Everything changed; so quickly- it all changed.22 year old single but sorta of the market full-time law student, turned engaged 23 year old part-time student, part-time worker, future stepmother. Everything changed, so quickly. Graduation date of December 2013 in my head, but May 2014 in my heart to follow dreams career goals. Independent, take charge “do it yourself” young woman, to an entangled web of responsibility. Feeling like I perhaps I’m becoming dependent, fearful of fully relinquishing power… and control. Mind racing. Head spinning. Goal setting. Timeline changing. Everything changed; so quickly- it all changed.Good change or bad change?
I gained my soul mate, my life partner, the love of my life committed to me forever.Yet, independence feels subtracted; responsibility feels divided; support is multiplied. The name change, the life change- it’s all overwhelming at times
Late at night I stay awake and zone out
Circling around issues, deadlines, and timelines in my head
I come back
Tracing my fingers alongside his sleeping face
A beautiful face
A strange sense of calmness overwhelms me
Panic and anxiety subsides
And my heart begins to race again
No more anxiety
It rushes and pumps with love and adornment
Time seems to stand still
It’s Mike. My Mike. My man.
He’s mine, all mine.
And I’m his- forever and always.
It’s me and him, against the world.
And with that, I decide.
Everything changed; so quickly- it all changed.
But… I wouldn’t have it any other way.
No greater feeling than knowing the most important
Most crucial detail
I gained a soul mate, my love.
As my fiance sleeps peacefully, my mind is racing a mile a minute. Usually I am quickly soothed, raking my fingers through his curly black hair as he sleeps, the tranquility of his face washes a calmness over me. Tonight, nothing worked. Writing seems to always unleash my thoughts.
I got a text today at 2:09, that sent chills through my body and shivers down my spine. As my manicurist painted my perfectly buffed nails a deep lush red, I swiped my phone to the text to find “Madea has passed away today.” Shocked, not wanting to be a believer, I rushed my fiance to call home… did Tyler Perry die? What is she talking about? What is my sister trying to say? He took the phone, and as he approached, I instantly knew without words what was true: my great grandmother, my eldest living in my family, My Madea has passed away. Unable to speak, pushing the tears away… I looked down at my nails… the lush red, while my heart pumped frantically. “This can’t be, we were suppose to go in April to see her. This just can’t be.” My great grandmother was an integral part of my family; we called her Madea as she was truly the mathriarch figure and the rock of the family.
Unable to deal with the news fully, I called my sister to yell and scream. How dare you text me something like this? What do you mean? How callous can you be? I didn’t care that I knew she was hurt too, and unable to believe the truth or utter the words herself… texting was her only method.
Home. My fiance tried to talk, forbade me to go to bed, scared that laying in bed meant I would fall into a deep depression. So I sat, in his arms, and wept. Wept hard, wept long. My Madea…was gone. Trips to Arkansas will never be the same. See, I was blessed to have my great grandmother in my life for as long as I did- I wanted her to see me finish law school, I wanted her to meet my husband. The generational issues she endured have always pushed me, have always reminded me what was done to pave the way for me. Kissing her cheek every time I am in Arkansas, and going with my dad to fetch her favorite fish will always be my strongest memory. Her cheeks were soft, but you could feel her strong cheekbones, and her fragrance couldn’t be duplicated.
I talked for hours about my memories with her. Her trailer home I spent time in during the summers, her cooking, her grace, her soft smile, her gentle touch. I spoke about her southern charm, her natural grace. I tried for hours, through the imagery of my stories to bring her back to life. I became angry- I wanted my fiance to meet her, we had already planned this out. Deep down inside, past the anger, was my guilt. Last summer, I was “too busy” with law school, too busy with life… to attend her birthday party. I figured I had more time, figured she would be there rocking when I made the time to get down there. Guilt.
In only the way my fiance can do, he forced me to see the bigger picture. Madea was tired, this was her time. She was able to accomplish and see so much during her lifetime, a wish some never are able to make a reality. She was able to go from 1923 when the Tuskegee Experiment was happening, racial segregation in the South, harsh racial and financial conditions, and endure to see the first Black president… elected twice. Madea lived a long life. To be able to live until her 90’s, fully independent living in her own home with all 5 senses and a memory that was unparalleled is something many only hope for. I should remember her as a fighter, a loving great grandmother, a Southern angel. Madea, my Madea lived her life fully. It was an honor, a true honor to be in her presence for as long as I did. Arkansas trips will never be the same knowing I will be unable to kiss her cheek, unable to fetch her favorite fish, unable to hear to voice or see her smile when she nods as my father rattles off his children’s latest accomplishments.
