90 days let the newness begin.

Dear Friends,

I did not start out looking for a husband I was committed to being single. I was comfortable with my ONENESS. I did not consider myself lonely and I was not afraid to be with ME. Out of frustration I made the decision to give up dating and my search for Mr.…… Two years into my self-imposed isolation I was happy to go to a peaceful home after long days of toiling at work and fighting the grind of riding public transportation. A benefit of living alone is having the space and leisure to do as one please, and besides my boxer jo-jo I enjoyed not being responsible for another person besides Jo-jo.  Two years turned into three and so on.

In my seventh year of being with ME I had drafted three manuscripts, two that I self-published, joined a classical chorus, acquired a second part time job, and finally started the process to complete my master’s in education. Life was GOOD. I was so busy being busy that I did not pay attention to the train wreck that was going to derail me from my mission as a writer and educator, take away my peace, and cause me deep emotional damage, and by the time I emerged from the darkness of the twisted wreckage; I would be lift with the task of rebuilding my life one part at a time. The result I am back in therapy.

This time around I needed to do more than heal my heart and soul from being broken and abandon. I need to step in the room of recovery and address my pain give this pain a name stare it in the face and have a conversation with it. I begin by saying that I was not looking for a husband because I never made it passed the engagement stage. My prince charming wooed me for a year. During our courtship he showed me the person who he needed to be. His true self reared its ugly head the moment I moved into his place. He transformed into a moody, clingy, needy, overbearing, insecure, NAG. He laid down the law by preaching to me about the type of wife he wanted me to be. He made it clear under no circumstances did he see how I could balance both being a wife and continuing with my teaching career, and my hobby as a writer. blogger, classical singer and finding time to keep up with my YouTube channel. This coming from the same man that while living under separate roofs supported me and besides my son became my greatest cheering section. He wanted me to choose. I stayed 90 days. I stayed because I thought that I was living through a short nightmare and that I would wake up. No. This was no nightmare, what I was living through was real.

I left because I could not stay in a relationship that does not value and support me. I am starting over again, but this time is going to be different. I will not sweep my feelings under the rug and just move on. I will address my pain and confusion and address the things that I’ve ignored in my life and heal those parts of me that are still hiding and hurting.

What say you?

This was just part of my story I am not going bore you with all the details that truly lead to write this handbook. While there are millions of self-help books and guides on the market, but how many of them really help people to take a deeper look into how to survives and revive your life after the devastation brought on by the end of a relationship/marriage. We are talking about people who have invested years of emotions, money, and time. Many have raised children fought through infidelity, maybe a death of a spouse, or those who have been married a second and for that marriage to fail. When a relationship is ending we spend so much time and energy being angry and fighting that when the final chapter closes very few people know how to begin again. On August 24, 2018, after a year of wooing me and a 90-day engagement I decided to leave. Normally, I could bounce back and move forward, but the ending of this relationship made me understand that something was different about this ending. I had to do more then just push past my emotions keep my head up and keep moving.

I took a full look at myself in the mirror and found it difficult to recognize me, my appearance changed drastically over a year and I wasn’t happy at the person looking back at me. I let myself go because I was too busy trying keep up with two jobs, church duties, and saying yes to all the other stuff that we tend to cram into an already hectic schedule, all this while trying to be all that I can be for the relationship.

After the break up I had to relocate a distance from the city because I could afford to pay the rent. I was angry because he got to stay, and I had to bear the expense of moving again. But as I grew use to my new surrounding that came with complete quiet and a running track right next to me I began to walk that track and the hill that the track was built on and that when I got the idea. 90 days, even though I said that I was going to take a year to slow down and refocus my life, take 90 days to jump start this process.

Some people go out and have a complete make over hoping that the instead change in appearance will help them work through the pain. There are those who go in the opposite directions they close themselves off from the world, they eat, or drink only to end up in an addiction program. Because most people cannot deal with how to pick up their lives, not for the sake of moving on, but to completely rebuild their lives better, not to prove that they can survive to their exes, but to be better for themselves.

