The Lesson

Dear Mom,

 

You got diagnosed with cancer in April. I’m heartbroken. On the heels of losing my Dad not even a year ago, believe me when I say heartbroken. I can hear the worry and unease laced in your voice that maintains that confident timbre and cadence you’ve had my whole life. Cancer is scary. Cancer is…FUCK CANCER to be real. But ma you’re like cancer in a lot of ways. You started in an undetectable way, mistreating me, bullying me, making me accountable and responsible for your perceived failures. By the time I was 16 you metastasized and I was flipping couches over and you were choke slamming me against the door. Why? Because I wanted to treat myself, I wanted to combat your disease, by standing up for myself. I was put down. But I went into remission temporarily. But you never left. Just like your problems now. They just haven’t quite gone…left.  This isn’t a diatribe to villainize you and victimize me this is a “let me be real with you real quick at the crux of what could be your downfall” type shit.

 

See it’s 1:18 pm on May 26, 2017. We just got off the phone. I have ignored your calls. Yeah go ahead and call me a shitty kid, I’ll own it proud. But also know that it’s a struggle and an internal beat down every time I do it. It isn’t because I’m disrespectful it’s because after 2008 I found my chemo,  my therapy, my release. Y’all…I found my peace. Disjointed like the soldered lines of stained glass but as beautiful as the diamonds of dew laying on a lawn in the AM. I healed…I started at least. I came a long way. But that isn’t a story for right now but it’s a foundation for what lies ahead.

 

I can’t be there for you the way I need to be, the way my obligation demands of me, the way God intends because you don’t know that you don’t deserve it. The damage you have done to me. The subtlety in your poisonous presence. The toxicity you have nurtured that is more pervasive than any needle or shot. It holds me back. My brother, my keeper, to his credit and my shame he keeps me conscious. Of you. Aware of the maelstrom that has been cultivated in the midst of what most would have filled with love and familial fortune. He, without knowing, or with full knowledge gives me permission to be whole. Where you have revoked my every right to sovereignty of destiny and intention and robbed me of my right to feel, express and disconnect and having done so with my captive audience grade consent. He will not let me abnegate my needs, sacrifice my soul, to honor and aid that which has baptized me in darkness and pain for so many years.  The surface is your Ph.D., charm and disconcerting smile that lulls those who do not know you into submission and acceptance. Many are those that you have swayed to mirror your admonishments about my lack of personhood. When those are strangers, shadows, who wouldn’t’ fucking know my face out in this wild that we call the global hood.

 

I’m a shitty person. I am a fuck up. I am whole and I will remain so. You are in your hour of need and I can’t be there. My own personal hell. You need me and I do not need a thing from you. My grace and grit have turned to a stoic acceptance of never having a mother. My high hopes and fervent prayers of reconciling this bone deep rift have been retired on the grave of my father. Where you laid your love for a daughter I will never know. But heed me when I tell you

 

I AM NOT YOUR HUSBAND. I AM NOT YOUR FATHER. I AM NOT THE WEAKNESS YOU SAW IN YOUR MOTHER. I AM NOT YOU. I AM NOT YOUR PARENT. I DID NOT FAIL YOU.

 

Chalk this up to my adjustment disorder that you so readily color me with. Chalk it up to me being a punk ass kid. I don’t care.

 

Read that again.

 

I DO NOT CARE.

 

27 YEARS. I finally can distance myself. 27 years. I can walk away and swallow the guilt and the disappointment because it isn’t a part of me. It is a side effect of you. It is the symptoms of the radical poison of setting oneself free from the certain destruction of self. I will continue to apply that salve, imbibe that tincture, steep myself in those waters. Concentrated power of will. Reinforcement. Remembering. I will not drown.

You have my civility. My sympathies. Nothing more. No one deserves cancer, least of all my own mother. I love you, Mom. But the loneliness you feel now is just the beginning. The bed you’ve made, the row you’ve sown. This is my lesson for you.

If it seems like, it is- an open letter about where I am

Take this as my State of Self Address. Perhaps one of many, maybe an army of one. If it seems I have changed, know you are not mistaken. It is my right to do so but also a necessity to maintain the light that resides within. If you feel I have reached out to you, moved away from you, come to your aid, given or retracted my support….I HAVE.

Two years in the making and now dawn is here. It has broken over my life much as the sun blazes its fiery arrival across an early morning sky. I need, I feel, I want, and I will emote. There is beauty and breath of life in the process- trial, tribulation, perseverance, resolution, release. Help is not shameful it is a gentle lacing of carry on drizzled over the whole of a soul that is pulled taut with doing it all alone. If I need you, you will know now. If the sun isn’t as bright today I will not flex my Michelangelo to make it so for the benefit of others. The tourniquet, the flow impeding barrier that is the never ending want from others, is undone. It got me nowhere fast.

