party is going full blast; Desiree is asked to dance twice, once by Wallace and then by his friend the DJ. At 10pm, the music stops, so they can sing happy birthday to Desiree. She blows out all the sixteen candles on her cake, and wishes for a better life.  A few people give her gifts; Mrs. Evans gives her a card with sixteen one-dollar bills, and Sophia, a pair of blue earrings, her favorite color.  Finally, Luis gives her an envelope and whispers in her ear not to open it until she is alone.

Desiree is overwhelmed with emotions, and does not know how to process her feelings. Never in her sixteen years has anybody done so much for her as the people standing in that room. To break the awkwardness of the moment, Mrs. Evans steps forward and gives her a hug. The DJ starts the music and the party continues with everyone eating cake and dancing. At 11:30 pm, Olivia comes back and the party is over. A few people stay to help Desiree clean up, while Olivia sits at the table eating. Mrs. Evans, Wallace, and Sophia are the last to leave. Before they go, Desiree gives Sophia her birthday money to hold for safekeeping, because she knows that Olivia will search her room and take the money.

When Desiree returns to the apartment, Olivia rolls her eyes at her and says, “I guess you consider yourself a woman now that you’re old enough to spread your legs.” Desiree goes to her room and cries herself to sleep. The next day, while taking a shower, she gets her first period. She does not tell her mother; she dresses and goes to Sophia’s. She spends the entire Sunday with Sophia, who teaches her how to take care of herself, because Sophia had gotten her period last year. First, they go to the store to buy feminine products. Sophia warned Desiree not to tell anyone at school when she had her “friend.”

“Friend, what friend are you talking about?”

“That’s what my mother calls having your period.”

Sophia also tells her to wear pants, take two Tylenols, and drink hot tea if she has stomach pain. Desiree goes home after eating Sunday dinner with the Evanses.

She is happy that Olivia is asleep. She goes to her room and finds a good hiding place for her feminine products and the extra cash she has acquired as birthday money. Enjoying the quietness of the apartment, Desiree falls asleep, and is awakened by her mother’s screaming for her to get up and cook.

It is the end of June. School is out; Olivia gives birth to a girl and the baby’s daddy moves into their already crowded two-bedroom apartment. His name is Baron, an unemployed hustler. Despite not having a job, Baron helps around the apartment, and he seems to be happy being a father, maybe because this is his first child. Desiree is lucky to get a summer job as a counselor at a day camp. However, she dislikes Olivia for demanding that she give her fifty dollars from each paycheck, claiming to need the money to buy Pampers. The truth is the money is for Baron.

Sophia goes to her grandparents’ house in Florida. She does not get a summer job, and her parents do not want her hanging around the projects. Wallace’s father gets him hired as security guard at his agency. Desiree is free to spend time with Wallace. He finds a secret place for them to meet, a small room in the basement of the building he lives in. He spreads a blanket on the floor; there is no light, so they use candles. They spend time there eating food that Desiree buys with the money she earns from her summer job. Wallace introduces her to wine, and she discovers that she likes it.

One day before they meet Wallace has another surprise for her; he leads her to the room with a blindfold. When he removes the blindfold, Desiree opens her eyes to see that he has set up a twin mattress, pillows, and a crate with candles and a small radio. Desiree feels special, and she becomes eager to meet Wallace at their special place.  Wallace takes an old cooler from his house to keep the wine, beer and water cold. They talk about the future: he tells her about his plans to join the army. Each time they meet, Wallace gets Desiree more comfortable with his touching her. He knows Desiree is a virgin; he likes the fact that no one has touched her, unlike the other girls he has known. It is not too long before Desiree experiences her first time. He makes sure that she drinks a good amount of wine and he gives her a massage, helping her to relax. When she questions him about using a condom, he tells her she is safe, that he will pull out when the time comes. Desiree does not know any better, so she goes along with him…….

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Thank you for stopping by.

J. R.