What I am proposing is 90 days of intense focusing on areas that have been neglected. The emphasis should be on self-care start by reevaluating health, consider therapy not just to talk about the feelings of ending the relationship, but how to be a better you, and most importantly slowing down. When I was alone with my thoughts I realized that I was so busy being busy that I was not paying attention. I welcome slowing down, cutting the extra hours at work to make time for therapy, my women’s’ group, and to journal. I truly hope that when you reach the end of your 90 days that you feel emotionally stronger better, be on a healthier physically, have mental clarity, and emerge with a new direction and be prepared to live.

During this journey I will journal as much as I can about day to day my experience. I have neglected my health during the entire year that I’ve allowed myself to be distracted. I am going to put great effort into a 90-day vegan diet. In addition to clean eating I will return to exercise, I use to enjoy walking, going to the gym, yoga, and playing tennis. What happened is that the mistake that many we make is that we sacrifice the areas of our life that brings us happiness for the sake of the relationship. In my case my partner purposely interfered with my schedule. The lesson I learned from that is that I have to stand my ground when it comes down to doing the activities that are important. Another change instead of my weekly to do list, I will reduce all extra activities, and make my weekly list meaningful and productive.

Finally, I spoke about distraction, I got caught off guard I should have been paying attention to the warning sign that my ex was given off. Being busy cost me a lot, during these 90 days, social media will be used only for updating my blog. I will hold myself accountable for keeping the journal entries as current as possible. So, with that said let the journey begin.

Day one, August 27, 2018. I did not go into this 90-day plan thinking that the storm was over, and the universe would cut me some slack. Ha! I arrived at work fresh and ready to get back into my groove. I was thinking the only thing I need now is to get back on track with work. Not that I am going to use work as a distraction, but I was eager to get back to teaching. I was meet with this memo: short version the department has decided that they would cut my hours. I had an immediate melt down in front of everyone. Long story short after spending most of the work day going from one office to the next, another department was more than happy to restore my hours. Instead of me taking a step back and breath I ate a muffin. Oh well.  Tomorrow Gym Day.

8:30pm, the day is done and all I want to do is make it home. Upon leaving my place of employment I discovered that a long-time co-worker and friend had retired and soon after passed away. Again, for the second time tears flowed. I knew this person for 15 years, he was the kind, funny, a great smile and he could tell some funny jokes. I boarded the train and couldn’t wait to get home and bury my face in my pillow and cry. 89 more days to go.

Remember This Day.

shutterstock_157340477

 

If you know anything about people of color, it’s this: Sunday is church day. No matter who you are, what job you do, and how much money you have or don’t have, in my neighborhood on Sunday people attend church. Anything outside of that is considered sacrilege.

The blocks that make up my community consist of brownstone houses. There are two grocery stores, one fish market owned by Mr. Martin & son, one liquor store and a laundromat. Also, there are Ms. Handy’s candy store and Ms. Shirley’s beauty parlor.

During the week,  the streets are busy with the usual activities of the number runners going door to door taking bets for  illegal numbers,  mothers  hustling their  children off to school, and men waiting for rides to go to work.

The ice truck arrives every morning just before Mr. Martin receives the fish for his market. Everyone else is busy opening their shops getting ready for a day of business. The rule in the neighborhood is that the liquor store doesn’t open until noon, a strict code of conduct that is respected because folks around here don’t believe it is right for anyone to start drinking before lunch time.

Ms. Handy opens her candy shop just in time to greet the mothers coming back from school after picking up their children. On some days when the mothers have time, they hang around the counter drinking soda pop and running their mouths, while the children sit outside eating whatever treat they are allowed to have before supper.

