You’re an Adult. JUST SAY NO!

Heya,

One of the hardest things I’ve had to learn as an adult is to Just Say No. I’m no push over but I often find myself saying yes to things I don’t want to do.

Things Asked To Do:

  • Go out on the town/Club
  • Babysit
  • Meet for coffee/Hang out
  • Listen to solicitor’s spiel- At&t comes knocking, the Dish guy at that table in Walmart, the person who waves a pamphlet at you on the street
  • Sex – your partner wants to or you’ve set a date (yes, people schedule sex…don’t judge!), you go out to dinner with a new beau
  • Specialized Parties: Baby shower, birthday, weddings, etc.
  • Adding coworkers to social media sites…just say NO lol
  • Drugs….say no. And no MEANS no

I forget and end up saying yes to so many things. Then I’m standing there, listening to whatever it is they’re pushing, and wondering how long I need to fake smile. As an introvert, I am drained after a long day of “peopling”, as I call it. I love to hang out and go places with friends but I also love to do things on my own with no pressure.

ALONE NOT LONELY

When I say yes to things, I always have to make sure I drive myself. No carpooling for me! I like to be able to leave when I want and say no to the ‘after party’ if I choose to. I didn’t know to do this my first round in college and spent so much time wishing I could go home or feeling like people would be angry with me. Also, I spent a lot of time as the ‘designated driver’ when I didn’t want to be. NOT because I wanted to drink but because I didn’t want to have to stay. It was a mess. Now I know better. I always tell people that I love to be Alone, Not Lonely. I want to have a best friend who I can go out with but I also want to curl up with a book for 10 hours. Without being interrupted.

I also need to learn to say NO to solicitors. I don’t know why I always felt obligated to listen. I think another part of it is that I get so embarrassed when people ask me things. I’ll be shopping peacefully and someone will step into my space and say ‘do you have internet service?’ and I would stick around long enough to hear a few lines and struggle to wiggle my way out. Now, I just say “no, thank you,” or “I already have internet.”

I’m also working on keeping “I’m sorry” out of my vocabulary when it’s unnecessary. The not too distant me might’ve said “I’m really sorry but I have internet and…”. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I shouldn’t feel sorry for taking time for myself. I shouldn’t be apologetic because I don’t want ads pushed on me. I shouldn’t feel obligated when people want to invite me to things I don’t feel comfortable doing.

I’m an adult. I CAN SAY NO without fear. So can you.

Good Readdance,
Jade

P.S. YES, you CAN say no to family. Especially if the situation will hurt you or trigger you. Don’t go. Don’t feel obligate.d Take care of you.

Indecision and Finding an MFA Program FOR US!

Heya,

In January my guy reminded me, which he often does, that it’s about time to figure out where I want to go for graduate school. He tells me that he loves me, he supports my dreams, and that he’s willing to go wherever I want to go.

This is NOT helpful.

Don’t be fooled; this is not the first time we’ve had this discussion. There’s usually some give and take. I want to make sure he is ok with moving somewhere far, as in across the country even, with a completely different lifestyle. He reiterates how much he’s open and he can get a job wherever we go. “Don’t worry about it!” he says. I want to make sure the place is Kid and family friendly. He says that we already make Naomi feel loved and she’ll flourish wherever we are.

It’s a broken record.

This isn’t a problem, you might say. You might even be giving me some side-eye right now. Let me explain. I’m the type of person that’s very, very indecisive when my decisions will literally change someone else’s life. I mean, I mull over changes in my life. Weighing the pros and cons until there’s a clear-cut path for me to choose. Then I take it with no regrets.

That’s how it was when I first moved to Florida. My lease was up and I had the choice to renew for another year or make a change. I talked with my coworkers (a group of older women who had been ‘stuck’ in the same job for 20+ years) and they practically begged me to leave. “You’re young!” they said. “You don’t have any children and you aren’t married or in a relationship. This is the perfect time to start over. Girl, take your dreams and go.” So, I took that advice and ran with it. I packed only what I could fit in my car (hey, even old me wanted to become a minimalist!) and drove the 19 hours with a friend in the passenger seat. See, I’ve only had to make decisions for myself, before Tony and Naomi, and so it’s scary do otherwise.

So it’s seriously a big deal to me.

It’s not just about the school and what kind of education I will get. I know all about the risks of going into academia. I know, I know, I know, I know. People never let me forget. “It’s so hard to find teaching jobs now,” or “I don’t think you know how tough it is to break into that world,” or “Why don’t you just write as a side job?” I get it. But this is my dream. I will go all in. However, I’m also aware that – WHATEVER I end up doing – finding something straight out of a school, EVEN with a Master’s, is slim. We will most likely live wherever I go to school for years after I graduate. There’s also that fear that I join a program and something happens, like failure, and I end up having to leave school. Then we’ll definitely be stuck in that city, I’ll be emotionally distraught (Obvi), and who knows when we’ll be able to move again. It’s a HUGE decision.

