Parking Tickets

PARKING TICKETS (1)

My father refers to parking and traffic tickets as the “stupid tax” and he’s not wrong. Yes, it enforces the law but it’s also a great way for local governments to bring in some extra revenue. I live in the Washington, DC area which is a confusing place to drive, so as I have been racking up amazing performance and hosting opportunities around the area, I have also been racking up traffic tickets.

It’s really stupid, but I can actually explain. Let me walk you through the process…

Wait, I Can Explain!

I drive somewhere to a gig or to meet up with a friend. My mood is already anxious as I am trying to navigate (I have a very poor sense of direction) as well as curate my own mood by listening to soothing music or breathing deeply the entire ride. (Sometimes it takes a lot to maintain my good cheer! I don’t know when I became this person and I have mixed feelings about it, to be honest). Anyhoo, I likely misinterpret a parking area or I don’t notice that I’m going over the speed limit in a monitored area because I also daydream a ton so I don’t notice at the moment if I am breaking the law.

Weeks later I open the mail to a special envelope from the good ole Motor Vehicle Administration. My heart accelerates by a smidge and I feel a tiredness in my bones. Money is needed for the 12-year old’s field trip, we have to stop by the Target to replace the 7-year old’s broken headphones, I have to prep for a work meeting, I need to follow up on several emails, I have clothes to wash, I have dinner to cook…a nightmare to-do list that never fucking ends! Now here I am with this envelope of more responsibility that I am unequipped to handle because I’m lazy and prone to dropping the ball. Untrue.

Actually, I am struggling to function through my own depression.

I always say that the hardest part of living with depression is pretending to be ok all the time. One of the main reasons I am so transparent about my struggle is because I want the space to not be ok—I want people to know. Ok is for other people, sometimes it’s not for me. I think of everything I have to do and I find myself becoming overwhelmed. If I don’t take care of business people will notice and judge me for not being the perfect mom or even the perfect ADULT.

So, I end up in bed all weekend obsessing about all the things I need to do. Even if I have a productive weekend, I still haven’t put a dent in the laundry, or the blog post or washing the girls’ hair. The knowledge makes me want to bang my head against the wall and cry—which I do for the first few days of the next week. The chores I didn’t do over the weekend add to the list from the week before and swim around in my thoughts, increasing the anxiety and chaos that already reside there.

Any thought of taking care of parking tickets falls by the wayside.

Clean Up, Clean Up—Everybody Everywhere…

That is until I’m at the MVA for a full day each fall using my entire paycheck to set up payment plans to lift violation flags to renew my vehicle registration. I also have medical bills, student loans and miscellaneous bills that float around in the atmosphere unpaid. Since my separation from my ex-husband almost 10 years ago, I have left many “adulting” things floating around in the atmosphere unresolved. In recent years I’ve decided to start taking the slow steps to rebuild.

I told a friend of mine who totaled his car in a suicide attempt that, unfortunately, it is up to us to save ourselves. We find ourselves alone in our dark moments and it can lead us to make decisions or fall into a state of indecision that has negative repercussions on our future. Once the fog of depression clears (for those of us who survive it) we are sometimes left in even more chaos than we were trying to escape in the first place. The idea of picking up the pieces can seem daunting. I am still in the clean up phase of my own mess so I can’t provide a concrete solution but I can offer some ideas and suggestions.

Don’t be afraid to utilize your resources.

Recently I have been working on being more candid with my inner circle about my life struggles. I am practicing the simple art of reaching out when I am feeling low. Ultimately, I have to do the work of settling accounts, cleaning my house etc, but I have found myself pleasantly surprised by how friends have been able to step in and ease some of the pressure. Non-judgmental friends can be a wonderful sounding board to help you brainstorm solutions or connect you with other people who can provide additional help in the form of knowledge or valuable services. (Speaking of which—anyone good at taxes? Asking for a friend!)

Unfuck yourself!

When I think of my running mental to-do list, I feel FUCKED. There are one million things I need to accomplish just to keep my household running. I have now also made a list of other items that are less time sensitive but still necessary business that I need to handle.

Don’t be afraid to write it down! How are you fucked? List everything, the big and the little things, then close the list and walk away from it for a few days. Come back to the list and start brainstorming ideas and/or coming up with a plan for how to resolve the open-ended issues in your life. You may find that some of the issues causing anxiety are quick fixes or are simply a matter of research and the right resources.

