Things are good these days. Though not perfect, I live everyday thankful for my blessings. I started this year with no job, no real plan but I was hopeful and that hope has seen me through. I’ve now successfully managed three big fundraising events, which is great for the ego. But what I’m most thankful for is the fact that I don’t hate going to work everyday because I used to! 

Though I’m not completely living my purpose, this position has been exactly what I need and it is remarkable to be a part of something bigger than myself. And I’m truly motivated my our vision. (Shameless plug, still time to donate, click here: Walk to End Alzheimer’s

I’m still back home with my parents; I’ve stopped looking at it as a step back and I’ve embraced it for what it is. It’s my pivot, an opportunity for a change of direction.

My health is up and down. My medicine has been changed a couple times this year, resulting in the usual weight gain and emotional instability that I’ve become accustomed to. But the funny thing is, I love myself more now than I ever have. I needed a shift in mindset,  I had to rewire or at least start the process. It’s one thing to appear like your changing or blog about changing as I did much of last year. It’s whole different thing to buckle down and do the work necessary for change. It’s messy, tearfilled, difficult work. 

I’m still at the gym 4-5 times a week and do my best with my food choices. The scale has not moved all the way in the right direction but I’m trying. I’ve learned that I can love myself through the process. Yes I want the “body” but the body that I am currently in, is smart, beautiful, confident and capable.

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But even though I’m in this good, ever so positive space. I’m struggling with one thing. Well there are MANY things but one thing in particular that I need to work on soon…forgiveness.

“Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense”

I’ve been able to forgive most of the trauma that has occurred in my life. I’ve let go of the hate that I once had in my heart for the perpetrators. Let’s be clear, I’m far from healed but I have forgiven the evil. But I struggle to forgive the pain caused by those that are still in my life. The ones that have offended me but I love them so much that I would never want them out of my life. I’m struggling to move from frustration to forgiveness.

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I’m on my self-help thing right now so of cour

Soooo yea, I’m struggling with forgiveness. I have no poker face and often times if I’m upset, you’ll know it. I’ll always be there for them but I’m no longer the Venesa that they’ve come expect.

I joke with one of my good friends about self-awareness. It seems to always come up in our conversations, the ability to be really know why you’re doing what you’re doing, thus being able to correct it or not.

I’m aware that at this moment, I’m at a place of anger and I need to move from here to one of forgiveness…

A Woman in Process

Written:11/24/16

 

A couple nights ago, I snapped on my two best friends. I don’t think I hung up technically, I did say bye but it was not a good bye, pun intended. They FaceTimed me, which seems to be the only way we communicate with each other these days. Even though they now live together, I’m all the way in upstate New York. We don’t get to see each other as often as we used to. I don’t mind FaceTime but it does require a little bit more effort. It’s just not my go to medium. Anyway, I had an attitude the entire conversation. Looking back I wasn’t upset at all. I did have a busy day and I was still working on a few things when they called. My disinterest for the conversation was merely distraction.  Okay, maybe I was a little hungry…

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Have you had a major temper tantrum about something and when you look back at the moment, it doesn’t make sense? Were you upset or just hungry, tired etc.?

Those old Snickers commercials are a funny exaggeration but they’re not too far off. Dictionary.com defines Hangry as, “irritable as a result of feeling hungry.” For most of us, myself included, that’s an understatement. And it usually results in snapping on the people that you are most comfortable with i.e your besties.

Why does it happen?

The brain is dependent on glucose to function. When your blood glucose levels drop to a certain point your body sees this as a life threatening situation. When this happens your brain sends signals to organs in your body to release hormones that increase the amount of glucose in your bloodstream. Namely the pituitary gland which produces the growth hormone, the pancreas which produces glucagon and the adrenal glands which produce adrenaline. These hormones, specifically adrenaline, are also released in stressful situations. When you are hungry there are physiological things that are taking place that are affecting your reactions.

