Handling Loss, Difficult Moments, and Disappointments

How do you handle loss, difficult moments and disappointment?  Do you shut down and play dead?  Do you go off?  Do you spend money, over eat, drink, etc?  I recently realized how I’m dealing with crisis differently than I used to.  It took a series of crises to get me to a different point.  A set of evolutionary tales to make me ask whether or not I valued myself and how I’d choose to make decisions going forward.  How do you respond when something negative happens?  Write down the different ways you’ve responded in an emergency or in a crisis (your own situation, that of a loved one).  Have you evolved over time? Writing out and taking time to consider how you respond can help you understand yourself. – From Rae’s Life + Writing Prompts Vol. IV on Untitled, 1975.

 

I remember the day I got terminated from a job back in 2007. The unexpectedness of it all is what hurt me most although I was well aware of my actions and what lead to that moment. I knew I had done wrong, but I didn’t think that I would be let go simply because of who I was. My longevity at the company would be on my side. The accolades and recognition at the job would prevent me from being fired. They needed me, I thought, but when I was called to the office and was told “we no longer need you” by the supervisor I was close to, I was in for a shock.

I believe management had that particular woman notify me of my departure from the company because they were well aware of our bond. When the root of your disappointment comes from someone you’ve connected with, it stings a little more. As the words fell from her lips and echoed into my ears, I knew it pained her as much as it did me. Eight years later, that common theme of handling loss and dealing with the unexpected aftermath of it all, has resurfaced. I’m well acquainted with failure and acknowledging when something is over for good, but when a relationship collapses and I feel blindsided by it all, it really takes an emotional toll on my well-being.

I struggled with wanting to write this post. I feel betrayed by the recent actions of someone I considered close, internally dismissing the explanations behind the whys and the apologies that followed. I do this thing of shutting down when people hurt me out of nowhere, and for the sake of self-preservation, I rarely ever find the urge to reconcile. From your parents to your partners, taking a blow from the people you’d least expect, subconsciously brings about trust issues and paranoia, feelings of doubt and questioning of self. And so, it took a while to write this and wanting to see if that forgiveness bug would bite and I could let bygones be bygones.

But I cannot.

And I remember that supervisor’s voice, her words, and the affirmation, that my presence was no longer a necessity for that job. Who I was didn’t negate what I did and I think that there are so many people in our circles who live their lives this way; believing that dependency on their existence is simply enough. Assuming that forming some sort of alliance over weekend drinks and giggles, and maybe even sex, is okay for a pardon. It’s enough to brush off and pick up where you left off. Their company is sufficient to exonerate the wrong, but it’s not.

I left that building with a sense of shame that day and it all seems a blur, but those words, we no longer need you, falls clearer on my ears than ever before. This post is not a declaration that I have burned my bridges, but in tying the two experiences together, a reminder that life is nothing but a mystery and the surprises it brings, simply a norm, but when in comes to handling loss, difficult moments, and disappointments, what matters is how I handle the cards I’m given.

When shit hits the fan, I eat uncontrollably and splurge on things I have no business spending money on. I’ll stay in bed and wallow in emotions until the point of nausea, but sometimes – on days like today, particularly – I’ll remember when I got fired and my approach on it. I had to keep it pushing; had to find another job; had to learn from the errors in my ways; had to recite Ecclesiastes 3.

Seasons – fitting for the transitions in nature right now, applicable with Mercury gearing up to be back on its bullshit, relevant to the verse that’s been in my spirit (“whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before”) since my birthday. I’ve been here before. Different faces, different names, different scenario, but the same lesson to be learned: it will hurt, it will come from the ones closest to you, it will be just another stepping stone to becoming who you were supposed to be.

Another band-aid, turned badge of honor.

Another abrupt moment of misfortune meant for molding.

Another disaster that’ll do me some good.

Disappointments – in ourselves and in others – serve as opportunities to flip the script and look at it all as a win in the long run, instead of a loss at the moment…

What Is It You Deserve?