When I choose an MFA program, I am choosing where Naomi will spend the next 5+ years of her life, at least. I’ll also be completely uprooting Tony from his job and a city that he loves. He dreamed of moving to Florida all his life and now I’m asking him to leave. Yes, he says he’s fine with it and it’s time for a new journey (he’s been here 8 years. It’s been 6 years for me) but it’s still a hang up for me. I want to make the right decision for my family. I want to make sure that whatever happens we feel happy about where we live and feel safe in our home.

That’s a lot of pressure when I’m also worrying about ‘am I going to get in?’ I also think ‘what if I choose the wrong school?’ and that’s a big one. What if I DO get accepted to several places and I don’t go with the best offer for me, my education, AND my family? I get chills just thinking about it. Whew.

Thank you for listening to my rant and yes, I know. It’s a little far off. Buuuut….not really. Applications are usually due by December 1st.

I still need 3 recommendation letters, to take the GRE, write my 30 pages of creative nonfiction, complete the classes I’m already taking so I can graduate on time, raise Naomi, foster my skills as a writer, be an attentive and honest woman for my guy, and handle my small business. It’s a lot. I have less than 10 months to do it all. So thank you to those who choose to follow me on this journey to MFA.

Good Readdance,
Jade

The Book That Saved

As a child I was very reserved and even the thought of conversation with strangers would send me into sweating fits. My skin would get clammy and I would struggle to get out a ‘hi’ or ‘how are you?’ People didn’t make sense to me. Adults were liars or people who looked through me instead of ‘at’ me. Other kids were too young and immature for me. I could relate to no one. I had the bare minimum of the required social skills and that was the way I liked it.  

In this, I snuggled deeper. A Life of solitude so that no one could hurt me or let me down. I didn’t have to worry about fake friends or fake family. Even though, admittedly, a part of me wanted to belong to someone. Anyone. Then I found books. They enveloped me in their arms and I fell head first. Around the age of seven I discovered romance. The chemistry that could form between a man and a woman. I discovered fantasy, and all the things our imaginations could create. I also discovered thriller and mystery, and the questions and answers to human nature and what could bring the darkness.

In this new world of Worlds, I discovered The Golden Compass. 

I was adopted by a Christian family headed by die-hard pastors with no grey area. Black and White. Right and Wrong. Only god. Only Jesus. Books that were about things called ‘Daemons’ (the name was just entirely too close), animals that talked, a girl who would be the savior or the answer to everything, the layers of universes and the questioning of creation were not allowed. Part of me wondered if this was the initial reason I fell in love with the book. It wasn’t just one thing. I didn’t have to be this ‘perfect little girl’. Lyra wasn’t.

I hid the book among the sheets and pillowcases of my bed so that no one would find it. I read it over, and over, and over again. I pretended that I had my own Daemon, it was an Owl. What I then would call my spirit animal – before I had even heard of Native Americans or their claims to that ideal. I would pretend that outside my window I could hear one calling to me. “Hoot, hoot..hoot, hoot…Jaden” (as I’d taken to calling myself). 

This wise creature would answer my questions and help guide me through life. It would let me know when things were too bad. When I should fold into myself, when the bad things were happening. And when, at 9, I wanted to take my life it fluttered it’s wings and put them around me. I lay on the top bunk in the yellow bedroom I lived in and closed my eyes to the moonlight. I pretended that my Daemon hopped about the branches, causing them to scrape against the window. It told me to wait, to see if things got better, to think of better days when, like Lyra, I would be free to bound about free from the confines of the foster home.

Then I made the mistake. It’s bigger than that. I made “The Mistake”.

As a child, my brother and I would go to our adopted Aunt’s house for respite. We would stay there when my parents wanted a vacation, or to just be free of us (of me and all my behavioral issues). I loved my Aunt. She wasn’t as strict as my adopted mother. She was free and light and did things like: make gross homemade pizza under the guise of health (I loved that disgusting pizza), stroke her hand down my frizzy hair like she loved me, tell me that Jesus loved me no matter where I came from or who (like an evil biological mother). I loved her so much that I let my guard slip. I didn’t realize that she was just as religious as my mother. If not more – but just in a different way? I brought my book with me. I slipped it into my weekend luggage and, once I made sure my adopted parents were gone, I stowed it in the room I slept in during our stay. 

As the weekend went on, I felt more and more comfortable and I felt it was time. Just after dinner, I clamored up the stairs to my temporary room. I clutched The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, with it’s embossed cover, to my chest and returned to the living room. I curled into a plush chair and opened the first page for what could’ve been the 20th time.