Bonus: if you need the emotional release you can also jot down your personal feelings associated with each task and the specifics of why you find it stressful or why you’ve been putting it off.

Take your time.

I don’t know if you can tell but I like writing lists 😊. My problem is that when I am confronted with a list it is accompanied by an accelerated heartbeat and the feeling that IMUSTACCOMPLISHEVERYTHINGONTHISLISTRIGHTTHEFUCKNOW! That feeling is my own personal anxiety bullshit that I need to overcome. If your credit is bad, paying a past due bill is not going to increase your score overnight. If you need to clean out your cluttered house for peace of mind, you can start the project in phases instead of feeling as if it needs to be done all at once. Society runs on a sense of urgency but that culture does not have to be a part of your personal mindset. Yes, life is short, but you also have time—it’s a great paradox. Take advantage!

Practice preventative maintenance.

therapy

Overcoming bad habits that I’ve picked up during my low moments has been a journey. It is not an easy thing to teach yourself how to be mentally strong but the good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. Mental health professionals and counselors are not a sign of weakness but of accountability and sometimes, getting ahead of an issue before it becomes a full-blown problem. In addition, a simple thing to do would be to consciously work to break past behavioral patterns. Now, if I get a ticket in the mail I’m more inclined to set aside 5 minutes to pay it right then, or be sure to budget it into my next paycheck before the fee doubles and I end up feeling double-fucked. (Of course, the best solution to get ahead of these things would be to pay more attention and work harder to be a traffic law abiding citizen!)

Fuck the haters!

No one understands the life you live but you. The best thing I’ve ever done for myself was to stop caring about the opinions and expectations of others. I didn’t sell any cookies for my first year Girl Scout this year because I was going through a rough time during the last half of last year and struggling to balance work, parenting and my own mental health issues. Most of my guilty feelings about it stem from being the only mother in troop who didn’t sell cookies but honestly, I’m not all that upset about it and neither is my daughter. Next year we are going to kick ass with sales because we know what to expect and I can mentally prepare for it. The entire point of enrolling in Girl Scouts was because she wanted to participate in the activities and hang out with her friends. That mission was accomplished and then some—the cookies can wait.

I am a huge fan of assessing situations and figuring out what can be done to relieve some anxiety so that my problems seem less daunting and goals more attainable. Sometimes it can look like riding the bunny slopes of life but if that’s what I need before I can climb big mountains, that’s totally fine. Those who are gliding down huge slopes should really be focused on their own business instead of paying attention to what I’m doing anyway. The secret is…most of the time the are!

In Conclusion

If you are mentally strong, this post likely does not apply to you. I do, however hope you read anyway because there are likely people in your circle who seem very happy and well put together but may be well skilled at hiding their depression from others. If someone were to reach out for help or a listening ear it is my hope that more people will learn to practice compassion and judgment-free listening. I think it’s silly how the world falls apart with shock at celebrity suicide deaths and murmur things like, “Wow, you really just never know.” Correct, you never know what demons others face on their personal journeys but you can choose to be a light. Empathy and love are a scarcity in this world and I just want to do my part to provide the other side of the story to promote understanding above all else.

I also want to stress two final points.

  1. Struggling to keep your shit together is not only a symptom of those who are on the low to high functioning spectrum of depression. A sudden slump in productivity and overall dreading of every day “adulting” can also be a sign of burnout or a part of a larger issue (i.e. the side effect of co-dependency which can find you so wrapped up in caretaking for someone else that you forget or can’t find the will to take care of yourself).
  2. I am not a psychologist, counselor or trained professional. I read a ton of books and I research to find ways to make the journey a little easier on myself as I navigate life as a person who “thrives” with mental health issues. I share thoughts and reflections on my journey because I want people to stop projecting their own perfectionism and mental competencies onto others. We are living in a tumultuous time in this world and the good people who spread love, who are vulnerable, empathetic and sensitive are in need of a little extra support and strength.

start over

Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

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Coffee with Whiskey Recap: Finding Gratitude

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I am on several journeys…

  -to live more authentically

-to live life more abundantly and as depression free as possible

-to learn discipline by taking control of my compulsive habits

-to find balance between chasing my dreams and active motherhood

-to practice gratitude

That last one nearly flew out the window altogether this morning when I woke up to discover my car not in the neighborhood parking spot where I left it. Lately I have been meditating on what I am grateful for in an effort to combat my negative thinking. If I don’t reel in my negative thoughts they have the tendency to spiral out into full blown mental distress, so taking a moment to think about what IS going right in my life has been helping me to curve my thoughts. However, once I realized my car had been towed I knew I was in for a stressful day. My morning alone consisted of several calls to the bank to release funds from a check, several cab rides (to the bank, home, bank, towing place) and countless deep breaths of me just trying not to snap. Focusing on the positive was not helping me, I had to dig down into the nasty stuff.

