I Edit My Vulnerability

Notes To Self

I know what it is when I can no longer breathe in a sudden moment and the thoughts come quickly. Faster and faster. Thoughts about what I haven’t done, what I need to do, what I want to do, the cants the cans, the should haves, the could haves, the why-did-yous. They come quickly until I am fetal in my mind and then, suddenly,  also, in my bed. And then I weep like I know intimately what death is like and it’s coming for a visit I didn’t plan for.

I know that the sinking emptiness that has me marathoning a show I’m only vaguely invested in is something else, because when I say I’m “watching TV,” all I can see is the reflections of the screen in the poster hanging beside my bed because no, I’m not “watching TV,” but staring listlessly at the wall. Whatever “it” is has me eating food I don’t want or need only because I’ve cooked it and I’ve cooked food I don’t want or need only because I have nothing else to do. Or rather, I have too much to do and feel as though there’s not enough time in the universe to do it regardless of what Beyoncé’s 24-hours look like.

But I’m fine! Because how do you explain this to people who you know aren’t going to say anything you don’t already know or haven’t already heard or haven’t already told yourself or worse yet, told someone else because advice is freely given but damned if I can take it.

(You relate.)

I know the things to do, the links to click, buy a book and read on it. Speak up because keeping it in is never a good thing.  You don’t have to tell me twice, because I’m hip and I know what I would never do. No Hannah Bakers here — never that — but still, the wall is there and I’m looking staring listlessly at it as the scenarios run through my head until it has been a week of coming and going and the only thing I’ve accomplished is cleaning my room and I’m calling it self-care.

I am angry that I feel like this, and I’m angrier that I feel like I can’t say anything about it knowing very well I can and I’m angry my vices aren’t even interesting like sex, drugs or rock’n’roll because then someone would see the spiral for more than a symptom of “introversion.”

I’m angry that I’m writing this to put on a blog I don’t update because when I feel like what’s the point, what is the point? I’m aware of everything all the time and I wish I wasn’t. I wish i wasn’t my own devil’s advocate with every thought, opportunity, opinion I have. I wish I could say all my beliefs come from a sturdy place, but I can’t. I wish I could say I had goals that I’m working towards, but I don’t know that I am. I’m mad that the go–tos are to “push through!” because that’s somehow an easy thing to do when I live life like my hands, my voice, my spirit is is shaking and I can’t get them to stop.

Always neutral, when I don’t want to be when I’m fighting myself to be up or down. Why do I care when it would be easy otherwise

— empathy is crippling because other people’s shoes don’t often fit.

I’m resentful, bitter and always a little bit angry at everything always because of course I know what’s going on, but even as I write this and edit (when I said I wouldn’t) I’m overthinking whether or not these overt thoughts are what I think they are.

WhatdoIknowandwhatisangerevenandIshouldbeabletomeditatebutIcan’tsomehowandmaybeI’mjustoverreactingandwritinghelpsandIwillbeokayeventuallybutsometimesyoujust

gotta not and let that rock too.

 

 

Know Your Worth

Notes To Self

originally written on April 9, 2016


I have supported myself through college by working as a server and one thing I have learned is that people love to teach you things.

I recently learned how to tell if a bottle of wine has sat opened for too long—hold a salt shaker to the drink edge and see if it’s brown. The gentlemen in this case was rather irked because his wine was stale and decided I needed to know just how he knew. He was mistaken in his analysis as I’d watched the bartender open a fresh bottle to pour for him, but that’s not important.

What is important is when you get a great table—and I’m not talking about wine guy here—who shares advice that, even when unsolicited, turns out to be amazingly truthful.

The guest I am referring to opened by asking me what a good tip is for me. I told him that 15-18% is about average and 20% is great. The man—we’ll call him Gray—proceeded to ask me if I thought I was a good server.

“Sure,” I said. “I think I gave great service, no?” He nodded.

“I think I deserve a good tip.”

“So let’s do the math,” Gray said.

“Ten percent of $66 is six-sixty, we’ll double that for a tip of about $13. You know what, let’s make it a fair 20.”

He’d given me just over 30%. (Inward cheer.) 

Gray proceeded to let me know that if I’d asked for $100, he would have given it to me. In part because he was feeling generous, but also because I’d laid out a perception of my worth. Gray didn’t relate any of this specifically to waitressing, but he stressed how important it was for people to know their worth and promote that perception. In negotiating—we’d been talking post-grad job life—and in waitressing and in life.

Every other article in every lifestyle magazine and self-help novel tells us, especially young women, how vital understanding our worth and changing our perception of ourselves is. But sometimes you need someone to tell you this in person and in an unexpected way. I myself have fallen much too often into a place where I let another person decide my importance and place and base my decisions from that, but I’m looking to change that.

Had I said a good tip was $100 and I deserved it, I’d have gotten it from Gray. Had I told the last boy that I’d dated that I deserved more than to just be an option, I’d have saved myself the time and hurt. Maybe I would’ve gotten that last opportunity I wanted if I had pushed myself to get it.