The older men who don’t work linger around the liquor store passing around a bottle of Thunder Bird, each taking a sip, telling dirty jokes and repeating the same war stories.  In this area nobody looks down on these men because most of them served this country by volunteering to go to war. This is a community where everybody knows everybody and people help those in need and don’t look kindly on strangers or, as the elders would say “Those who don’t fit in”.  Mostly, they are talking about people outside the colored race.

Friday is payday: this means that the men come home early and women put on their best dresses, because payday means grocery shopping and a visit to the White Castle on the other side of town.  For the families who don’t own a car, it is up to the men to do a head count and double everybody up.  These weekly outings mean a break from cooking for the women, quality time for the men, and the children consider eating at White Castle fine dining.

Sometimes on a Friday Mr. Martin will host a fish fry at his house that also doubles as a card game. Each family takes turns going by the house buying fish dinners, and Mr. Martin gives free ice cream to the children.  When it starts to get late, women take the children home and most of the men stay behind to play poker. Another special part of each Friday is that is one night that the older children are allowed to stay up an hour past their normal school night bedtime.

There is a different rhythm to the activities on Saturday. The men get up early to wash their cars, while children watch cartoons and eat bowls of sweet cereal, allowing time for mother’s to clean the house and prepare for Sunday. After the house chores are done, most of the mothers leave their children with the fathers or at grandma’s house so that they can keep their appointments at Ms. Shirley’s beauty parlor.

No matter how busy Saturday is the golden rule is Saturday is the day before the Lord’s day. People take this seriously. They believe that it is the Lord who blessed them to have jobs, a roof over their heads, and food to eat, so it is only right to give Him one day.

Preparing for Sunday means that the men shine their Sunday shoes the old-fashioned way, gather their male children to inspect their suits, and teach them how to tie a tie.  Women young and old scrutinize their closet for their best dresses and hats. Mothers instruct the oldest daughter in the house to choose outfits for the younger children to be pressed, which has to be done on Saturday night because church going folk don’t Iron clothes on the Lord’s day.

Before the sunset on Saturday, the liquor store is the first to close early and the other stores follow. The last wash at the laundromat is 3pm, and no bets can be taken after closing time because numbers don’t come in on a Sunday. The noise in most homes starts to fade around eight o’clock PM. Children are put to bed no later than nine o’clock PM. Over the course of the night, both parents help with the food preparation for Sunday’s meal.

When the sun rises Sunday morning, the first thing that one notices is that the streets are quiet; there are no number runners and the grocery stores don’t sell beer on Sunday. The smell of Sunday dinner cooking and gospel music can be heard throughout the area. Right after breakfast the men will leave the house to go and put gas in their cars. The mothers bathe and dress the children and sit them down in the living room to wait.

Even if you don’t go to church, everyone respects the Lord’s day.  No one considers himself to be what some people would refer to as a “holy roller,” because people believe that what they are doing is being obedient to the will of God.  The majority of the people around here are members of the same church, Bring it on Baptist, and the Pastor is Reverend Getright. On Sunday full names turns into church title such as sister, brother, mother, deacon, and trustee.

The church day begins with Sunday school. Pastor Getright says “Sunday school sets the tone for Sunday Service”.  Sunday school is taught by the elders, meaning the church mothers and deacons.  Pastor says that “it’s good to keep the elders, involved in the church activity.” He says, “Its’ cause they have life experience.”

Most, if not all, of the children and young adults attend Sunday school. These classes are where most of the children learn The Bible Basic, and as you get older you move from junior  class, to young adult,  and finally to adult class, and someday become a Sunday school teacher.  For me the best part of Sunday school is the snacks after classes are over.

One thing about church ladies it’s this, they can bake. I’m not taking about pouring the cake mix out of the box, adding water, and then baking. No, these sisters bake from scratch; they use real lard, lots of butter, and make their own icing. I heard some of the older sisters say that the recipes they use have been in their family for generations.

Well, I don’t know about generation of recipes, all I know is that the cakes are good!