 I was feeling resentful. I resent that small setbacks have the power to mentally derail me. I resent that sometimes I don’t get to take the mental health breaks that I need to recharge. I resent that when I have to cancel an event or obligation I have to reveal to others that I am not doing as well as I’d like to be doing or as well as I sometimes portray. I resent that I have to decide whether to let the kids know when things are going wrong or whether I should hide it from them and continue to pretend everything is ok. I want to be transparent with them but I also don’t want them to worry that I don’t have a grip on my responsibilities as their parent. These were the thoughts crowding my mind and causing anxiety– yet somehow, by naming my thoughts and the feelings of resentment behind them I began to feel a little better.

 I realize I was only doing half the work. Practicing gratitude is not the sunshine and rainbows of thinking only happy thoughts to push away the negative thoughts. The first step is to name the negative emotions, feel the negative emotions then to counter them with thoughts of gratitude. At least, this was the epiphany for me this morning and a formula I have found that is vital to my healing, coping and growth process. I have to feel and completely expel emotions by identifying them first, acknowledging why I feel the way I do and then thinking of positive aspects of my life I am grateful and thankful for that put me in a position to recover more quickly from potential depressive episodes.

 Writing/Journaling Prompt

 What’s eating you? Write about your different moods you have felt over the last few months. Is there anything weighing on your mind or subconscious? Are you in any physical pain? Is there a negative recurring thought that you have yet to address? If so, what do you suspect are the possible triggers? (Are you burned out? Stressed? Fearful of happiness? Etc)

 What’s feeding you? Write about what’s made you smile over the last few months. Is there a consistent need in your life that is currently being fulfilled? How are you better off than you were the previous few months? Make a list of what you are grateful for. (This can be a living list that you add to throughout the day or over a period of time. There is no pressure to come up with a lengthy list right away!)

 Tip: Definitely stay away from comparison to others. Gratitude has to do with personal progress, people, situations and things that you are grateful for in your own life whether considered a huge deal to other people or something small and seemingly insignificant that still warms your heart. You are free to take pleasure and find accomplishment in even the little things!

 Bonus: I am also on a journey of practicing self-compassion. I am aware that I am functionally depressed to some degree and keeping up the façade of wellness takes its toll on me. The best way for me to go a little easy on myself is by realizing that I am not alone in this battle. Click here, to read an amazing blog post about high functioning depression and I challenge you to go a little easy on yourself. You are not alone. Life can be difficult– it is totally ok to admit as much while putting in the work that it takes to be ok. The road to wellness may be difficult but I am determined to believe that it is well worth it.

 I apologize I couldn’t make the workshop today, but I will plan to see you Saturday, March 23!

 Good Vibes Always

~Whiskey

I Know Why the Caged Mom Drinks: Tardy for the Party

Supermom

 I don’t remember ever wanting to be a mother. When I was a teenager I fantasized about being married and having a great career, but that picture never involved children. At 15, my first job was at the Roy Roger’s across the street from my school, I would have been horrified had someone asked me to babysit their snotty-nosed little kids! For as long as I could remember, I thought of children as loudmouthed little rude people whom I wanted absolutely nothing to do with.

Fast forward to me at 21 years old, freshly married, waiting in the doctor’s office for pregnancy test results with my heart beating loudly in my chest. My husband (now ex, of course) was grinning widely—elated by the idea that just weeks after getting married we would soon be bringing new life into the world.  I was heartbroken. We had literally just started our lives together, we were super active in our church, we had awesome friends and threw awesome parties, I had an awesome little figure I used to dress to the NINES in my awesome clothes. Now I was going to get fat and have to raise a child with barely any time to spend alone with my new husband. I was not happy.

When my daughter was born I was surprised by how instantly my figure bounced back and my maternal instincts kicked in (yes, in that order). I remember breastfeeding in my skinny jeans while my husband doted on me, thinking “Maybe this life isn’t so bad after all.” Then the storm came… I began to hate my marriage. I recognized that my husband was a great dad but not really that great of a husband. (This is the point in the story where I get really vague about the details that led to the ending of our marriage. There is a spattering of former mutual friends that likely read this blog and if the information got back to him I would look like the bad person so, I will skip the gruesome details).