It may not seem like a big deal but it should make you wonder how many of your reactions in the last week were legitimate. How many arguments, or coworker squabbles could have been prevented? Socrates had a much deeper meaning when he said “know thyself.” But I would argue that it is important to know the why behind all your actions. Especially if they can be solved with a granola bar! Throughout today, truly notice and observe your behavior. Let’s try an avoid any hangry moments.

A Woman in Process

 

 

I pride myself on being an open book, believing that my story will be an inspiration to others. But at times my transparency is met with unwanted questions and unsolicited advice. When I feel my truth will be ridiculed, I run. I enter my zone usually taking a step back from those around me, unless I feel that they have proven themselves to be unconditional in their love. There is good and bad to this. The good being that I have to protect my dream and my truth. When one chooses to do things that are against the grain or something that may seem far-fetched; the naysayers will be the loudest voice you hear. Protection is necessary. But I’ve learned that by running, I’m protecting myself, yes but I could be hurting other people too.

Running is a natural reaction. Walter Bradford Cannon described it as the fight or flight response. I think we all remember this from high school or our freshmen year psychology class, the one we took only because it was Gen. Ed requirement. “The fight-or-flight response is a physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival.” During this time the body naturally does things that prepares you get out of harms way as fast as you can or buckle down and fight. We’re talking increased heart rate, constriction of blood vessels and liberation of metabolic energy sources for muscular action!

https://psychlopedia.wikispaces.com/Fight-or-Flight+Response

 

It makes sense that when I feel someone  is attacking me, my dream or my plan; I’m out! I’m not a fighter, so I’ll just walk away. There is nothing wrong with removing yourself from situations that are fruitless. But if it is not yet fruitless, it is worth a conversation not a fight but a productive dialogue. I’m working on doing that. I have a long way to go. My friends call me a turtle, because going into my shell is what feels comfortable. But life isn’t about doing what is comfortable. It also takes maturity to know the difference between an attack and warranted criticism. If I am hurting people with my running or my isolation, I do not want to do it anymore. I’m working desperately to live my life in Christ and hurting people, no matter how inadvertent, is not something that I want to do. Not to mention, constant running is not necessarily the best way to solve any situation.

A Woman in Process

 

 

 

 

 

 

It seems that this year has been a series of difficult decisions. I may have stuttered in my steps but ultimately I always had the courage to do what was/is best for me. Some how in all the mess of it, I feel like I’m getting back to me. Not that I want to be the old me but I do miss her confidence.  She knew what she wanted. And I feel similar now.

I’m moving back upstate, by next blog post I’ll be back where it all started. I mean it all started in Montego Bay, Jamaica, technically, but Poughkeepsie is home. I used to say that I’ll never go back there. Life sure does have a way of humbling you, I’ve been back twice! Never say never, I guess. I’ll still be working in NYC at least for now, so long commutes on the Metro North will be my new reality.

I won’t love the commute but besides that, I see this as the best decision. Financially it allows me to put myself in better standing, and I feel it also allows me to wholeheartedly focus on my writing. All the decisions of this year led to this opportunity. I won’t lie, I grappled with feelings of failure. And it does feel like a regrouping. But then I remembered , I came here to get a masters degree, I got it. I came here to start a career, I got promoted within 18 months. I’m leaving it all because I am not willing to compromise my health or my happiness. I refuse to participate in the rat race of it. I want to write, hopefully for a living one day but until then I want a low stress day to day living. A life of effortless ease. I’m blessed to have parents that will allow me to do that, at least for now.

Life is going to send you on twists and turns. Through it all, you have to do what you have to, for you. Its never easy to do what is necessary. I had a headache for days before I finally made my decision but immediately after I made it, I felt this weight lifted. We drive ourselves crazy wondering what if. You can spend hours or days wondering what if or you can trust your judgement and go for it. Even if it is not the right move, the experience gained will make it worth it.