Yet, her legacy will forever be cherished. For not everyone is able to pass away in the physical but forever be remembered in the spiritual. Without a doubt, my Madea will :)
Loving you always Madea. May you rest in eternal paradise.
Sunday, 8:57am… and I wake up counting the days until Thanksgiving just like I did in the coming days of Christmas as a child. This Thanksgiving, like Christmas, I will be receiving the best gift of all, that silver Honda Accord packed and bundled with all my favorite people in the world… signed sealed, and delivered with a beautiful wrapper (all mommy’s ingredients to throw down in NJ for Thanksgiving). You see… my sisters are my world, and my parents… well, they gave me life and I love them to infinity and beyond! Yet, we all are so caught up with LIFE… we haven’t seen each other much. Since about August/September… we haven’t all spent a day at home together; we go home at different times and text/talk every day!
Yesterday my sister tweeted ” I always thought my sisters and I would be in the same state, in a 5 mile radius, hosting our own family dinners, keeping tradition alive”… it made me a little sad, because truth is… it was all of our visions. Same token though, there was beauty in knowing we’ve spread our wings, and successfully I might add. We are nothing short of soaring in every aspect as a family this year!
This year in church, my mom has been hashtagging #Elevation and deeming this “our year of harvest.” As a family, I can attest to that! My younger sister, off to a 4-year college this year after her hard work and dedication; her other twin going after her dreams of a B.S. in psychology, my blood-cousin but bonded sister growing in her relationships with family and raising her son beautifully; spiritual and physical growth my mom has elevated to; and career transitions my father underwent but came out victorious alongside his ever growing martial arts business that’s successful and still soaring.
And me? I start a new job December 3rd as an adjunct faculty member at CUNY-Staten Island as a Cooperating Advsior with the potential for a full-time appointment in six months. Senior year of college, I sat undecided about how to link my passion for education(formal and informal teaching and advising) alongside my love for the law. An attorney told me ” go to law school, get the Doctorate because it trumps the Masters in Education, and you walk away with the flexibility to do both one day if you want.” 2 years into law school, I am making that dream a reality and opening Pandora’s box filled with both my passions.
Saving the best for last, I get to welcome my family into my home in NJ, holding my fiancé’s hand… something I get warm and fuzzy about just writing. This house, is now a home… a home we are building and evolving. My fiancé, the hard worker working 92 hour weeks and still maintaining the household emotionally with me, will finally get to sit down after a month of solidly working with no time off and reap his harvest as well. A full day of no Blackberry, no company computer, and company car to run into. He humbles; completes me; and is my sounding board for all my next steps as my very best friend. I love him. I adorn him. I admire him. Most importantly, I am forever thankful for him. Forever thankful.
This Thanksgiving will be filled with so many memories. My family will also be meeting my best friend, my law school ace, and her family. She will undoubtedly create memories, and I cannot wait for her to meet my entire family at the wedding as she stands in my bridal party with me. I am thankful, for her entry into my life at a time I felt so alone in NJ. Without knowing this, she guided me through and blossomed alongside me; both of us naturally vowing to stand tall as proud African American women in friendship and only desire and expect the best out of each other. She pushed me when I thought I had no fuel, always reminding me of my goals and aspirations, and modeled for me the strength we both are able to exude. She helped me to see the beauty in walking your own path, and although scary… sometimes alone…. because sometimes, the reward is only meant for you :) We started out with side-eyes and weary, but truly… she is was and still is my law school ace! My best friend (and she laughs and will insert “only”) friend in NJ.
Nothing more I can say, this Thanksgiving… I’m grateful.