At first, she was curious. “What are you reading?” I responded excitedly, explaining how it was my favorite book. How I’d saved up my allowance ($1 for every day of the week, but some how my mother always found something wrong with everything I did, even when I tried my best. I never got a full $7 in the end) to buy this book. That I loved it with my whole heart. How it, and Lyra, was my whole heart.

She took my heart in her hands and read the back. She flipped through it, reading here and there. Her mouth set in a thin line and, with two hands that curled into claws, she gripped the book tight. Then she ripped. She tore. First a few pages, then more. The cover of the book hit the floor and scrapes of Lyra’s adventures followed. At first, I couldn’t cry. My mouth dropped open and, in a flutter of feathers, I could almost see my Owl pacing in anger. 

Then the tears fell. A deep guttural pain welled up and poured out through my mouth. I was ‘the wailing woman’ and I couldn’t stop it. She didn’t love me. She never did. She hated me and everything I stood for, I thought at the time. I didn’t listen as she spewed venom about how Christians didn’t read such filth. That it wasn’t god-like. In that moment I didn’t want to be god-like, or Jesus-like, or christian-like. I wanted to be Lyra. I wanted to be free and adventurous. In that moment, I knew it would never happen, just knew.

I was wrong. Thank god.

 


(I will add, I now how a beautiful copy of the His Dark Materials series as well as the short – Lyra’s Oxford)

 


Good Readdance,
Jade

I Ate Vanilla Zingers in the Parking Lot of the Gym

Heya,

I’m trying really hard to stay focused on my dream but I am not disillusioned by this new plan to lose weight. I know that just because I decide I no longer want to be fat, or have left over baby flub, it doesn’t mean that I will suddenly have all the will power in the world to do what needs to be done. I haven’t before now, it’s not a matter of ‘just do it’ as some say. You have to work toward that level of resistance (in my head this is with a french accent…why?)

Yes, I’m dancing my way around the fact that often times I have low self control. Very low. Oh man. Those who follow me on Twitter saw that, when my guy left for work the other day, I posted:

Today:
I will not eat Tony’s Oreos.
I will not eat Tony’s Oreos.
I will not eat them in a box.
I will not eat them with a fox.
I will not eat them with a mouse.
I will not eat them in a house.
I will not eat Tony’s Oreos, I say.
I will not eat them, I should pray.

 

I can’t believe he just left them on the table without any explicit instruction for me NOT to eat them. They stared at me ALL DAY. I ate one, then two and then I held off. I felt really proud of myself and the fact that I didn’t stuff my face the moment he left. But….then he got home. He didn’t eat them. Of course my first thought was “yes, now I can eat a few more”. I ate five more. The next morning I ate two more while packing my bag for campus and also my gym clothes. I was so happy, while crunching on Oreos, that I found my gym lock, not noticing the irony of it all. Then I left for school.

On my way home, I stopped by Dollar General. I meant to just buy some things for Naomi, for bath time, but what I ended up doing was getting Reese’s Cups to “pay” Tony back for eating his Oreos, a package of vanilla icing Zingers for me, a box of chewy LemonHeads (that are currently sitting opened on my desk as I write this) for me, and a bag of hot fries (still unopened) for me. I did get some rubber duckies for Naomi so it wasn’t a complete failure. I barely got into the car before I’d broken the small packet of Zingers open. I said I’d just eat one, I thought, there’s no need to eat all of them in one day: Three come in a pack. c1901804-909d-4ef4-a207-aa528c9b422b_1.813601c84ba0677a6a8527b1f21c61fa

So, the gym is only about 5 minutes away from where I was and only about 5 minutes from my house. I thought I had the self control to wait but nope…I ate the second one in the parking lot of the gym and as I ate it I felt guilty. I’d said ‘in this new year, I want to take my weight loss more serious than I ever have before’ but here I was, shoving unhealthy food down my throat. I only just noticed at a free personal training session, last week, that although I’ve been doing a good job in the gym I haven’t been working out nearly as hard as I should be. I haven’t been exerting enough energy or sweating nearly enough. I guess you could say I have forgotten how to work out?

Anyway, so I paused when I got out of the car because there was a guy in the car next to me. I’m not sure if he saw me stuffing my face but I felt really embarrassed. So much so that I snatched my bag out of the car, slammed the door and made a beeline to the front of the gym. I’d been caught by some guy who was probably a health nut, who never ate a Zingers before a work out, and I felt like I might cry. I said I would take this seriously!