While the Sunday school crowd is having their snacks, it is the duty of the ushers and deacons to prepare the sanctuary for morning worship. Beside the Sunday meal, the morning service is considered the highlight of the day.

During the preparations, we can hear the organist playing hymns, warming up the organ, the drummer resetting his drums, and the choir gathering in the back room, putting on their robes and praying, asking God to help them to sing for His glory. Although this is a Baptist church, it’s modern by today’s standards. As I was told the Baptist people from down south didn’t start out with musical instruments; they sung a capella clapping their hands to keep the beat.

Well, I’d better move this story along, because Sunday dinner is waiting and there is nothing better than Sunday supper, followed by homemade cake; and if we are lucky we get to go see some of our friends in the neighborhood, which means another piece of cake.

On Sundays people behave differently. There is a lot more laugher, the men sit at the dinner table longer, and the women aren’t in a hurry to clean after dinner.  When the day starts to come to an end, families slowly make their way back to their homes. The scene is something out of a movie; the men put sleeping children in the cars, while the women say their goodbyes. The quietness of the evening is kept while each house is preparing for the start of another busy week.

In their rooms children whisper about how much fun they had, and wives and husbands talk over the things that need to be done during the week. One by one the lights go out; the activity of the day will remain in their minds until the next Lord’s Day.

 

dsc_0560_2

Remember This Day.

Short Story,

 

If you know anything about people of color, it’s this: Sunday is church day. No matter who you are, what job you do, and how much money you have or don’t have, in my neighborhood on Sunday people attend church. Anything outside of that is considered sacrilege.

The blocks that make up my community consist of brownstone houses. There are two grocery stores, one fish market owned by Mr. Martin & son, one liquor store and a laundromat. Also, there are Ms. Handy’s candy store and Ms. Shirley’s beauty parlor.

During the week,  the streets are busy with the usual activities of the number runners going door to door taking bets for  illegal numbers,  mothers  hustling their  children off to school, and men waiting for rides to go to work.

The ice truck arrives every morning just before Mr. Martin receives the fish for his market. Everyone else is busy opening their shops getting ready for a day of business. The rule in the neighborhood is that the liquor store doesn’t open until noon, a strict code of conduct that is respected because folks around here don’t believe it is right for anyone to start drinking before lunch time.

Ms. Handy opens her candy shop just in time to greet the mothers coming back from school after picking up their children. On some days when the mothers have time, they hang around the counter drinking soda pop and running their mouths, while the children sit outside eating whatever treat they are allowed to have before supper.

The older men who don’t work linger around the liquor store passing around a bottle of Thunder Bird, each taking a sip, telling dirty jokes and repeating the same war stories.  In this area nobody looks down on these men because most of them served this country by volunteering to go to war. This is a community where everybody knows everybody and people help those in need and don’t look kindly on strangers or, as the elders would say “Those who don’t fit in”.  Mostly, they are talking about people outside the colored race.

Friday is payday: this means that the men come home early and women put on their best dresses, because payday means grocery shopping and a visit to the White Castle on the other side of town.  For the families who don’t own a car, it is up to the men to do a head count and double everybody up.  These weekly outings mean a break from cooking for the women, quality time for the men, and the children consider eating at White Castle fine dining.

Sometimes on a Friday Mr. Martin will host a fish fry at his house that also doubles as a card game. Each family takes turns going by the house buying fish dinners, and Mr. Martin gives free ice cream to the children.  When it starts to get late, women take the children home and most of the men stay behind to play poker. Another special part of each Friday is that is one night that the older children are allowed to stay up an hour past their normal school night bedtime.

There is a different rhythm to the activities on Saturday. The men get up early to wash their cars, while children watch cartoons and eat bowls of sweet cereal, allowing time for mother’s to clean the house and prepare for Sunday. After the house chores are done, most of the mothers leave their children with the fathers or at grandma’s house so that they can keep their appointments at Ms. Shirley’s beauty parlor.