If you’re reading this, find your own happiness. Because I’m too busy working on my own to carry you through life. If it sucks, change it. If you hate it, stop doing it. Want it? Take it. Yep, that sounds exactly like those motivational posters and speeches. I constantly live it. It is much, much easier to throw in the towel and give up. Blame someone else for my inability to achieve. I did myself a favor by starting to own my part in situations. It breeds a habit in you of shutting the hell up and working harder. I’m about my business and minding my business….I’ve seen quite a bit of success since.

My phone is quiet. Facebook messages pretty bare. I go out rarely. My bills are paid, I sleep well at night, I bought a new car, and the relationships I have invested in wholeheartedly are flourishing. Only reach for me if you have something to contribute. If friendship is a business deal as much as a soul pact to grow the holiness of being oneself. Let’s exchange soup recipes and business plans, dreams and honest opinions about politics, advice on professional development and new musical muses. I want to be the TIME Freshman class-something to offer the world, offer others, provide for myself.

Support. Grow. Connect. Or kick rocks, cool?

Thursday Check In

I hope you’re okay today. Who ever you are. I wish nothing but good things for you and want you to keep faith and high expectation in the good that is to come for you. Also the minute you woke up this morning, you were enough. For anyone. For everyone. You’re enough. Someone hears you. Although it may not be obvious, there is someone somewhere looking up to you. Cheering you on. There are at least 3 things you can be thankful for today, find solace and rejoice in that if your day has been troubled. Good vibes to you.

 

Hugs,

Weiss

Narcissistic Personality Disorder:

I’ve come across more people in the last few years that have been subject to someone with this type of personality. I thought it was just me, just not being enough for my mother. Not being enough as a human. I am hesitant to slap a title on something, as loosely as they are used these days. But this particular subject has merit and gravitas for those who know the person this describes. Below I have included both the Mayo Clinic definition and the one from the DSM-IV. Please keep in mind this is an actual diagnosable mental condition. An evaluation by a trained professional is necessary to assess one for this disorder. Keep in mind, how someone treats you says more about them than it does about you. -Hope

Definition

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultraconfidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

A narcissistic personality disorder causes problems in many areas of life, such as relationships, work, school or financial affairs. You may be generally unhappy and disappointed when you’re not given the special favors or admiration you believe you deserve. Others may not enjoy being around you, and you may find your relationships unfulfilling.

Narcissistic personality disorder treatment is centered around talk therapy (psychotherapy).

 

 

A. A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements).

2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.

3. Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions).

4. Requires excessive admiration.

5. Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations.

6. Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends.

7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.

The essential features of a personality disorder are impairments in personality (self and interpersonal) functioning and the presence of pathological personality traits. To diagnose narcissistic personality disorder, the following criteria must be met:

A. Significant impairments in personality functioning manifest by:

1. Impairments in self functioning (a or b):

a. Identity: Excessive reference to others for self-definition and self-esteem regulation; exaggerated self-appraisal may be inflated or deflated, or vacillate between extremes; emotional regulation mirrors fluctuations in self-esteem.

b. Self-direction: Goal-setting is based on gaining approval from others; personal standards are unreasonably high in order to see oneself as exceptional, or too low based on a sense of entitlement; often unaware of own motivations.

AND

2. Impairments in interpersonal functioning (a or b):

a. Empathy: Impaired ability to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others; excessively attuned to reactions of others, but only if perceived as relevant to self; over- or underestimate of own effect on others.

b. Intimacy: Relationships largely superficial and exist to serve self-esteem regulation; mutuality constrained by little genuine interest in others‟ experiences and predominance of a need for personal gain

B. Pathological personality traits in the following domain:

1. Antagonism, characterized by:

Grandiosity: Feelings of entitlement, either overt or covert;

 

 

8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.

9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.

 

self-centeredness; firmly holding to the belief that one is better than others; condescending toward others.

b. Attention seeking: Excessive attempts to attract and be the focus of the attention of others; admiration seeking.

C. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual‟s personality trait expression are relatively stable across time and consistent across situations.

D. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual‟s personality trait expression are not better understood as normative for the individual‟s developmental stage or socio-cultural environment.

E. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual‟s personality trait expression are not solely due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., severe head trauma).

Dear Melissa,

Thank you for your wonderful spirit at the hood hair store. Yes we were being watched by the owners, because you know more than one of us and we are about to steal ALL the Cantu products.

Hope you are reading this. You inspired me to get back to this writing, advicing, thing. I appreciate you. You are the definition of Black Girls Rock, supporting another woman genuinely and wholeheartedly. So shout out to you today!

 

-Hope

You mean I HAVE to put pants on?

You dream about affordable quality housing, being able to finance a vehicle without entering a blood pact to give away your first born (or at this rate your cat), and a closet full of clothes that aren’t “gently used”– welcome to your mid/late-20s. If right at this moment you are cussing Carrie Bradshaw and her oh so marshmellowy fashionista ” life is hard but walking in heels on cobblestone streets in Paris is harder” vibe, CUSS ON SISTER!