A Woman in Process

I spent the better part of last week going through a roller coaster of emotion. My high was short lived and my lows stayed longer than I would have liked. But throughout those moments, it was as if life was forcing me to deal. I was forced to truly dig down deep and experience the emotions. And those of you who know me personally, know that I never shy away from a cryable moment. Growing up I used to be ashamed of my tears. Now I cry because it is a part of how I deal, it is a part of my processing.

On Tuesday, I took the day off to handle some administrative things. As I walked to do my lab test, I tried to multitask and make some calls. I’ve never truly worked a consistent 9-5 schedule or in my case, a 10-6 like I do now. It takes up the entire day, honestly when are people suppose to call doctor or do regular people things. The veteran 9-5ers say, “do it on your lunch break ” but that’s when I eat, duh!! Anyway I digress, I make some calls only to find out that I have a few outstanding medical bills. As you know I was pretty sick this past year, their were some things that my insurance at the time only partially covered.

I started to dwell on the finances of the situation. Here I am on my way to doing this thing that I have to do every six weeks to ensure that my levels are in tact then hearing about these additional medical bills. All of it was just a “you’re sick” reminder. But when I got there, they only take one vial of blood. Please pardon the visual but for almost 4 years I had to be poked and prodded for 4 or 5 tubes, every visit. I used to leave the lab drained and extremely weak. I walked out of this one with a smile. It snapped me back to being really appreciative for my progress.

Fast forward a day or two later, I learn that the house that we live in has been sold and my bestie and I have to be out basically asap. This couldn’t have happened at a worst time. I feel a rush of emotion, upset that we have to move, confused at how it happened so quickly and really sad that once we leave its only a further reminder that the owner and matriarch of this home is really gone.

I reached out to those who are usually there for me. For some reason they just weren’t there, and that’s understandable because we are all going through things. This is what I did, I went to gym, I cried, I wrote, I walked. I did all things that I needed to do for me. I’m no where near over the situation. But I’m very proud of my resolve. That only comes with time and experience. I used to look to my mom, my boyfriend, my friends or whoever at the time to get me through situations. Yes, we can rely on our loved ones for support but it’s unfair to think that in every situation, they will be there in the way we need them, every time. Instead it makes more sense to develop healthy strategies to deal. Because guess who is always there for you? You!

A Woman in Process

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People are still asking me why I don’t blog as often as I used to. My response is always paused because there are many factors. The major one is time of course. But all of the factors, time included, are really just excuses. It comes down to discipline and habitual effort. I just haven’t caught my grove or learned how to balance the many things that are taking place in my life.

I work full time again, I’m writing my first book and I have commitments to my best friend and her management company, among other things. There are many reasons why after a long day, blogging is just not what I want to do. I just really want to sleep and most days that’s exactly what I do. There is some good in that of course because I’ve mastered how to listen to my body and what I need.

However, there is a pitfall to that as well. Sometimes, will power is needed to force yourself to do something that might cause slight discomfort in the moment but is ultimately necessary for growth. My blog has taught me so much. My dream of writing a book came out of this hobby. A year ago when I started, I couldn’t have imagined the impact that it would have on my life. Back then, I wrote to you because I was in such a bad place mentally. I was frustrated with my job, frustrated about my illness and terribly unhappy with my weight.

But the transparency that developed in dishing my deepest and darkest to you, helped me to learn who I am, who I’m becoming and who I strive to be. I gained the courage to change my life completely. I left the job that made me unhappy. I stopped looking at my illness as a curse and now practice strategies that have helped me to be the healthiest I’ve been in almost four years. Telling you all about my struggle with weight not only led to remarkable weight loss but the number on the scale is minuscule compared to the healthy habits that are now apart of me.

I started to attend church again . My spiritual journey has taught me a lot about discipline. Whatever or whoever your God is, you’ll find that when you choose to live differently, you will be faced with challenges. Your former self will battle constantly with the new you. It’s takes time and strength to develop new habits.

