I used to be a wallflower. Now, I am a rose with thorns…..
This is not to say that I do not have friends. There are associates, coworkers, friends, and dear friends. A best friend is not in the cards for me. There have been love interests. However, as of this moment, I am unable to say with certainty that there is a single person on this planet that considers me a high priority. Unless I am functioning with one of my work capacities, no one is looking for me. That is because everyone has their own entourage to deal with and enjoy.
Faith and patience have been my themes for this year. Faith that I can reproduce in spite of my feminine woes and patience to create that family structure. I have no intention of being a single parent. While my mother has encouraged me to adopt instead of carry because it will be difficult, I say that it may be difficult but not impossible. Women were giving birth during late stages of life for centuries before medicine started dictating standards through the mouths of men.
My time was being spent developing me. The nights of picking up my best friend to spend a fortune on food were no more. Cooking had to become a constant activity because of the detox that Pilates was causing. After work, I stopped going to hang out with her at her job because I had to go home to research topics that interested me. The phone calls that I would normally make on her behalf suddenly became her responsibility. Her insecurities continued to rise to the surface. When she could no longer control me, she tried to change how someone else saw me; she took it upon herself to share personal info about me with my mother. Shortly after that incident, I banished her from my world despite attempts to keep me. The best part? I did not miss her. Wow.
Pilates and bellydancing continued. After a beach photo shoot, new information about me began to unfold before my very eyes. It became evident that all of these years, my tragic private life was spent with the wrong type of person. It took some years before I could accept this for myself. My spiritual views were very encouraging of my new found tastes, and also rather encouraging. My mother on the other hand remained ever negative against me. Never approving of choices that I made for myself and always overly critical and generally negative.
This scene played itself out in my 30s. I was the champion of womens circles and being able to do what I want whenever I want without having to check in with a significant other. There wasn’t a baby waiting for me or even a dog to walk. Freedom was mine to dance on the beach naked whenever the moon beckoned. Then my father passed away.
My mother was devastated. His death made me see her in a completely different way; she was going to be round II someday. It was not long before I realized that maybe, I should have a family of my own. Other people had their own units to claim. How many times had friends canceled on me because they had to take care of something for someone that they loved? Even now, the fear that I could vanish without anyone noticing is a credible threat. Prior to my 40th birthday, it was apparent that there were many things in life that were no longer fulfilling and something else was required. I wanted my own family. A complete entourage. Maybe even a dog.
When I come home with a high from an amazing day, there is no one to share it with. Saturday mornings find me waking up to the sound of my insane neighbor talking to himself. If I get sick, there is no one to run to Walgreens to get Nyquil. Most of the time, I am alone. This probably comes as a surprise to people that know me, but it is true. Weekends, week nights, and even most holidays, it is just me. While it used to be a pastime, it is now a borderline fear. It is quiet and deafening.
I never fit into the norm a single day in my life. As a child, unicorns and animals interested me. Art and music soon followed. My mother spent most of her time making sure that I did not explore anything. She also insisted that I attend church with her which never made sense to me. While invitations to social gatherings did arrive, there isn’t a single friend that stands out in my mind. Everyone was temporary. Middle school was a social nightmare filled with rogue boys and friends that were not friends. The only thing that mattered to me then was music.
High school was much the same. Music was again the central theme. Friends came and went. I often sat alone during lunch. My parents were not fond of my first boyfriend to say the least. My prom date refused to dance with me, and my cotillion date hit on a friend of mine. I did hang out and have good memories of the weekends. My family was a good support system then. After high school, everything changed.
Since I was attending a local university on scholarship, I remained at home. This is something that in retrospect should have been avoided entirely. As graduation approached, cupid pulled back his bow and I found myself in love with a guy. It caused a huge crossfire in my family. My job fired me, and depression took over my life. Darkness became my world. From the kettle into the pot I jumped. Living with the guy was more than what either of us had bargained for. Needless to say, rock bottom soon ensured. No friends. No family. No boyfriend. Everything was lost; but, there was my degree. My family did not attend my college graduation.
As my new job began, it was obvious that my current living situation was going to have to change. Paycheck after paycheck was tucked away so that I could look for a place to own. Once my home was purchased, a new boyfriend was in the picture. He was another epic mistake of all time, but he did help me move. Break up after break up simply could not keep him away from me. We did not have anything in common other than the fact that he loved me. He was shot which put me in another state of grief for a long time. His assailant was never found. In the middle of it all, I completed my second degree and left for a memorable trip to Jamaica.
Time passed. One summer found me dancing. I pursued it with everything that I had because it made me so very happy. There was a strong connection there for me. Rehearsals, performances, classes, and general fun became all the rage. My instructor suggested a Pilates class to me which changed everything. My mornings were spent in Pilates while my evenings were spent dancing. New friends became my sisters as we formed circles and explore the concerns of the moon. My discomfort level with organized religion was at an all time high as the need to belong vanished as other women centered spaces seemed natural to me. My core became empowered and people began to take notice.
I became friends with a pregnant woman. We talk every Monday for about an hour. I have been wanting to serenade her baby for a while now, and today brought that opportunity my way. Two other coworkers joined us for the festivities. There we were in a rugged formation. Holding space for the upcoming arrival of a new bundle of joy; four women welcoming a little girl.
The swells of the music touched everyone. The movements of the baby changed to a relaxed nature. She would violently kick her mother in between songs as if to say, “What is happening”. All of us sat and talked for a good while enjoying the celestial space that had been created. It wasn’t until later in the evening when I realized what had actually taken place. It was a special moment for all of us.