I changed my clothes and got up to the machines. The moment I hit that treadmill, it was as if another me took over and I went hard. I added more weight than I had previously. I hit both legs and upper body, and I even got in some cardio. I ran a bit. Hit the cycling machine. I didn’t take long breaks between sets, keeping everything hot. I felt motivated to work out, if not for the fat – to just get the Zingers out.

yellow full

Does it make you feel some type of way to know that hours later I ate that last piece of Zingers? I’d worn this cute sweater to campus, that I got yesterday for $4 from a Ross sale, and I was feeling beautiful. Despite that set back, I had worked my ass off in the gym, sweated out all of the shame and self- pity (yes, honey. I’m the queen of pity parties). I was back on the high of life and before Tony could see me, I scarfed down that third Zingers and promised myself I wouldn’t eat the hot fries in the same day. I’d hold off. And I didn’t.

A part of this whole meditation and being in the moment thing is that I have to let all that ish go. Yes, I felt ashamed and embarrassed but that was then and this is now. I can’t dwell. I must move on. I know I will mess up again but I also know that tomorrow I will be back in the gym, moving toward my goal and that is what matters. That I don’t give up.

After a much needed 2.5 hour nap – my guy let me sleep a little long as I needed it more emotionally than physically, I cooked a health(ier) dinner for Tony and me. Fish and pasta. And Naomi had a bit as well. She’s now able to eat on her own and is learning to pick up foods (it’s so cute). I felt happy to see that even though I didn’t have the level of self control, yet, that I wanted, I was making sure Naomi was fed and trying different things. All in all, it’s been a roller coaster of a day.

But that’s the journey, right?

 

 

Good Readdance,
Jade

Emotional Hoarder to Minimalist: Can I do this?

Heya,

One of the hardest things for me to do is get rid of things that, I believe, hold sentimental value and make me feel safe. As a young foster kid, I had my things stolen, broken, spit on, drawn on, torn a part, or made fun of. You would think this would harden me, make me want to get rid of everything, own nothing, feel nothing.

A Minimalist by happenstance.

That’s not what happened. The few things I was able to keep safe, mainly books – because no one else loved reading like I did – were suddenly the most precious things. I hid them everywhere. In the back of my little closet. In drawers. Under my mattress. In the pillowcases. I even found places around the foster home (because despite the fact I eventually got adopted, I still lived in a foster home) that were covered in dust. It meant that no one would find the things I hid there. And when that worked I began to hide other things.

Things to hide:
Small pieces of paper.
Books.
Notebooks and Journals (because I thought “one day I’ll write about my life”)
Necklaces
Keys (I was obsessed with keys for some reason)
Food

The older I got this didn’t change. If anything it became stronger. I carted boxes of things from one apartment to another, often times without opening any of them first. I took my baggage everywhere and it weighed me down mentally and physically.

When I moved from Missouri to Florida I finally started over. People didn’t believe that I was driving cross country and not coming back. Even my own parents tried to make plans with me when I had already told then I was leaving. It was crazy to me, the amount of people that said ‘no one in our family has ever left…’ or ‘you’ll be back because…’. That was the exact negativity I wanted to get away from. I thought I was suffocating. I didn’t know what was going to happen in Florida but I knew SOMETHING had to change. I had to change.

So I got rid of almost everything. I threw away my furniture. At the time, I lived by myself in a two bedroom apartment. EVERYTHING MUST GO. I stored things that I absolutely loved, but couldn’t take, in my parent’s attic. In favor of my books, I threw away more and more. I then packed only what I could fit in my compact car, with a friend in the passenger seat, and I drove 9 hours to Chattanooga, TN. We stayed the night in a hotel and the next morning drove the 10 hours to Florida.

Any minimalist reading this would say “GREAT! Only a car’s worth of possessions? That’s a great start!” and you would be wrong. That car’s worth quickly doubled after I settled in. My inner sentimentalist out to play. When I moved to my next apartment, just 8 months later, it took 3.5 packed-to-the-brim trips in order to get all of the things I had accumulated in that time. This was despite the fact that I didn’t even have my own room and lived with three men.

It was very emotional and so, of course, the amount of things I owned grew. They were MINE. I was in control and, because I was an adult, no one could take them away from me. At that time I was escaping a toxic home life in that packed apartment and my guy pressed me to get out. Knowing I couldn’t leave right away put me in a bad spot and I held my items tighter. Eventually my guy helped me find a new place and I took my baggage, physical and emotional, with me to the next apartment.

Fast forward a year to me moving in with my guy, Tony, and things only went downhill from there. I now had more space and it was all mine. As ever my supporter, my guy helped me feed my book habit, I bought more bookshelves and my count went up to over 3,000 books. I felt happy. I felt safe amongst my paper friends. Everything that happened in my life had culminated into a HOME filled with things that were mine and a man that I loved. It was heaven.