So as I approach my blog anniversary, I’m asking you to bare with me as I transition. I’m working to ensure that this blog, the words that I thought no one would read, the words that catapulted my new way of life,  remains at the forefront of everything that I do. About a month or so ago I made a pledge to blog on Mondays and Wednesdays, that proved to be too ambitious. Hopefully I will reach a point where twice a week is something that I can maintain. But for now, I’ll see you every Monday morning. Because “motivation gets you started but habit keeps you going”
A Woman in Process

  
Last night a friend started sending my roommate and I pictures from our trip to Italy. It was completely unexpected and some how exactly what I needed in the moment. It was great to look back at a time in our lives that we shared, memories that only the three of us would have. There were pictures of the food, the countryside and even the handsome men of Italy! 

Friendship just like any other relationship takes work. They say nothing worth having comes easy. I mean you can have associates that you laugh, chuckle and sometimes go out with. Or you can have true friends that know your deep dark secrets the ones who have your back without judgement. I believe that is what we are working towards. This takes time and most certainly effort.

It’s the willingness to have those difficult conversations. It’s the willingness to at times see past yourself and your emotions. I think often times when we come into relationships, we fail to understand the other person’s perspective. We are all different. In my case, I’ve known one of these girls for fifteen years and the other for two years. Years mean nothing without constant reworking. We are all in process so it’s impossible for us to have the friendship we had even a year ago in Italy. Some areas will be stronger and some not so much. But if you are committed to that relationship no matter what it is, then you work at it.

I had to have a difficult conversation recently, I didn’t want to. But I knew it was necessary for our friendship, it was necessary for me. Historically I have been notorious for running from a situation. I decide that you’ve wronged me and that’s it, I’m out. I’m learning to express myself more, letting my loved ones know how their actions affect me while acknowledging my faults.

My network isn’t perfect but I am committed to keeping the ones that I care about close to me. It has taken me a long time to get here. Just a hint, the first step was letting go of my ego.

Your ego will have you thinking, “your shit don’t stink” please pardon the expression. But we sometimes feel that there is no way we are at fault. Nobody walking this earth is perfect, swallow your pride and build friendships, not Instagram followers or Facebook friends but lasting relationships.

A Woman in Process 

 

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Smiling on a good day isn’t hard, the struggle is finding that same resolve on a day when everything seems to be going wrong. Tuesday and even into today seem to be just that.

I woke up in a pretty decent mood. I had late meetings Monday night, so I slept in a bit on Tuesday.  When I finally got going, my roommate told me that potential buyers were coming to see the house. I didn’t love hearing that and pretty much had a breakdown in that moment. I don’t think I’ve fully dealt with all of it; her passing and them selling, it just seems to be going so quickly. All that frustration came out yesterday.

I stormed out the house vowing to never come back. But all I did was walk around the corner to get bagels. I did slam a door or two on the way out, so the world could know I was angry!

I started my new job which I love by the way. I got in, sat down and I went to adjust my seat. I hear this sound, I look down and my pants ripped. Ripped in that area that leaves nothing to the imagination. How embarrassing is it to rip your pants on Day 2. I mean ripping them in general isn’t an ideal thing but I haven’t gotten to know my coworkers yet, it’s just far too soon.

I make my way to the restroom to make sure things are okay down there. A fellow bathroom user noticed my concern and assured me I could make it through the day.

I felt better and made my way back to my desk. They day continues pretty uneventful until I feel this tickle in my throat, I start having cold and hot flashes. I’m thinking this is a cold setting in. I get pissy all over again because my colds don’t just last a few days they are weekly spectacles that usually require doctors visits and me being out of commission.

I dread the possibility of that. Today I woke feeling much of the same. I had to make some administrative calls, which are never fun. You’re on hold for 20 minutes just for somebody to say you have the wrong department.

I said, “you know what, that is it!” I’m not doing this again today. I put my gospel music on! I have a playlist called “feel better?”. I refuse to have a day like I did yesterday. Those things that happened to me were not major, in fact some are funny! But the attitude I had during them is what determined the result of that day. I let those moments get the best of me. Today regardless of how I’m feeling, I will smile!