My 40th year on the planet started off with a bang. It has also brought about some lessons that keep me afloat on a daily basis. I think my favorite one is wanting something that does not happen. We often focus on what we want out of life. We won’t get everything that we want, and that is a good thing. When this happens, it is because it was not the best fit for us or something better is right around the corner. This is a good indication that in many cases, when a situation becomes too hard to manage, sometimes it is best to simply walk away. It was not supposed to work. That is the correct outcome. Why? Ultimately, it benefits you.
It was an off colored email message. It was the norm from this particular individual. Comedic. I responded with a hello, how are you? The response was extremely disgusting and rather shocking. The thought of alcohol being involved crossed my mind. I was rendered speechless. It took an entire evening to pass before I was able to respond. A business contact made a crude sexual advance towards me, and I am completely confused as to what made him think such a gesture was perfectly okay.
They say that people are taught how to treat you based on how you react. He thought playing my strings below my waist was a perfectly acceptable message to send to my business email. He thought there was humor in it. The idea that a man in his 50s would think such a thing is a huge problem. I am gravely disappointed by this gross display of the patriarchy. Women are not placed on the planet to service the sexual desires of men. Women are not mere sexual objects that are expected be treated in any manner that a man deems acceptable at any given time.
The backbone of society is maintained and in existence because of the queen. We give birth to the universe and stay in touch with Mother Earth at the expense of our bodies. Unfortunately, our proper position is often defecated upon by men that pretend to recognize us for our talents, for our minds. The bottom line always seems to be, “When can I play your strings?”. The individual has been deleted and blocked. I pray to God that I never encounter him again in this life or the next.
In 2013, my mother traveled to Jamaica. She purchased a knitted swimsuit for me that was in the design of the Jamaican flag. Unfortunately, it was unable to fit. I comforted myself by saying I would give it to a smaller friend with a frame that could appreciate the suit. Fast forward to last Sunday morning. The sun rose, and I realized that I was beach bound. Since so much weight has dropped off me since February, I decided to try it on. Not only did it fit, but it looked good on me. It gave me such joy to wear it and enjoy the wind on so much of my skin.
These days bring me a lot of attention. Coworkers pull me to the side and ask me what I am doing. They want me to share the secret. Several people have begun dieting because of what they have seen with my body. Doors are simply held open for me wherever I go. It is a whole new world. Cooking has also become very important as I’ve picked up new tricks to keep myself well nourished.
When I cook my dinner, I pack my lunch before I eat. There are tupperware cases of salad laying around in case I do not have time to chop first thing in the morning. The microwave is only used at work, and water is everywhere. Water bottles travel back and forth to work and there are water jugs in my office if a refill is needed.
The types of comments that I receive these days is material for a comedy routine…..
1.) You need to retire those jeans immediately. They are hanging off you.
2.) Do you have an ass?
3.) Wine does not support your sexiness?
4.) Can you eat here?
5.) When do you cheat?
The rain has prevented me from my morning walk. It does not mean that I am going to skip exercising today. Perhaps I can walk later this afternoon before my evening adventure or maybe I shall bust a move right after my breakfast bowl of organic yogurt. My body is sore from the small amount of exercise that it has been exposed to which means that it is not good for me to stop now.
While consuming my green goddess salad at Panera last night, I explained to my mother’s sisterhood that the weight loss that has occurred due to my diet is amazing to me. A torture master was not employed to help me exercise and this has happened. It brought about the thought of combining actual exercise with my strict eating. My stomach now comes to the surface with one question, “Are you necessary? Do you really need to be here?” Maybe I can be the one on the next cover of Sports Illustrated.
I told my mother that ever since this has happened, I have been obsessed with how I look. My reflection is admired in the mirror every single morning by my eyes, and they like what they see; what say with clothes…..there is a glow on my face in pictures. This is all supported by what I consume. It is an old equation that has truly taken on a new meaning for me.
It took over my life like a ten foot wave. Greens. Plain meat. Quinoa. Water. This has been my standard meal for about seven weeks now. I have done more consecutive days of cooking than I care to remember. It was only supposed to last for six weeks. However, one sandwich caused a major relapse and signaled that the diet must continue indefinitely in order to combat a lifetime of poor eating.
One would think that I miss eating whatever I want. The fact of the matter is that I feel thankful for the change. It was abrupt. The lack of warning meant that I did not have time to overthink it or take a long time to prepare. It was black and white; do it or remain unhealthy. Period. The side effects have been life changing.
Weight has dropped off my body. Pants hang of my shrinking frame. A lot of attention is bestowed upon me wherever I go. While confidence has always been a strong point for me, it has increased. The way I approach people is very different from before. If I have something to say, it is said without hesitation. Wine is something that I do miss and the occasional cup of coffee would be really nice. When I think about the history of Diabetes in my family combined with the unhealthy components of foods that I enjoy, it just seems to make sense that this diet turn into more of a lifestyle change. It is strict. However, within its boundaries, I have found a new sense of freedom.
The cooking continues along with my exploration of green veggies. Food tastes different to me now. I no longer eat for pleasure. I eat for survival. My body has proven to me that my eating alone can determine the state of my health. There are different textures in a salad. There is more to it than just mere grass. Yogurt is my best friend and water is simply a staple. It is possible for me to dine in fine restaurants. It just means that there are a lot of specifications for the chef. Protein and greens are my friends.