My wake up moment:
Years, and an apartment switch, later and things were riding smoothly. I thought. Then we moved to our current apartment in 2018. Finally fed up with carting unopened boxes, my guy told me over, and over, and over, and over again that I needed to get rid of my nonsense. I fought him so hard. I was upset that he wanted to take my books from me. Even though I knew he was right, I wasn’t ready. I likened him to the people in my youth who wanted to control me and my things. I was angry and said things I regretted. Once I even told him ‘my stuff isn’t bothering you, why the hell do you care?’ and I’m pretty sure that divided us in a way I didn’t notice. At the time. Now it’s funny because as it was early in my fourth (and only successful) pregnancy, and so I wasn’t the one out there carting heavy boxes. HE was. It was hurting him and I was blind by my own hoarding.

In April 2019, I gave birth to my rainbow baby. This is what you would call a baby born after a pregnancy or infant loss. I’ve had three losses. Naomi is my rainbow after the storm. I love her with all my heart. I will never do anything to hurt her but I was not yet ready to get rid of “my nonsense”.

Once, when I was walking about the apartment I was holding Naomi in my arms. I needed to go into the bathroom – for something I don’t remember now – and there was a pile of clothes thrown on the floor next to the bed. I was never one to do laundry the same day that I wash it, something I’m sure a lot of you understand, and so the apartment was usually littered with clean clothes.

I slipped. While holding Naomi. I slipped on a pile of tank tops and, as I was falling, I could feel my body grow hot. It was adrenaline, it was. I was terrified, as a mom. The wall between the master bedroom and bathroom comes to a sharp point in the place where I slipped, and I held her in front of my body. I was so sure she would crack her head open and I screamed under my breath. Trying my best to twist my torso, I took the brunt of the fall on my shoulder. Naomi screamed out because I held her so tight against my belly. There was also a box sitting next to the wall and I hit my shin on the corner of it on my way down to the floor. I lowered Naomi slowly to lay in the crook of my knee and leaned forward to kiss her face. She sobered quickly, not actually hurt, and looked up at me with a cheeky smile.

It didn’t surprise me when a tear dripped from my cheek to her face. I had never been so terrified in my life. She looked at me with joy and trust, and here I was, unable to protect her because of my own messiness. I sat there for at least an hour, weeping into Naomi’s onsie. My back burning from where it hit the corner. My shin stinging from the box blow. I could see a bit of skin pulled back. I couldn’t believe that all of this ‘unnecessary bullshit’ almost made me crack my head open, or Naomi’s.

I had to let it go. I had to let it all go.

Things to let go:
The stacks of books that wouldn’t fit in the bookshelf that Naomi could knock over.
The piles of clean clothes that we could, and have, trip over.
The box of random things that sits by master bathroom wall.
The random things lining the counters in the kitchen that we don’t even use.
The boxes of crap in the closets that I take from apartment to apartment without opening.
The stacks of notebooks that were unused (I kept the journals from my childhood as they are perfect for refreshing my memory for my creative non-fiction pieces).

So here I am. An emotional hoarder that wants to be a minimalist. Let me get it straight. That IS a minimalist. I’m two months in and it hasn’t been easy. I want to buy things. I want to hold on to the things that keep me safe. I want to shop online. OH, HOW I WANT TO SHOP ONLINE but I know that I can’t go back.

I’m doing this for me, in mindset, for my daughter, in safety, for my guy, in partnership.

 

 

 

Follow my minimalist journey to watch me grow.
Good Readdance,
Jade

WANTED AD: Black Woman Best Friend

Wanted: Black Woman Best Friend

African American Woman in her late 20s seeking African American Woman in her late 20s who is also seeking an African American Woman in her late 20s as a BEST FRIEND. 

BEST FRIEND wanted for the following activities:
Hanging out and doing weird things like going to the museum, library, and other things that get us out of the house and away from our partners and babies. 

Discovering new cafes so we can pretend to be coffee and tea snobs, and take photos in different places to feel well traveled because at this time in our lives we don’t have enough money to travel but then again, maybe we could if we rearranged our priorities that we are too lazy to rearrange. 

Going shopping, but not spending too much money. Window Shopping skills a plus. The ability to try on clothes as if on the runway and tell-it-like-it-is when we try on something unflattering for our body type.

Willing to watch movies of all kinds, action movies to fight our inner aggressors, romance to get us teary eyed and sappy, scary movies to get our adrenaline pumping, drama for the EXTRA in both of us, cartoons for our inner child, and documentaries so we can be inspired to change our lives.

Gym rat buddies: Yoga and working out, but not too aggressive because sometimes I lack the motivation, or the self control, or I want to throw a pity party, or I just want to be fat for a weekend. Weight loss goals preferred.