No matter how busy Saturday is the golden rule is Saturday is the day before the Lord’s day. People take this seriously. They believe that it is the Lord who blessed them to have jobs, a roof over their heads, and food to eat, so it is only right to give Him one day.

Preparing for Sunday means that the men shine their Sunday shoes the old-fashioned way, gather their male children to inspect their suits, and teach them how to tie a tie.  Women young and old scrutinize their closet for their best dresses and hats. Mothers instruct the oldest daughter in the house to choose outfits for the younger children to be pressed, which has to be done on Saturday night because church going folk don’t Iron clothes on the Lord’s day.

Before the sunset on Saturday, the liquor store is the first to close early and the other stores follow. The last wash at the laundromat is 3pm, and no bets can be taken after closing time because numbers don’t come in on a Sunday. The noise in most homes starts to fade around eight o’clock PM. Children are put to bed no later than nine o’clock PM. Over the course of the night, both parents help with the food preparation for Sunday’s meal.

When the sun rises Sunday morning, the first thing that one notices is that the streets are quiet; there are no number runners and the grocery stores don’t sell beer on Sunday. The smell of Sunday dinner cooking and gospel music can be heard throughout the area. Right after breakfast the men will leave the house to go and put gas in their cars. The mothers bathe and dress the children and sit them down in the living room to wait.

Even if you don’t go to church, everyone respects the Lord’s day.  No one considers himself to be what some people would refer to as a “holy roller,” because people believe that what they are doing is being obedient to the will of God.  The majority of the people around here are members of the same church, Bring it on Baptist, and the Pastor is Reverend Getright. On Sunday full names turns into church title such as sister, brother, mother, deacon, and trustee.

The church day begins with Sunday school. Pastor Getright says “Sunday school sets the tone for Sunday Service”.  Sunday school is taught by the elders, meaning the church mothers and deacons.  Pastor says that “it’s good to keep the elders, involved in the church activity.” He says, “Its’ cause they have life experience.”

Most, if not all, of the children and young adults attend Sunday school. These classes are where most of the children learn The Bible Basic, and as you get older you move from junior  class, to young adult,  and finally to adult class, and someday become a Sunday school teacher.  For me the best part of Sunday school is the snacks after classes are over.

One thing about church ladies it’s this, they can bake. I’m not taking about pouring the cake mix out of the box, adding water, and then baking. No, these sisters bake from scratch; they use real lard, lots of butter, and make their own icing. I heard some of the older sisters say that the recipes they use have been in their family for generations.

Well, I don’t know about generation of recipes, all I know is that the cakes are good!

While the Sunday school crowd is having their snacks, it is the duty of the ushers and deacons to prepare the sanctuary for morning worship. Beside the Sunday meal, the morning service is considered the highlight of the day.

During the preparations, we can hear the organist playing hymns, warming up the organ, the drummer resetting his drums, and the choir gathering in the back room, putting on their robes and praying, asking God to help them to sing for His glory. Although this is a Baptist church, it’s modern by today’s standards. As I was told the Baptist people from down south didn’t start out with musical instruments; they sung a capella clapping their hands to keep the beat.

Well, I’d better move this story along, because Sunday dinner is waiting and there is nothing better than Sunday supper, followed by homemade cake; and if we are lucky we get to go see some of our friends in the neighborhood, which means another piece of cake.

On Sundays people behave differently. There is a lot more laugher, the men sit at the dinner table longer, and the women aren’t in a hurry to clean after dinner.  When the day starts to come to an end, families slowly make their way back to their homes. The scene is something out of a movie; the men put sleeping children in the cars, while the women say their goodbyes. The quietness of the evening is kept while each house is preparing for the start of another busy week.

In their rooms children whisper about how much fun they had, and wives and husbands talk over the things that need to be done during the week. One by one the lights go out; the activity of the day will remain in their minds until the next Lord’s Day.

 

dsc_0560_2