Me, MomSelf and I

Life's journey is full of twists and turns and sometimes we get lost. This is my journey to rediscover myself.


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What If I Died That Night?

When I was 16, I got my first speeding ticket about half a mile from my house. The police approached my car, asked for my license and asked me to step out of the car to place me in the police car. Maybe because I’m always running late, that was not the last time I got a speeding ticket, nor was it the last time I was placed in the police car as the ticket was written. I thought that’s just what happened. But when I told that story to any of my white friends, to which I had many, they said it was crazy. None of them had ever heard of someone being placed in the squad car as a ticket was being written. They also said as a female, it was crazy that I would get a ticket. I was told if I ever got pulled over again, I should do a number of things to avoid getting a ticket: cry, tell the officer I was on my period, be really apologetic, play dumb, beg. Each subsequent stop, I followed the advice of my friends. Surprisingly, none of it worked, for me.
Sensing a real disparity, with the police and more general situations, I became angry and frustrated. Especially when I watched the Rodney King beating on TV during the LA Riots in ’92. Those feelings are probably why I gravitated toward gangsta rap. My run – ins with the law were very minor in comparison to the experience of NWA, GETTO Boyz and Ice T, but I certainly understood the sentiment in Fuck Da Police!
See, growing up in a racially diverse middle class suburb like Cleveland Heights, I grew up thinking me and my white counterparts were virtually the same, save for our skin color. But the police taught me I was different and should be treated as such. As a threat to be contained.
Once when I was sitting in a police car as the white officer ran my license, and when I was old enough to know better, I ran my mouth. I said, “don’t you have anything better to do, like catch some rapists or murderers, than write me up for not making a complete stop before making a right turn? I guess this makes you feel like a real man to have a young woman handcuffed in your cruiser late at night huh?” I went on and on. And then he took me to jail.
I could have easily died that night. I could’ve been #SandraBland. She was me. At 26 years old, I had seen and experienced enough to justify my anger at the police. I was bold and educated and spoke up for myself. And had I died in jail that night waiting for my parents to bail me out I would never know the pain of a broken heart. I would never know the meaning of soulmate. I would never feel the indescribable bond with a first, second or third child. I would never have met some of the most wonderful people I get to call friends today. I would never understand my place in the world and in my body as a strong black woman. These things came after 26. And it sickens me that Sandra Bland was denied the opportunity to know these things.
The Plain Dealer’s headline back in July of 1999 could have read Darlene Norwood found dead in her jail cell from an ‘apparent suicide.’
I grew up thinking the Civil Rights Movement was so pivotal, so spectacular that most of the fighting for equal rights had been done. That it was smooth sailing for mine and future generations. It wasn’t until my 30s and now 40s that I understand there are all kinds of movements that have to happen before full maturity is reached. We’re in the midst of a growth spurt with the first African American President of the United States and the right for ALL people, regardless of sexual orientation, to marry. But growth doesn’t come without pain and it doesn’t come with out struggles and stumbles. We have to push through the uncomfortableness to become fully realized. There is so much more work to be done, movements, fights, conversations, growth. And since I didn’t die that night I went to jail, it’s my obligation to do what those who did, can’t. Fight.Against.Injustice.


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Today was a Good Day

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

I got a call this morning around 8:30 saying my therapist had a cancellation and would I be interested in an appointment this afternoon? Last I saw my therapist, we talked about me losing my job and releasing my fear of following my passion to become a writer. At the end of our session, we both expressed excitement for this opportunity in front of me and were eager to start the work. Before I left, I tried to schedule my next appointment only to find that she would be booked for the next month. So I was ecstatic to get the news that I could see her today! I also had an appointment later with a friend who recently started blogging. We were going to talk writing.

Therapy was amazing as usual. The same way I wish everyone would do yoga, I wish everyone went to therapy! It literally is therapeutic. I was challenged to face all the excuses and obstacles I create to block my writing. (If I don’t try, I can’t fail, right?) Great session, but I’ve still got a lot work to do.

Then later in the evening, I met up with my friend to talk writing. And again, it was amazing! She had a laser sharp focus about what she wanted and did not want to write about that left me in awe. I already admired her for her passion in life and compassion for other human beings. But talking to her this evening was just what I needed to get serious about my ambitions. She shared with me valuable resources like books I should read and websites and blogs to visit. She gave me ideas about where my voice might fit in the landscape. We talked about different ways to make money from writing. (I fear I got more out of the meeting than she did, but luckily, we are implementing a writing process, so hopefully I can return the favor soon.) We agreed to meet regularly to bounce ideas off one another and challenge each other to write beyond our comfort level. I know she will make me a better writer. I hope I can do the same for her.

Years and years I’ve been lamenting about how I wanted to become a writer, but it wasn’t until I lost my job that I declared this is it! Now is the time! I can’t keep longing for it. I have to make this happen right now! And a funny thing happened. “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” ― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

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What’s Next?

I was recently laid off from a job. The question on everybody’s mind, including my own is: what’s next? File for unemployment? Immediately jump into the job search?  Start my own consulting business? Dust off my massotherapy license and practice? Panic?????

In the weeks leading up to this life event, my 3-year-old was desperately unhappy at his new daycare. He’d transitioned there after his former one closed a little less than a year ago. We started the daycare search, again. We were on the waiting list for 2 different schools. In the months leading up to my lay off, I was fiercely looking for a new job because I saw things going in a direction I didn’t agree with. But I couldn’t find anything that really got me excited. In the years leading up to now, I H.A.T.E.D. my boss (a sub par replacement for “the best boss in the world,” who relocated for his wife’s new job.) This boss was passive aggressive, and took pride in manipulating people. She lied to everyone, so I couldn’t trust anything she said. She created an environment that ran off 2 amazing employees and broke the spirits of the rest of us on a daily basis. It was torture to walk into work each day. While I liked the work I did, I didn’t like the person I was becoming-someone filled with anger and hate and letting work consume me. My blood pressure remained elevated. On a conscious level, I knew her actions were due to issues she had with herself that she projected onto the rest of us, but it was hard not to let it affect me. So many times, work comes to define us. I regularly received praise from people I engaged with in the community, but I would return to my office to be belittled, micromanaged and pitted against other coworkers. I prayed for relief for me and my workmates. I prayed for relief for my son at his school. In therapy, I begged for help in overcoming my fears in order to really pursue my lifelong passion to write.

So here I am, immersed in the relief I asked for. The question remains what’s next?

What I’ve chosen to do for now is withdraw my son from daycare so we can spend quality time together. I’ve renewed my blog. I registered for a writing workshop. And I have applied for some jobs. But the most important thing I can do right now is breathe. Take a moment to decompress from the toxic situation I’ve been in and embrace what my life is today. I believe that struggles exist to make us stronger and push us closer to our purpose. And life events, like losing a job, not only show us how fortunate we truly are, but force us to acknowledge what we’ve chosen to ignore in the struggles. I needed to get out of that job, I just didn’t know how. I worried about what the next job would be like. What if it was worse than where I was? How far away would it be from my kids’ school? What if I didn’t like my coworkers as much? What if it called for more time away from my family? Or what if I was bad at it? We make unlimited amounts of time for worry and stress, but none for processing and living. Today, I will surrender to this moment in my life and l will decide what’s next.

Stay tuned!