Mom Friends: Babies around the same age preferred. Our littles can grow up together and be best friends or date each other or feel like they’re siblings or go to high school together, and then college, and then become successful together. Ages preferred: 9 months or maybe a year or maybe 3 years or hell, any age. 

Single ok but in-a-relationship preferred. Our partners can come to some of our events and pretend like they like each other, or maybe really like each other, or maybe become friends and we don’t feel so bad about leaving the kiddos with them while we go out to do all the things black mom friends like to do. What do they like to do? Suggestions preferred. Addendum: If single, knowledge of Stop-Me-When-I’m-Gushy preferred

Love for NOISE required. Willing to listen to non-stop chatter about books, writing, all things creative but also willing to say ‘shut up, you’re talking to much’ when needed.

Introvert or Extrovert allowed but fellow chatterbox preferred. Willing to chat for hours about random things, one converse flowing into another flowing into another and forgetting how we got there.

Preferably from America as similar experiences with the world makes for great camaraderie. Foreign Black friends also welcome, as opposing experiences with the world make for great camaraderie. The understanding that Black is our culture but it is not all that we are and willing to talk about this but also other topics. 

Political aspirations: The ability to chat about politics at the appropriate time but not all the time, or even some of the time. Actually as LITTLE time as possible. Knowledge of The-Right-Place-And-Time required.

Schedule:
Willing to meet up for events and activities. Not every day but more than once a month. Willing to text or message. Not every day but more than once a week.

Meditation and Mindset

Heya,

As a part of the 31 Days of Introspection, I jumped into meditating. I read several books on the matter (You can find these in my Books: Minimalism, Meditation and Mindset post) and excitedly found time to meditate while at school, after my workout at the gym, while commuting (with my eyes open, of course) and before bed at night. I loved it.

Another thing that really made me excited about meditating is the app Headspace. At first I signed up for the free trial and then used the app’s free sessions. I love the cute little animations before each session and the topics were always great. I even made a google sheets page so I could keep track of the amount of times I meditated and for how long. My longest run was 15 days straight.

Then I fell off.

My parents came to town and quickly I forgot all of the things I wanted to implement for 2020. I didn’t intend to but everything disappeared in that first week. However, no need to dwell! Today I officially signed up for Headspace’s student account. It’s $9 a year instead of the normal $99 a year. —So if you’re a student, SIGN UP!!!

I plan to continue using the google sheet to keep track of the days I meditate and use my 2DR to stick to my Cherchez La Vie goals. If you do sign up, let me know!

 

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Good Readdance,
Jade

 

(this isn’t sponsored. If you use another meditation service let me know! I’ll check them out!)

 

* From a newbie to other newbies! *

Minimalism: Emotional Wardrobe Set Back

Heya,

Ugh, I don’t want to say that it was a set back but today, in terms of my mindset and the way I flopped on the bed in self pity after I got home, it was. I started off the day excited. Traveling to the local Ikea to get home office inspiration and to check out prices. Going to Target to do much of the same. Bringing Naomi with me and she was happy the entire time, chilling in her stroller watching people peer under the hood to stare at her.

When I got to Target I thought Hmmm…here’s a great chance to try out the new style I’ve been creating on Pinterest. As I said in my Minimalism = Nothing to Wear post,  from now on I want to only choose items that spark joy for me (Marie Kondo method). I want to figure out what my personal style is so I can feel confident, loved, and pretty. As I shopped through the aisles I happily picked out boho dresses, flowy tops, and a selection of bras (because yes, pregnancy, postpartum, and breast feeding all change the girls).

I’m one of those moms that talks to Naomi as if she were an adult and, because I’m a Chatty Cathy, she listens intently. Although we can’t seem to get her to talk to us directly, she murmurs to her own toys. So as I’m going through the racks, I’m explaining to Naomi about the importance of ‘testing out’ styles before you fully ditch your wardrobe and buy the new items.

I head to the dressing room, she’s giggling because I’m tossing my dreads back and forth and entire with anticipation. As I put on each item I could feel the confidence and excitement draining from me. I could see my eyes in the mirror and every time I pulled another shirt over my head I lost a bit more. The first two shirts were horrible. They huge from my breasts and had no gathering. I basically looked like a flowy box on a pair of stilts. I took a photo of how ridiculous I looked, hoping to show it to my guy later and make a joke at my own expense and yet…hours later I still haven’t shown it to him.

The next shirt was so adorable on the hang. You know what I mean, when it hangs on those tiny white shoulders and you think, oh yeah, I’m TOTALLY this small. When I put it on I realized just how out of shape I really am. The dress was no better. It also hung awkwardly from my boobs, making me feel like Fiona from Shrek. Ugh. Today is just not a good body day, I’m bloated and I somewhat still look pregnant. That’s despite going to the gym consistently, using my 2 Day Rule, and I’m not happy about it. Just the other day I was looking small and trim. Now here I am. Set Back.