We divorced. I fell apart. I still had to raise my then 3-year-old daughter and I didn’t really know how to do it on my own. I didn’t want to be a parent in the first place so how the fuck had I ended up raising a child alone?! In the beginning of our separation I had my daughter with me full time. After we figured out an alternating weekend tradeoff deal, I began to feel my freedom a little bit more. Or, so I thought. I spent my child-free weekends hanging out with friends laughing and laughing to cover up my loneliness. I constantly surrounded myself with people so that I would never have to feel alone. Until I was alone. 

The Great Depression

I was lonely. When my daughter was with her father and my friends too busy to provide a distraction, I spent my time binge eating, drinking, crying and contemplating suicide. The loneliness was unbearable. I was naïve at that time, I had no idea that life was capable of such darkness and sadness. I had thought that those painful chapters in my life were  over after the depression I suffered during my high school days. I knew I had to do something about it. I knew that I had to find love.

I needed a man’s love to pour into me. I needed a man to heal my broken heart and bring me to life again. I wish I could say that I rushed my healing process because I wanted to be well enough to become a better mother to my child but I wasn’t that emotionally woke back then. I was looking for balm to soothe my open wounds because at 25 I didn’t understand that healing is a whole ass journey and most times it is a lengthy one that can only be accomplished alone.

I sought love purposefully. I had a childhood friend I knew had always carried a torch for me, so I sought after him and prepared myself for a re-awakening. This was the man who would make up for all the pain that my husband had put me through. He would sweep into my life with right amount of affection and attention— he would appreciate all that I had to offer as a woman. I would slowly be made whole again… I had not taken into consideration that this man had lived an entire life since we’d last exchanged innocent, child-like flirtations. It hadn’t even occurred to me that I could have my heart broken twice in a row. I just knew that the next man I came across would be a savior.

When I found out I was pregnant with his child I was living with my parents after having given up the house I was renting. I was panicked, scared and, as it turns out, still suffering from depression with an added touch of low self-worth. How silly was I? Involved in an uncommitted sexual relationship with someone who was vague about why they didn’t want to be with me while struggling with their own personal demons. I was a doormat. I was a ball of emotions held together by his attention and approval. My pregnancy hit us both like a nuclear bomb—there was no time to react or think, we both just exploded.

I checked myself into a mental institution the night I realized that I didn’t have the guts or the violence to properly kill myself. I didn’t have the violence in me to have an abortion, either. I knew deeply that I would be unable to survive it. I held that razor in my hand, sobbing in the bathtub of my parent’s bathroom, cursing myself out for not having the balls to do the damned thing already! I barely survived that night. I spent my entire pregnancy malnourished and depressed. I worried I wouldn’t be able to love my child because I was too sad. I was prescribed Zoloft but I never fulfilled it because I was too afraid of who that would make me. I didn’t think there was anything that I could do to shake the feeling that I was drowning.

I spent years underwater.

Zombie

I was not alive for the first 3 years of my youngest daughter’s life. I still look at her in awe of how she is such a bright and happy spirit considering how completely broken I was when I carried her. I loved her instantly, but I still hated myself so my love wasn’t enough to raise me out of my funk. I was a single mother with two children, two baby daddies and suicidal thoughts. I was a lonely ass target for men to sweep in and woo me with empty words as an entry pass into my body. Sex was the only time I felt alive, the rest of the time I was just pretending. I maybe mentioned this in a blog post before but I still think of how my little girls used to follow me around our apartment watching me with their large eyes. Finally I asked them why and my oldest responded, “We just want to see you.” I realized at that moment that I was a zombie. breakdown

I still couldn’t do much about it or figure a way to dig myself out of my infinite sadness. It was around this time that a friend’s comment about my mental health pushed me into the decision to start writing again. I started this blog as a way to tell my story and to experience a release. I felt an awakening whenever my finger hovered over the “Publish” button for each post. I was surprised by the positive feedback I received and the fact that anyone even read my posts at all! I began writing poetry in journals at that time and came up with the idea to read them at local open mics to try to get more people to read my blog. I never imagined I would receive the kind of response I did the first time I shared one of my poems on stage. I was nervous but I was also tingling with excitement and anticipation—for the first time in a long time, something that I was doing felt right!