I will say… there are perks to being the fiancé
I didn’t realize it before… but I do now. I’ve been engaged for not even a month now…but I find myself rushing to cook and clean before he gets home, I’m up when he is up… and while he showers I prepare a hot breakfast and an “on the go” lunch. At work late? No worries… I packed a more hefty lunch so you are not drained. Friends in law school question ” are you crazy, you need sleep.” See, I sleep later and wake up earlier to make sure it’s all done. I shrug… it’s natural for me. I realize that whether it’s the bliss of being engaged, or the security in knowing… I will be with him forever… I want to grow individually and as a couple, and this means making sacrifices to make his life just a little easier ( I think it’s the latter). So again, I say… there are perks to putting a ring on it (for lack of a better way to phrase it). Many men think that once they “put a ring on it” it changes in the negative. I find it to be so contrary. It wasn’t the price of the ring… or the glitz and the glam for me… for me… it was the eternal promise behind it all. As an independent woman, while I put my “all” into the relationship… I wasn’t there… mind, body and soul. I was the girlfriend, I put myself first and all the other important things in my life… careful to remember that while I love him… he isn’t MINE yet. But ever since that day… 9/16/12… I’ve gone harder, worked harder, tried harder… because he is mine. All mine. Forever and always :)
No perfect words to describe the feeling
Not enough adjectives to illustrate the depth of emotion felt
From the elegant dinner party planned
To the family oriented introduction prior to my proposal
Down to the indescribable feeling as he got down on one knee
September 16,2012 will always be my greatest memory
Wishing I was painter
For I’d skillfully stroke a vivid picture of the emotions felt that day
If I were a musician
I’d string together powerful words with delicate melodies
To cast light on the enchanting nature behind the proposal
Although a writer
I cannot find the words
To describe the feeling that washed over me
I was in awe
I was happy
I felt whole
Full of life
The moment was perfect
A jolt of passion is released each and every time he utters ” my fiance”
I love him.
I love me.
I love “we”
Excited about this new opportunity, for growth, personal and educational achievement… it is with eagerness I tell him the news.
“Work on the degree, not on the person”
We sit down for dinner, recount our day and I spill what I thought would be good news:
“Babe, I am thinking about adding a Masters in Political Science to my degree plan, still graduating on time”
I can see the emotion written on his face, the internal sigh before he speaks, careful not to hurt my feelings or upset me. It was all I needed though… because without speaking, he spoke.
He needs concrete plans, fixed numbers, accurate time frames… bold sketches.
I seek happiness and fulfillment, comfortable with constant evolution… an ongoing, unfinished painting works for me.
I wish he understood.
I hope he gets it soon.
I wanted the “approval”, the supportive smile to ascend from the corners of his lips
I sat frustrated, questioned his support.
Truth is, I am supported, and solidly so.
Our brains work differently.
Where I see growth and development.
He sees confusion and fear of working.
Where I have no single dream job, but a list of goals and work I’d like to do,
He sees lost in translation.
Where I see opportunity.
He sees opportunity as a facade for uncertainty.
Yet we both see each other.
We both see a solid future.
We both see success.
Odd, perplexing,confusing at times.
Under differences, we have sameness.
With his bold brown eyes, cascading long lashes and perfectly perfected masculine jawline he stared and asked “what was it about me that you fell in love with first”… and I sat, perplexed, pondering, thinking of something thoughtful to say. Instead I muttered ” your independence… I fell in love with your independence” and trailed off, picking up anything on my plate to keep from opening my mouth…
What I wanted to say, he wasn’t ready for. Not yet, maybe never. I wanted to smile and let him know, finally unleash my secret. I’ve held onto memories of him since I was in college, dating occasionally and settling for the security of a relationship seldomly, but never feeling wholly complete. There was something about the way he held me in that fire engine red car of his one night, something exotic about the way he held the base of my chin when he kissed me-forcing me to let his tongue entwine with mine, something powerful about the way he challenged me constantly from finance to personal goals, something intriguing in the way showered me with knowledge, and filled the room with the masculine presence, something about the confidence in his baritone voice. I never forgot the art I made retracing the muscular lines of his biceps in L.A., the mold we made when he crept behind me and pushed up against me at Joseph’s one night, the heat we created when he suckled my lips before departing, the butterflies I felt before and after any and all encounters, the enchanting nature of the way he pushed me and challenged me.