I sent out an email to Demetria Lucas’ PR person last week, taking a chance at the opportunity to interview her for a special project I’m working on for VIBE. This would be my first time reaching out to someone on my own, without the help of my editors who usually do the setting up. I read the email over 17 times before having the courage to press send, although I did so with my eyes closed. In less than ten minutes, I received a reply back from her team, accepting my offer. I spent my weekend researching and jotting down questions, panicking and prepping for my sit-down with the Fairy Blogmother of them all this past Tuesday.

My hands were sweaty before arriving at the office and I felt my body warming up watching the clock and waiting for her entrance. I needed tea to calm me down – ten minutes left. I damn near had an anxiety attack when I realized I downloaded the wrong app to record the interview – four minutes left. I changed the order of my questions at the last second – one minute left. And in she arrived, with a warm personality that settled all the nerves I had in the days leading up to this very moment. I fought back tears, remembering to keep it cute and remain professional, but silently questioning myself in the middle of introducing the staff to Demetria:

“How did this happen? How did I get here?”

I do that a lot. As full off of gratitude as I am for all of these things that have happened for me at 27, I find myself asking God at 5:30 in the morning or 11:45 at night, why me? It’s not so much a matter of me doubting my experiences and questioning God for placing opportunities in my lap, but have you ever wondered after a long drought of emptiness in your life, how do these things come about, out of nowhere? Do you ever look at your partner and think about how he/she landed in your life? How you snagged a job of a lifetime and it seemed so effortless? Why you have the circle you do? It’s something like that.

I sat in the empty conference room afterwards and remembered something Demetria told me from across the table, twenty minutes before:

“If you’re not growing, you’re dying. I know all of the struggles that have gone into everything that I’ve done. I know the sacrifices. I know the hours. I know the time.”

These things have transpired because I have grown in my weakest hours. I am not the same woman I was March 28, 2014. Sometimes, the blessings come at an overwhelming rate, but I remind myself here and there, that I deserve it. In the months leading up to that moment, I’ve heard it from friends and family alike, and while you try to remain humble about it all, you have to tell yourself that you do deserve the things that you have. Because Demetria said it best – you know the hurdles you had to jump to get there. You also know the hurdles you tripped and busted your ass over, but still got back up to leap over another set.

Sometimes, I think we get so accustomed to not having anything, much less, nice things, that we don’t know how to respond and grow into what we’re all of a sudden blessed with. Very few people see the sweat; see the falls and the failures. They don’t know that the bad days got your good days beat by five on the chalkboard, but the growth somehow keeps you going. When Demetria told me she was getting “paid in experiences,” it convicted my spirit immediately. That is what all of these moments are about.

Often times, I still struggle to get by, but every spoken word performance, every interview, every feature I’m apart of, and every show I have to cover to then come home at 3am and wake up for work at 6:00, fulfills me in such a way that I wouldn’t trade it in for the world. This is what I cried over when I couldn’t return to school in 2007. This is what I dreamed of as a child and prayed for as an adult. I left that office a different person.

Looking at myself in the elevator mirror on the way home, I wiped the tears in my eyes and finally let go a small smile. I said it out loud since I found myself alone in the small space:

“You deserve it, E. You really, really, deserve it…”

I meant it.

(Full interview with Demetria up in a few weeks)

Guilt Trips Someone Should’ve Warned Me About

“Leave Mommy alone, she’s working.”

I overhear it more times than I can count now. Every time, harder to swallow than the last and every time, causing me to stop everything I’m doing. I wish someone warned me about the guilt that consumes you when you fall into your passion, trying to find a balance that somehow seems unattainable.

This weekend, my partner and I got into a spat, with me arguing at the top of my lungs about how no one understands how much guilt intertwines itself into delving into your calling. In the heat of the moment, I touched on how people claim to be supportive of your endeavors until they realize you’re slowing slipping away from them and into purpose. People claim to understand and yet, have never experienced an ounce of your struggles. Maybe I should’ve directed my anger elsewhere or channeled it in a different way. Maybe, it just is what it is because that’s truly how I feel.

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