 Awakening

For the first 2 years of my “career” I was selfish. My brother lived with me at the time and he was a homebody type so as soon as I put the kids to bed I was making my way to the next open mic. I learned something new about myself each time I hit the stage and I never felt more inspired to write. I was finally waking up, but it still didn’t make me a good mom. Well, actually I should practice some self-compassion here and say this: I ALWAYS had food on the table, a roof over our heads and a stable well-paying job to sustain us. I have always been the champion and poster child for functioning depression mainly because I didn’t want to be a completely shitty mother and because I cared a ton about how people would perceive me not having my shit together. (Low-key I still do not have my shit together. I have so much catching up to do from years of not properly taking care of my responsibilities—that’s a whole other blog post!)

The more I wrote, the more I expressed on the mic and connected to people who appreciated my point of view, the more I smiled. Instead of moving silently through our apartment or barking orders, I spent more time talking to the kids and getting to know their personalities. Who knew that I had spent years sharing a space with these cute little people who were funny and fun to talk to?

Motherhood has since changed so much for me over the past 3 years. In the beginning I worried about how I was going to pour love into little babies when I had no one to pour love into me. I was obsessed with my own loneliness—but once I began to write I was able to enjoy my alone time. Blogging and performing poetry started out as a release and ended up being a beacon of hope that has led to a complete change in my lifestyle and mindset. On top of that, hanging out in creative spaces with like-minded individuals helped me to realize that I was not alone. A great deal of us are suffering in life and artistic expression provides therapeutic healing.

Sometimes, in the middle of a dance party with my daughters or while gossiping about that day’s school events I marvel at how much I appreciate my life now that I find joy in motherhood. I had gotten used to living a life of striving for perfection but after I came to the realization that we are incapable, it relieved so much pressure! I wasted time anxious about screwing up motherhood, while I was screwing up motherhood by being anxious and depressed. I was focused on all of the wrong things. As it turns out, all I needed to do to be a good parent was to allow myself room to be imperfect and to actively pursue mental wellness. Writing, speaking, sharing my story and connecting to others helps me to stay mentally well.

DoItForYouI have wacky friends, I work too hard, I might be a little too honest and psycho-babbly toward my girls but it’s who I am. We all do the best we can with the resources that we are given so I’m sure I’m going to screw them up somehow—at least I am authentically myself. I now have a better understanding of my role not just as “caretaker” but as the person who will embed life philosophies into their little brains mainly by example. I’m tired because I work a ton but I am present. I am at Girl Scout meetings, nagging about clarinet lessons, organizing birthday parties, shopping, chatting, singing pop songs, doling out advice, embarrassing them in public and all the other bullet points to the job description of mother.

Showing Up Late

Have you ever showed up late to a really great party that seemed like it was doing just fine without you, but now that you have arrived everyone seems so offended by your tardiness that they ruin your good time? I have—it’s called motherhood. My least favorite thing about being a single mother is the stories people make up about my life because of their own perceptions. For starters, parenting is personal. There is no formula that every mother should follow and there is no official council that adjudicates how well or how poorly we are doing. The only measurement of success is that you do the best you can. Obviously, if you are prone to depression like me, then you have to find ways to do what’s best for your mental wellness so that you can be healthy enough to take care of your children. As I said, I still have pieces of my life I am mending back together because I allowed so much to fall apart when I wasn’t well.

It doesn’t help me to dwell on that fact. It doesn’t help me to scroll through my social medias and wish I were more like the supermoms who constantly post pics and updates of their children’s lives and seemed totally immersed in and fulfilled by the motherhood role. I have made a lifestyle choice that is frowned upon, why? Because single mothers are supposed to sacrifice and center their entire lives around their children? Nah, it’s just not me! To be completely honest, I think it is a stifling and super unhealthy and unrealistic expectation. Black women especially, we like being seen as strong and selfless but nobody wants to be depressed or stressed so we end up hiding that part of it from the world. My identity includes “mother” but is not the whole of me.

I just want to type it again: My identity includes “mother, but it is not the whole of me. I make sure my children understand this about me because I want it to be an example for how they live their lives. I think women have a tendency to bury themselves in motherhood because the process of finding out who you are outside of everyone else (after baby daddy dumps you, completely abandons the family or even dies!) can be daunting. Growth and self-discovery can be very painful, survival mode and coping mechanisms become our go-to moves. I don’t want to just survive I want to chase my dreams and individual goals while being a kick ass mom. As long as my children are happy there is really no need to care about how others perceive our lifestyle.