What did I fall in love with first? The real answer is, I have no answer. I can’t remember when exactly I fell in love with this man. All I remember is his presence invading my thoughts for years, and my sense of tranquility once we rekindled and reconnected. It wasn’t physical, no sex. It was his authority yet sense of compassion, the peculiarity of his personality, he was an original. I know that I am in love, and love my man. But anymore than that, I can’t share honestly. I’ve let go, gave in, entrusted my heart to him. A year in, 6 years later, and I’ve felt like I walked on cloud nine and touched the skies many a nights… pinpointing a moment of reality when I sat and realized I was in love- I can’t calculate. I’ve been living my fairytale so long.
Just know, I’m all in, and have been… for a long while.
An evaluation of self.
A critical analysis of patterns.
Through a fear of lonely
I embraced consistency.
Consistency, of being content.
1:45 bell rang. I ran.
Back Bay by 2:30. Upward Bound. Home after.
Late night text messaging.
Early morning “good morning” message.
College bound my road.
Confusion was his.
We argued. We fought.
Standards became muddled.
Craving consistency, I stayed.
I planted myself in a relationship destined for failure.
I saw the foreshadow.
Envisioned the demise.
But the young, naive girl I became.
“I can, we can… face this adversity.”
Break up via email.
Anger boiled. Saddened by the loss of consistency.
Not the loss of him, or we.
Merely, the loss of that feeling. Consistency.
20. College junior.
His smile and charm caught me.
Head over heels quick, the taste of consistency boiled again, and I ran for it.
Best friends and family gave me the “be careful”
“One hand washes the other”
“Make sure you’re not the only one bringing dinner to the table”
Yet I, again at 20. Naive and still young.
Dropped dreams, pitched my passion, and crawled to consistency.
Broken heart from infidelity.
Confusion at who I truly wanted to be.
Anger that in the midst of it all I shut out friends and family.
Resentment, giving up so much, for so little in return.
At 22, I sit and stare off.
And evaluation of self.
I now crave more.
My appetite is different.
My soul desires a different transaction.
My heart desires a different type of deposit.
No longer concerned with consistency.
No longer content with “security”
I am secure, for my success is consistent.
Depth. Love. Compassion.
Growth. Goals. Devotion.
I now search for more than mere consistency.
Raised standards, higher expectations.
This is me.
My self reflection.
Tribute to my Daddy ( dont worry, a translation follows!)
Expectations, goals completed, missions aborted.
Summer humidity exemplifies the intensity of my emotions
Half way there, half way done, keep going?
For the go getter, a days works is always left unfinished
Always something more to do, somewhere else to go, someone else to meet
Classes to take, work to do, devotion to the man I love, and honoring Him up above
Deep sigh, enormous inhale and exhale
My hectic whirlwinds are not just about all the things that need to get done, the physicality of it all… my whirlwinds are so hectic, so drastic, so powerful because of the out pour of emotions I go through daily. Defeat, curiosity, anger, love, disappointment, inspiration, optimism, drained, tired… it never fails. There is so much I want out of life, so many things I want to do, experiences I desire to have, knowledge I thirst for, success I yearn for, security I chase after, independence I seek.
The peek and pit of my days are becoming: that my goals are limitless and unbound. Soaring into the unthinkable, feeling the untouchable… my dream.
Make any sense? Don’t worry, it’s all perfectly imperfect in my head.
Truth moment… relationships are sooo hard! I know, I know… everyone either says they want one or the traditional “relationships take work”… but it’s sooo much more than that. As a strong woman, one that likes to believe I have a strong sense of morals, personal limits and boundaries, with a keen understanding of my “worth” so that I’m not insecure… I always find myself questioning things in this new relationship. I’m learning that it’s not as easy as “learning from past relationships”… because you’re dealing with a different person. It’s a” taking a step back” approach that’s been working for me. Instead of trying to figure out what worked and didn’t work in my past relationship based on my counterparts, I needed to a self evaluation of what worked and what didn’t work for ME, realizing and coming to grips with the confines and limits I learned I am or am not okay with. It became more of a personal growth and evaluation for myself, rather than an addition to my personal repertoire/ mental note of “how men act.” Bottom line… I realized FINALLY that my approach to “playing the game well” won’t work. I’m on the prowl for longevity, thus… having a winner/loser situation in the playing a game won’t work here.