Then again, maybe not. But at least I would have been able to say that I valued me highly enough to fight for myself. A good lesson to learn.

26 Days Ago

Notes To Self

I barely remember 9/11.

Unlike many people, I can’t tell you where I was, what I was wearing, or who I was with when I found out that terrorists had crashed planes into the Twin Towers. Sure, I was only in elementary school, but that day is so ingrained in the fiber of our nation that it feels like a faux pas to point out how much it really didn’t affect my formative years.

However, I do remember 9/3. That’s the day, in 2016, my entire family packs up a rented van and drives my baby sister–hardly a baby anymore–to New York City.

“You’re in college now,” I tell her in a mockingly severe voice before we leave the house.

“You’re going to be tempted to be stupid. Don’t be stupid.” She rolls her eyes as teenagers do, but I know she understands exactly what I am saying. Be careful. Be safe.

She is always careful, but that doesn’t guarantee her safety.

It’s not her actions I worry about when I’ve texted her six times in a row because she hasn’t yet replied to the first.  It’s the actions of an unknown individual setting off bombs in dumpsters or plotting to take out a subway system or whatever other sinister act living in a large–or any–American city attracts these days.

I worry for my parents, who may not be as in tune with the minute happenings of our world being a social media obsessed millennial allows me to be. If something were to happen, when would they know?

I worry for my brother, who has his own battle being a successful Black male in America. Is any member of our Black family safe from day to day? Another thought for another time.

I worry for the nation; we’re living in a place that is seemingly always on the cusp of some sort of disaster. Economically, culturally, internationally, socially, physically, etc. What will tomorrow bring? That is, if it comes at all.

But most of all, I worry for the youngest of the family. The one of us expected to be the most successful. The smartest, the funniest (well, maybe not more than me), and the most charming of our happy little crew. She’s five or six hours away. Who is keeping her safe without us being arm’s length away. I worry for her and about her because while I don’t much remember 9/11, I remember every attack since. In all of the many, many places since. We’re all just being realistic when we acknowledge what has happened in New York, Florida, D.C., and several other cities, and that it may happen again.

Still, I must accept that living in a state of paranoia is helpful to no one, especially myself, so I text her regularly hoping to hear of a celebrity siting rather than something new to worry about.

She has a beautiful view of Manhattan from her dorm window and tucked away in the back, glistening when the sun hits it just right, is the Freedom Tower. I make sure to remember what is stands for.

Wannabe

Notes To Self

I am notorious for having ideas of things to write about and never publishing them. My drafts folder is a jumble of half-finished thoughts on the latest pop culture drama and commentary on some new buzzword. I guess it’s because ever since I’ve been into reading blogs, I’ve felt like one that I would make myself would have to be one grand thinkpiece after another. As a result, I’ve been so stuck on writing the right thing in just the right way. Silliness! After all, I’m not making any money off of this. [Yet!]

I have a lot of things to say about a lot of things, but I’m realizing now that my public page doesn’t at all reflect this because I’m pressuring myself to have a “good” blog. But, at the end of the day, I made this for me and I’d better stop trying to write the next great op-ed on why the Tyga and Kylie saga is a disaster and rant on about what comes to my mind. I mean, maybe one day I’ll write about that, but I don’t need to put pressure on myself to make it (and anything else) exactly noteworthy.

*Messsaaaage*

Pressure may make diamonds, but adding pressure on some gems just makes a mess.

New Year, New…

Notes To Self

Definitely not me, I can tell you that much. Not because 2015 won’t be a year of change, but because that phrase is so stupid. Tell me it isn’t. You shouldn’t have to wait for a brand new revolution around the Sun in order to decide to make a difference in your life. This is why I don’t make resolutions any more. It’s hard to lie to yourself about goals and aspirations that you truly want to accomplish.Just because I’ve said I’m going to do something doesn’t mean I believe I’ll do it. It’s why, nowadays, I try to make plans but not promises. I want to go to the gym more and I probably will, but sometimes I won’t. I’ll live like a free bird.

A new semester has begun for me and it will be a busy one between work, classes, and the extra leadership roles I’ve taken in organizations. Not to mention the Great Internship Hunt.  College. I don’t even want to discuss it so I won’t.


I’m always happy for a new year because every January seems like a renewal. It feels like a restart button has been pushed when that giant ball drops…usually. This year, however, the dirty muck of society’s problems have been tracked across the clean floor. It’s not as if we, as an entire human people, were clean. Wars have never ended because the time changed. Murders have occurred even as the clock strikes 12. The homeless were not enjoying warm fires and cool drinks with friends. The awareness I’ve developed over the past few years has forced me to see how much needs to be changed. A new year is nice on a personal level, but you’re wrong if you live solely to serve yourself. The world is much larger than “me” and I hope, 365 days from now, that there is some refreshment to feel.