Party Schmarty

Lastly, I just want to share my biggest pet peeve of being a single mother: people seem to be so caught up on the terminology. As soon as you say it, here come the questions and inferences:

“Don’t you share custody with the fathers?”

“Do the fathers contribute financially?”

“Aren’t the children gone all summer?”

“Don’t you receive a ton of help from your parents?”

My close personal friends are aware of my reality, I do not understand why I am expected to explain this to strangers or people who perceive that women use the terminology to play on other’s sympathy. Do people want single mothers to suffer? Are we not single mom enough if we’re not working three jobs with government assistance as our only support system? I do have help. I do have family support. I save a buck or two by having the kids hang out at their grandparent’s house after school instead of paying daycare. I pack the kids up and have them stay with their aunts over the summer, I beg and bribe my siblings to watch the kids whenever I have gigs. They receive clothes and gifts and hugs and laughs and texts and birthday cards from a whole community of support.

The same community that can’t always be there. They are not there when I am lugging eight loads of laundry in and out of the car or when I’m three seconds away from a nervous breakdown while ironing uniforms for the next morning. Community is not there when I am in full blown, exhausted introvert mode smiling animatedly and engaging in deep conversation about My Little Pony. The Community does not make up for the absence of a father figure in our household. I feel hopeless and scared and exposed—if something were to happen to our family I would have very little to defend us. I put on a strong face and bear the emotional burden of raising those little girls while making sure my depression, wavering self-esteem and self-doubt never touches them. I am the main parent. I am the person who can do the most damage to their lives if I fuck this up.

I fucked up. I fucked up for years, but I am present now. I forgive myself for being late, I can’t dwell on it. My twelve-year-old is blossoming into a feisty little beauty, they are both hella smart, creative and fun. I’m just so happy to be at the party I don’t care what anyone else thinks or has to say about it! I am here now, and I am having a wonderful time. 

legacypoem

 

I Know Why the Caged Mom Drinks: Dark Season

Supermom

August has barely even ended and I am already wrapped up and completely done with summer. My final pedicure was 2 weeks ago (no gel) and my final stage performance on August 25th ended with me browsing online for comfy fall sweaters. The kids have their school clothes, and—after one last trip for additional school supplies this weekend—I am battening down the hatches and lying in wait.

It is Dark Season, my friends. As a parent who compartmentalizes A LOT I find this time of year stressful af and I have never identified with the commercials showing parents dancing gleefully down the aisles of office supply stores celebrating back to school season. There are so many moving pieces to my life that my head starts pre-spinning in mid-August, fretting about the stress of my commute, time management, shorter days with less sun and juggling parenting and school obligations vs. work and Whiskey Girl obligations. I am a walking, talking ball of stress and emotions at least until spring—and that’s a long time to be absolutely out of your mind while pretending to be a functioning adult.

This year, it’s looking as if Dark Season is being combined with my worst nightmare: actual success. Together, the two are a recipe for a mental health disaster! I have had more invitations to speak on mental health, to perform and to host and produce events than I have ever dreamed would come to fruition. I am over the moon excited that my little brand has gained some traction but I am also riddled with anxiety that I may not be able to juggle this lifestyle. I can’t sacrifice sleep because without sleep I am a murderer. I can’t sacrifice any more time with my daughters because I want to be a real cook dinner, help with homework, embarrass-you-while-bra-shopping kind of mom. Lastly, I absolutely cannot sacrifice my full-time job for obvious reasons like health insurance and not starving to death. [Side note: I have eliminated dating but that’s not really adding any time back into my schedule since dating nowadays is mainly “wyd” texts from dudes sent well after 10pm].

Last night, after the kids went to bed, I found that I couldn’t open a jar of salsa so I sat on my couch and cried for half an hour. Today, I used a knife to pry the jar open and performed an epic victory dance that probably lasted about 30 seconds longer than it should have. Clearly, I need to brace myself for the peaks and the valleys, because the fear is that if this is the first week of school I may end up in a mental institution by December. My challenge to myself this year is to do a better job of leveling my emotions so that I can experience more balance instead of the constant rise and fall of a terrifying roller coaster.