Back home I curl into bed and stick my face into the pillow. I want to cry. For a second I think, I wish I hadn’t gotten rid of the comfy stuff that I hated. At least it didn’t make me feel like crap. I hear the door open but I don’t crawl out from under my rock.

My guy came into the room, Naomi riding him with one leg pulled up for stability and so she can get a good vantage point to look down at all us peasants. He sees me and after weaseling the truth from me he says ‘Don’t worry, babe. The gym is a life style. You just keep going and keep going until you are where you want to be. And then you don’t stop. You keep moving. You keep doing ab work outs. The baby weight will come off, trust me. You’re beautiful and I love you,’ he lifts Naomi from where she sat on his lap and dangles her over me. ‘Naomi loves you. She thinks Mommy’s pretty, don’t you?’ and I release the comforter from my clutches just a little bit. Once I’ve regained a bit of my dignity, I uncover enough so that Naomi can climb onto me, her big smile filling me with joy. He bends to kiss me on my forehead and then my cheek. The support is overwhelming. Gosh, how much I love this man.

So yes, today was a set back. I was frustrated with all the bodily changes, the lack of joyous clothes, and my own issues with confidence. But I’m better now. I got up, pumped some breast milk for Naomi, hit the gym harder than I have in weeks, and walked Naomi around the living room. I plan to redo my Pinterest board. Now that I ‘tried out the style’ as I advised Naomi, and it didn’t work out I can re-evaluate and move forward. I also plan to stick to my 2 Day Rule and hit the stores again on a happier day with my goals in mind. I love peplum tops. I love clothes that are comfy. I love solid colors more than patterns —something I just recently discovered and solidified today. I do like stripes, HEY! They’re slimming. So, whew. Deep breath. I have a plan, a vision, and I’m back on track.

NOs: I really liked these dresses, this style, but today’s endeavors said these are going to be a NO.

YES: So I already owned a few items like this before I decided to become a minimalist. There were my few items that sparked joy. Here are items I’ve added to my Pinterest that align with my new style.

 

To see more selections for my new style as I add them, via Pinterest, click here to see my board!

Good Readdance,
Jade

 

 

* From a newbie to other newbies! *

Taking My Writing Seriously!

Heya,

How’s your 2020 going? Have you been keeping up with your goals? One of my Cherchez La Vie goals was to write more and to take steps toward being a better, more mindful writer. I want to baby my inner writer. Let her know she’s loved and that she can come out to play as much as she wants. In order to do this, I had to make take a critical look at what’s going on in my life that is stopping me from achieving my dreams.

Nothing but me. ME.

I’m the one stopping myself because I am not taking it as seriously as I need to. These things aren’t hard at all. I’m a procrastinator, and if you are too you know what I’m talking about, and I need to work on my will power. I can be completely honest with myself, as I’ve stated in other posts, and I know that ‘Just Do It’ should be my new mantra. (As a nod to Nike of course.)

The Switch

In my attempts to become a better fiction writer, while attending other writing workshops, I’ve discovered that I love creative non-fiction. It was something I never knew I could write before. I always felt that no one wanted to read anything ‘real’ from me. That the things I’ve gone through in my life (child abuse, foster care, racism, shame, sexually-intended attacks, pregnancy loss, etc) were too hard for people to read. Especially coming from one person. I’ve been asked how do I stay so optimistic about life, when up until a handful of years ago mine hasn’t been the greatest, and a part of me always wants to put a pinkie to the corner of my mouth and say ‘keep reading my non-fiction and you’ll find out’. So if you are a fan of my non-fiction writing, please comment, subscribe and like my posts to let me know.

Anyway, so during the 31 Days of Introspection I discovered this overwhelming love for creative non-fiction. I no longer cry when I try to write out my experiences, and if I do it’s because I feel a sense of weight being lifted from my shoulders. I’m able to release all of my demons onto the page and hope that the fact that I’m still standing is an inspiration to others. The reactions that I’ve received have been amazing and fill my heart.

Who wouldn’t want to feel that?

The MFA

Due to my switch from fiction to creative non-fiction I have suddenly realized that I need to rethink my choosing of MFA (Master’s of Fine Arts) programs. I have these large lists of fully funded programs that accept Fiction, Poetry, and Creative Non-Fiction and so far I’ve only been looking at schools that take fiction. Now I need to restart my search to broaden the circle. But I guess, now that I’m thinking about it, I’m also closing the circle. I know now exactly which program I want to go for and whichever schools don’t align with that are automatic NOs.
A Minimalist Office

Another way I’m taking my writing more seriously is by setting up a home office. I have created a Pinterest and everything. I’m just so excited. I’ve included a few photos from my board that are giving me major ‘writer’ vibes. I’m looking at Walmart, Target and Ikea’s websites for a nice desk with a drawer, a computer chair (I have one so I could replace my dining chair and move this one to the office area, I’m not sure yet), an organizer, and a desk lap. I’m really happy about this because I can section off time for homework when I’m at home and Tony, and Naomi, will know that when I’m sitting at my desk I am not to be disturbed. Hilarious that I think that’d work, right? A girl can hope.