A Woman in Process

 

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They’re selling the house. A three family home in Park Slope, Brooklyn sure goes for a lot of money. This entire process has really opened my eyes to the amount of wealth that is truly in the world. In a matter of weeks we’ve had people ring our doorbell and literally propose cash offers. My mouth usually drops and I tell them I’m not the owner, but I wish I was. God knows that these days I could use the money.

Even though I am more at peace with my life and I am healthier. Life isn’t perfect, I am facing challenges. Since the house is up for sale, we have to think about finding another place to live. This couldn’t have happened at a worse time because as you know I just resigned from a position that gave me a pretty decent living. I will be starting a part time job today. It is a great role but it doesn’t bring in nearly as much as I received before. I’m blessed to say that with my freelance work, it will be enough for me to be okay.

J. Cole is one of my favorite rappers and I was listening to his song “Love Yourz” as I wrote this post. In the song he profoundly states “no such thing as a life that’s better than yours” Here he is reminding us to simply appreciate life! I speak a lot on gratitude and I don’t want to be repetitive in my posts. But this is heavy on my heart. I was moments away from being sad, sacred and pissed off at the fact that I couldn’t make the financial decisions wanted. But I remembered quickly the things that I do have.

I have battled headaches for the past few days, but I’m healthier! I really feel better, if you’ve been on this journey with me, you know how remarkable that is. You know how much I have wanted to wake up and feel “normal”; now it happens all the time, like all the time!

My point is that things change quickly in life but regardless of your situation, you have to love yours. I think it starts with that overall appreciation of where you are. I know it’s hard but it’s necessary. There is nothing wrong with wanting more, in fact that is literally what ambition is but appreciation is a worthy complement.

A Woman in Process

 

I’ve been discussing my most recent decisions with family, friends and colleagues. Being the caring, loving and most certainly opinionated people that they are; I’ve heard things that are warranted and things that I could have gone without hearing. Just in case you haven’t read my most recent post, I’ll update you a bit.

Within the last few weeks I have resigned from a city government job that provides great benefits; healthcare and otherwise. A job that provides an okay living now and possibly a quite comfortable living in the near future. I have also left a relationship with someone that I saw myself being with forever. Someone who was worthy enough for me to break the vows that I had made to myself earlier this year.

My mother asked me recently, “are you being influenced.” I said to her “sure, I don’t think anyone makes any decision without enlisting the advice of others.”

The difference for me now is that, I am only considering my feelings. I’ve spent much of my life thinking about others before taking my next steps; often so concerned about what people will think or how they will react. You know what, right now in this moment, I don’t care. I am making these decisions on my own accord and I will deal with the consequences accordingly.

Why? Because I am the only one in my body. I am the one who has to wake up most days thankful that I am alive, yes. But nervous for the ensuing headaches, the dizziness, that not too good feeling. That feeling that even though it happens most days, I never get used to it. I rely on a tiny pill for life.

I’ve enjoyed this job but most recently, I’ve felt overworked, stressed and just plain sick. What good are the health benefits if the job is a part of the reason why I’m sick?

I’ve heard more comments recently about my relationship. People weighing in on both sides. Please make no mistake about it, I love that man and I know he loves me. He is loyal, honest, caring; all the foundational things that I think quite frankly are rare in our current dating environment. I know that.

But again I ask, what good are all these things if I am not happy? There are things missing in this relationship. Things that I don’t think I can go on without. But most importantly I’m not ready for a serious relationship. That is why I made the promise to myself a few months back to stay away. I’m in this place, not finding myself but creating the woman I want to be. I am fighting for her, I refuse to loose her.

My one year loc (dreadlocks) anniversary was a few days ago. Last year when I made that decision, I heard the comments good and bad but I forged ahead because it was what I wanted.

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It is no coincidence that these decisions are running parallel to each other. I am living my life, the way I envision. I may fall, I may even loose sight but I will never give up.

A Woman in Process