Although I am a single parent I still recognize that I am a privileged parent. I have hella family support, I have hella flexibility with my 9-5 job and I am starting to gain support for my creative endeavors. I am a person motivated by the good deeds of others and the concept of paying it forward, so in this case NOT having a nervous breakdown is definitely a way to show that I am worth the investment! I feel as if I owe it to my parents, my job and mental health sufferers/fellow advocates alike to keep my shit together for as long as I feel led to spread myself across these various projects. Most importantly, I feel that if I successfully juggle this lifestyle I will be able to show my daughters a realistic example of what it looks like when you follow your dreams.

At the end of the day, I want my daughters to know that on the road to finding and fulfilling your life’s purpose, some days you may cry over unopened salsa.

I Know Why the Caged Mom Drinks: Black Panther

I wanted to do something nice for the girls this weekend. I wanted us to go see Black Panther and I wanted to paint their little faces– but I don’t have white paint. So it was going to be black dots– which would be fine because they are low maintenance and they don’t really care about that sort of thing.

I had it planned, I would order the tickets online, we would watch a movie together and when they went to bed I’d tell them that tomorrow we are all going to see Black Panther.

So I tried to order the tickets and the transaction wouldn’t go through. I tried again with updated information and received an email from my bank. Apparently, I didn’t have enough funds in my account to purchase our tickets. That’s not right– because my funds are low but they exist and I know there is enough for this! This, I needed– this, I had planned for…

My bank had counted each error as an actual transaction and taken the money out of my account, placed it back, then took it out again. I sat on the phone on hold with the movie theater for about an hour. I vaguely noticed the chatter of the kids slowly died down. They eventually retired to their room, I still had the phone to my ear feeling frustrated and entirely defeated. Nothing is simple. Ever.

I got off the phone realizing that Black Panther was not going to happen for us this weekend. My money is all crazy and it will likely be awhile before the bank releases it back onto my account. I was disappointed and just sick of living this kind of life. What is the balance? Do you live poorly and save, do you make the most of your money, try to stretch, save and enjoy it? Do you martyr yourself and spend it all on the children? I don’t know the rules. I’m barely even in the game.

“Ok babies, what movie do you want to watch?” I call out to them. Silence. Walking through the foyer I notice the light in their bedroom. Peaking inside I see that and both are fast asleep with the radio on. I walked back into the livingroom, sat on the couch and cried. Is this what motherhood is? Running on a treadmill with the best of intentions and never going anywhere at all?

I don’t know how to juggle any of this. I don’t know what I am doing and I’m just so worried I’m going to screw them up in the process of figuring it all out.

Medicate. Is HERE!

medicate-w-poem

In February of 2016 I released my first chapbook and quickly realized that thanks to online do it yourself programs, self publishing is easy! So, naturally I started to plan and compile my next project and it’s FINALLY here.

Medicate. is dear to my heart just as Trigger was. It is raw and emotional and draws from my own personal experiences and perceptions. I truly believe that most of us on this Earth suffer from mental health issues at one time or another, we are just resourceful creatures and have found ways to self medicate. This book explores just a few of those ways; touching on substance abuse, over eating, losing yourself in others, the Internet, religion (and so much more!) in a way I hope is relatable and sheds light on a growing issue across the world. Whether you laugh a bit or cry I do hope the book provokes you to some genuine emotion.

I am offering the PDF version of the book on sale for $7.99 to my mailing list subscribers. The normal price of $10 will resume after the weekend is over. I always struggle with the pricing, I wish I could give them away for free but I invest so much time and money into each of these projects I can’t afford to be a philanthropist just yet!

In addition to the soft rollout of the book, I am sharing with you the link to the Whiskey Girl store. As of now there are Medicate. mugs available for purchase and I will soon be adding t shirts and other fun things I hope entice you to order.

Thank you again for your support. Purchase, enjoy and let me know what you think.

~good vibes always~
WG

The Pursuit of Unhappiness: Part 2

Sad

In moments like this I feel so scared. I really have a fear of dying whenever I am happy. My thoughts turn especially morbid when I am traveling to my boyfriend’s house thinking on how blessed I am to have found someone like him and to still be enjoying our relationship after almost two years. I think about death when I’m laughing with the kids in the car, or joking with co-workers or paying off bills. Any satisfaction I get from life comes with the fear that it will immediately be taken away.