 

How is your home office set up? Did you have a list of things to buy in mind? Did you create a pinterest board like I did? By the way, here’s the link to my Writer’s nook pinterest board! YAY!!!
Good Readdance,
Jade

CNF: To An Old Roommate, I’m So Sorry

I’m sorry I wasn’t the roommate I was supposed to be. I needed to be slutty and hot and sweet and sexy and wholesome and rich and innocent and snobby. I’m sorry I let you drag me along, open door policy, knocking on doors around the dorm to introduce myself to random people on our floor, tossing hair over shoulders.

I’m sorry I flinched away at that tossed hair. That I wanted a bob that barely passed my chin, that when I tucked it behind my ear guys said I looked adorable. I’m sorry that you got that angry look in your eyes when guys said that even though I was shy I was the friendlier of us two. I’m sorry that guys said they’d rather date me than date you. I’m sorry I couldn’t be the roommate I was supposed to be.

I’m sorry that you said ‘this is a secret, don’t tell anyone’ to so many people that it was no longer a secret. I never said anything to anyone. I’m sorry I kept your secret and let people think you were the sweet one and I was the evil one. I’m sorry that there had to be a difference between the two of us.

I’m sorry that you moved out because others, on the floor, wrote SLUT on the door in big black letters that seemed to dig into the board. I’m sorry that when I spoke up – I’m still a virgin – everyone knew that the SLUT was you. I’m sorry that when you left I shut my door, no more open policy, and I retreated into myself.

I’m sorry for lowering my head, and my eyes, whenever I saw you in the halls because when you left you moved down the hall and I had to see your smug face every day. I’m sorry that after our roommate split, our mutual friends had to choose between us and they eventually chose you because your lies depicted me in a false light. I’m sorry that I didn’t correct them. After a certain point, I didn’t care anymore. I just wanted to do well in school even though I knew, that November, it was already too late.

I’m sorry that I trusted you to keep your word. That when you, and the other supposed friends, lied to me he was able to do what he did. I’m sorry that when I opened the door and saw him standing there – the one who had hit me before but claimed he’d been drunk- I let him in. I’m sorry that I was angry at you for not being truthful. For because you didn’t come – which you’d told him you weren’t – he held me down and slapped me around. I’m sorry that he laughed as he ground his pelvis into mine. Our clothes tugging and pulling between us, the buckle of his belt leaving a deep impression into the soft skin of my belly. 

I’m sorry that I couldn’t move, though I always thought I would, and I’m sorry I thought of you. My eyes were closed so tight and I also thought of my childhood. I thought of when I was a child and one of the teens pushed her hands between my legs and I couldn’t say no, didn’t know better than to say no. I thought of when I was even younger and was burned in my scalp with cigarette butts. I relive that pain everyday that I hide the scars in my head. As I lay there, letting him paw me, I thought of my brother slapping me, punching me, kicking me down. I thought of being told I was too ugly to be loved or cared for. I’m sorry that I remembered when I was seven suicide was on my mind but I promised myself that I’d stay alive long enough to go to college, so I could learn amazing things and oh, how it would be to be on my own and to finally be safe. Feel safe. I’m sorry that I couldn’t move because my life flashed before my eyes and not the highlights – as it’s said to happen when near death but the dark parts of my life. They went by like a bullet train.

I’m sorry that because you lied to me, he did this and I thought of all that when I was supposed to be past it. When I was supposed to be healed. When having gone to college and starting a new life for myself was supposed to be different. Despite some of your behavior, I didn’t think you would want this for me. I didn’t think you told him to come over and do this to me. Did you? Did you tell him to come teach me a lesson? I’m sorry but I never learned it.

I’m sorry that when I finally punched him, with a weak hand, I thought of you. I thought of how you lied to me and how because of that he was able to do what he did. I’m sorry for never speaking up about him despite being so afraid I rarely left my room and flunked two of my classes that semester. I’m sorry that every day I would see him in the elevator and he would look at me with one eyebrow raised as if to ask me if I’d told on him yet. I would take in a shaky breath and blow it out so slow and so silent that I wasn’t sure I was doing it at all.

I’m just so sorry. I hope you can forgive me for not being the roommate I was supposed to be.

Good Readdance,
Jade
(creative non-fiction – written for a school assignment – still revising)