The realization hit me yesterday, when I realized while in the middle of networking with an established lawyer, who was taking the time to TRULY drop knowledge, I trailed every sentence, ending with “… I don’t know.” It went from ” That’s what I want to do, but I don’t know” to ” I have the ambition and drive, we will see, I don’t know” even to at one point ” Criminal Law is definitely a passion of me.. awkward pause.. but I don’t know.” On the drive home, I realized my weakness is expressing my credentials and letting them speak. Truly, letting myself shine. First generation college student, Deans List in undergrad, straight to law school with passion for criminal law is my story. Undertaking challenges and hurdles… man, I got those! But I’m passive in conversation, transforming from the “pit bull” tenacious Tiffany people know. When did I become this person?! When did I become so passive in my pursuits? I can’t pinpoint when, where, why and how. I think law school was a slap in the face for me… a realization that I’m competing with people who have equally compelling stories. Instead of fighting, I started to question and in some way give up on mine. Well, the ride home yesterday was all I needed!
Yes, I’m not perfect..but I need to exude my perfectly imperfect :) I need to shine and stand tall in my stride, and focus on what I do have, how far I have came, where I want to go, and what MY walk is… instead of focusing on what I lack. No more ” I don’t know”… No one can spin my story and tell it like I can, dont let the resume “speak for itself”… I need to promote my package :)
Always told its better to have some than none.
Guiding principle behind my decision to go to college.
Intertwined with freedom and flexibility.
Yet now, options… and choices.
Create anxiety, apprehension, hesitation.
Who am I? What the hell do I want to do?
What am I aiming for? Where are my goals?
I run to “the box”,” searching for answers.
I flip open the lid, and the floodgates begin.
My letters, my notes to self.
My 5 year plan at 17, my revised agenda again at 18, 19, and 20.
Flight stubs to places I’ve flown.
Pictures of graduation.
Stickies of warm fuzzies placing value judgments on me
I search, I scramble.
And I’m brought back.
It’s the path I created.
From high school activism, social change.
Infused passion for politics and education.
College. I became an explorer.
China, Ghana, the urban setting of Clinton.
Executives boards to cheer squad.
Post grad, law school or graduate school for education?
Masters in business, maybe?
I search, I scramble.
I’ve never created a one-way road.
Goals and ambitions limitless and unbound.
I paint a rainbow- deep rich and profound.
The scariness of no speed limit, direction or turning signals up ahead
Is coupled with my passion for living, aiming to never feel automatic, robotic.
That’s the only thing I’ve thread.
Big glass windows.
Testosterone level, at maximum
Sweat dripping, pores open.
Music, soulful melodies in the background.
Naked, I stand.
Where did ya think I was? Gym! All too often, my progress at the gym becomes stagnant and I get frustrated. But, I’ve finally found an alternative that WORKS! Juicing cleanse + work out. 1-2 weeks of juicing and the pounds will shed like magic! How? See below:
I basically remixed a bunch of different juicing cleanses and created one of my own that I can stick to. I really needed more zinc and iron in my diet, and decided to get all the vitamins I need the old fashioned organic way… straight from the source.
I used: FRESH (not frozen) spinach, kale, broccoli, mustard greens, cauliflower, tomato and shredded carrots for my vegetable palette and for fruits I used: blueberries, blackberries,strawberries,kiwi,pineapple, oranges, grapefruit,lemon, and mango.
Every day I blended 4 -6 servings between the 2 palettes, utilizing a lot of veggies and fruits to dilute the taste and drank 1.5-2 servings (8oz-12oz) of the blend and drank 4 times per day. YOU WILL NEVER BE HUNGRY!
For me, drinking a blend of just fruit in the morning. Mix of fruit and veggies during the day for snack, veggie heavy based blend during lunch and dinner, and eating an apple or grapes or banana at night so I could chew on something worked for me!
No need for a juicer, use a blender and add coconut water, ice cold water, and/or a blend of you favorite juice (100%, organic, no sugar added) and there you go! Between the shock your body has with all these natural fruits and veggies and no processed food and ab workout daily and a little cardio… you will be golden and shock your body for those weight loss results you want!!
I am going to implement juicing bi-weekly into my diet to make sure I am getting the right amount of fruit and veggies into my diet! :)
Kale, blueberries, carrots, strawberries, blackberries, and oranges + 100& coconut water :)
A Healthier Me