I once overheard my father, a very devout Christian man, in conversation as he told someone that God cares more about righteousness than happiness (hence the topic of the last musical post) and that comment still rocks my world weeks and weeks later. Because I suspected it all along. NOT that I believe the statement is true, but I believe that in subtle ways I have been raised to believe that there is no joy and happiness to be achieved in this world. That way of thinking led me into so many situations of learned helplessness; failed relationships, poor work ethic and crippling depression just to name a few side effects. I can’t be that way anymore.

I want to enjoy this. At one point in my life not long ago I really thought that struggling with depression and barely making it as a single mother was going to be my fate for the rest of my life. Then I made the decision to stop martyring my happiness and began to lean on others for help and support. I started to view motherhood as less of a punishment and more of a gift and a reason to keep me on my toes and force me to have my shit together. I have to be mentally well enough to teach my daughters that marriage is overrated, happiness comes from within and can definitely be achieved without a significant other. Independence is a virtue, love is just a feeling but commitment is what holds any relationship, romantic or otherwise, together. It is a debilitating thing to believe that self-actualization has only come about for me because I’ve been left to the devil and God no longer bothers to interfere in my life. It’s a very twisted thing, really.

I want heaven in my afterlife, but I no longer think it’s greedy of me to want to experience just a snippet of it in my life on this earth, as well. I have paid my dues with suffering and I am fully aware that I don’t deserve a thing—but I will strive for it anyway. To be completely honest, I thought of single-motherhood as a death sentence—I didn’t want children all alone, I wanted a strong man to hold me at night, to HELP me! Fast forward years later and it turns out I didn’t need that kind of help. I just needed to realize that life is determined to beat the shit out of me anyway, so I may as well choose to put up a fight for the full 12 rounds instead of accepting a total knock out.

I even have hope that maybe I can win.

Belly (Excerpt)

So when he wraps his calloused hand around my neck, stares down at me with beauty reflected in his eyes
I feel it
Because big girls deserve love, and great head and bomb ass sex
But when he trails his palms down the length of my body I no longer feel cocky I’m in a panic
The extra sand in my hour glass is too much pressure, its beginning to crack, I am unraveling
His hand traveling on a mission to touch down on my sagging belly flesh
He skips the caress and grips it with urgency
Continues to stare at me in wonder and I resent his courtesy
He was not touching me, he was knee deep in something he would probably never understand
His hand gripping at the nucleous of my pain…

Great Expectations

I sent a group text the other day to my family telling them the great news that FINALLY I was a published author. I live in reality, I know that I am self-published and it’s not exactly the same hoopla that comes with picking up an agent and being funded by a large publishing company, but still, yay me! My siblings were congratulatory, my parents remained silent. It was the first stone—felt like I swallowed it and could feel it travel down my esophagus and weigh down on my belly.

I saw them later that day, and I know my mother is the type to have cupcakes, say congratulations and ask questions—but when I got to their house it was business as usual. My parents are not villains. I had to pull my eldest daughter out of her former school, I can’t afford before and after care by myself so she now lives with them during the weekdays attending their neighborhood school as well as my four-year old daughter. My parents are not villains. They give me groceries when I am poor and encourage me to go to mental health counseling and provide me with plenty of scripture as advice.

My parents are not villains—they just don’t like the person that I have become. This divorced, formerly broken, independent and kind of whacky woman is not anyone they want to hug or congratulate or give a slap on the back. She is a little broken and way too open. She is not Christian enough; and I know that it bothers them that they can’t quite tell whether I’m going to heaven or hell. Well I don’t really know either, and I had to come to a place and take a moment to stop fretting about it. I’ve had to force myself to slow down and learn to be happy and accepting and to take life one day at a time. And as for this day, I am proud of myself because I never thought I would be here. If you had asked me where I would be at this time 5 years ago I would have said, “Lying in the fetal position on the floor of a psych ward contemplating where my life went so wrong.” I have exceeded my own expectations and I am going to bask in the glory of this moment even if it kills me to smile and I have to do it through faltering lips.

In spite of the men that didn’t value me enough to treat me with respect and dignity…

In spite of what I used to lay awake at night telling myself…

In spite of how the “Christians” may view me and my life choices…

In spite of rejection from the people I desire support from the most…

Ijustwanttowrite

 

 

I am here. And I will continue to shut out the voices of the doubters and unbelievers in order to do the thing that makes me happy. I just want to write.

Click here, to find out more and/or purchase my new chapbook Trigger: A Downward Spiral.