Us non-silver spoon sucking beings, must in fact work and try to figure out this tangled mess called adulthood. It’s ugly and uncomfortable and usually requires a lot of gangster rap and 90s grunge with a dash of self pep talks (after a fair amount of self deprecating ranting) well at least for me. But alas here we are and there the world is *peers disapprovingly at the so called world in that “You can’t sit with us type of way”*. It’s confusing and the ‘rents are stuck in the Clinton years with no perspective or useful advice, the economy is somewhere between that drunk guy in the corner and Wilhelmina from “Ugly Betty” and you’re unsure if your words texted per minute is resume appropriate. What to do? Where’s my booze? Are tights considered leggings and ultimately considered pants? Why is finding a job so hard? What am I doing wrong? Has the demon lord taken a personal interest in ruining my life?!

All of those are fine questions m’lady so lets go in order shall we?

What to do?

  1. Log out of Facebook- do it. DO IT NOW. It’s extraordinarily easy to fall into the bad habit of comparing your life to someone else’s and judging books by their often incredibly photogenic covers. Maybe they suck, maybe their life is a storybook but honestly you don’t care you’re just trying to distract yourself from other less appealing things in your life.
  2. Stop sharing every shred of your life. C’mon girl don’t nobody want to hear about or see the screenshot from that one particularly jerk ass guy you won’t stop sleeping with. We get it. I know it’s YOUR social media account and yes, you may do whatever you like, however what do you gain? What hole are you trying to fill or image are you trying to project? Think about it. Having a little mystery about yourself is never a bad thing, plus you’re SUPER capable lady love, you don’t need the opinion of the general populace to sway or alter your feelings or dreams.
  3. STEP AWAY FROM THE CELLULAR DEVICE, seriously put the damn thing down and take a few days to observe the world without a tempered glass screen in front of it. Scary, I know. But honestly give it a shot, you’d be surprised how much that little buzzing, beeping rectangle is holding you back from. Also you’ll notice how unhealthy your relationship with an inanimate object really is.
  4.  Drink more water. That’s it.
  5. http://www.topresume.com get that resume in shape and start going after opportunities you are really passionate about.
  6. Go back to school. Ew. Yassss I feel you honey, but shut up and get your life together. Knowledge isn’t only power it’s the key to success (yes DJ Khaled agrees with me) and no one can take it away from you. Plus you become ultra marketable AND dammit if you don’t look cute with a messy bun and your glasses on!
  7. Use the rest of your Ulta points- and then cool it on the beauty products and makeup tutorials. You are queenin’ the minute you wake up. Feel like a little color throw some on. But don’t ever feel like you have to follow makeup trends to be considered beautiful, not all of those trends make sense or are even all that attractive, not to mention how rude they are to your bank account. If your eyebrows don’t look like the Hollister bird and your eyeliner doesn’t look like an engineer did it, no one is going to notice because you’re a dime anyway.

WHERE’S MY BOOOOZE?

Alright sugar plum, hate to break it to you, but lay off the fire water. Drinking now and then totally more than okay. A glass with dinner or while watching your favorite show is the best. But drinking to cope isn’t. You had a nasty day at work reaching for the bottle isn’t the best option, while you think you’ll feel better alcohol is a depressant which can make things worse i.e. texting that jerk ass guy you won’t stop seeing. Break yourself of that all too normal tendency to associate negative feelings with a the need to drink. I’m guilty of it, no shame. Don’t do that to yourself though, it’s a form of self harm even though seemingly minor. Learn to vent and express yourself in a more healthy sober form: painting, writing, taking a walk, or my personal favorite hardcore dance sesh to my favorite Google Play channel.

Let’s let this soak in awhile and take a water break…

-Weiss

I might have found a new place to live. Which is always exciting. It will be my first place all to myself. Terrifying. But I need to be in a better environment. Since the leasing office and old management basically breached their own lease, no better time than the present. Nervous about the increase in cost the most I think. I have furniture and moving help all nailed down. Lets hope ma dukes pitche$ in. No better way to say happy holidays than a new place right?! I have until Monday to decide.

I think…I feel like today the last bad thing has finally happened and it will go nowhere but up now. I’m so much more clear headed and concentrated. The past month has been like a pushing a truck up a hill with a string to put it mildly. Which part? What in particular? All of it…the whole lot of the last 4-6 weeks. I know grossly large estimate of a month but seriously…it has felt endless. So yeah? Maybe. No, not maybe lets exercise that age old mantra “speak it into existence”. Yes. Yes. Yes. Things are getting back on track. Back to school in January. Reconciliation and finally letting it all hangout.

Pump good vibes and positive thoughts this way because they are being returned to you 10 fold. Here’s to another day in the life….