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The Sickness In Your Head

I turned gently in my bed this morning as I started to wake, taking care to not rumple whatever new ailment that was plaguing my insides into tiny pieces that might cause irreparable damage. Then the thought crossed my mind as it does every single morning – there’s a terrible illness ravaging my body and I may not be able to find out until it’s too late.

I’m almost certain I’m not alone in sauntering the world everyday with an extrinsic fear of being trailed by an unknown sickness, one that when finally diagnosed would have devastating effects. Sicknesses like cancer, Parkinson’s disease or any other finite illnesses you can think of. I’d think about it usually in the mornings or during the day when a random ache courses through my body and I’d wonder what lies beneath but I usually don’t obsess over it. Because that obsession, is what will make me a true hypochondriac which in itself is an ailment I dread.

It had been a while since I’d seen a doctor for any kind of medical check-up – almost 8years. And by almost 8years, I mean 9 actually. (I’ve come to realize that when an article or a reporter uses the word almost/more than, the difference preventing them using the full figure is usually less than 1% mostly but I digress.) I hadn’t been to the doctor in that long because I just couldn’t afford it. At any one time, I worked at least 2 jobs that combined could barely take care of all my bills, let alone have residuals for a doctor’s visit.

The fear began out of my inability to visit the doctor. I’d experience distinct bouts of pain or discomfort at various times and sometimes spasms in different areas of my body. I remember especially this one time I thought I’d reached my end when I felt a sharp pain across my chest which endured for about 20 minutes. It felt like someone had stabbed me and kept churning the knife in place and while that went on, I could barely breathe. I shared an apartment with a roommate who at the time wasn’t at home and as I laid on my bed in anguish, I thought “Was this it?” As cliche as it sounds, I saw my life flash before me. It felt like it lasted longer than it did but eventually, it subsided. I have never felt that particular pain since then but others have persisted.

So when I did get a job that came with health insurance, it took 3years before I made my way to a doctor. 3years because I had a lot of adjusting to do with my finances – adjustments like settling debts which meant there still wasn’t enough left over after bills and my fear that my co-pay would be higher than I could afford. Plus, I’d missed the sign-up period one time which meant I still didn’t have health insurance.

When I finally made it to the doctors this March, I was scared of what they’d find. My anxiety was ramping up the week of my follow-up appointments to my physicals and gynecology. Imagine my bewilderment then, when both results came back clean. There was absolutely nothing wrong with me. I was glad I got a clean bill of health but disappointed nonetheless. Because if there wasn’t anything wrong with me, why I had been in pain all these years? Still in pain. No explanation for the spasms or the aches – only that I was fine except for some pounds I needed to loose. Thankfully, the pain has never been debilitating to the point that I couldn’t function but it was hampering all the same.

The aches haven’t gone away and the spasms still happen every now and then, which leave me wondering if I need to get second and third opinions. What is going on in my insides when I wake-up to full contractions almost every morning and not like the ones I usually get on my period?. What is it with the sudden numbness that occurs in my left arm at least once a week or the throbbing pain in my right knee every other day?

So yeah, I take care now when I walk or turn in bed because I’m not sure when I’m going to break – like I am an eggshell. I’m not a hypochondriac though because I’m not anxious about it – at least not yet. I do need to see about that second opinion though, as soon as Covid-19 let’s me.

I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe during this pandemic and taking all recommended precautions. This too shall pass and I believe we’d come out better and stronger together. As always, thank you SO MUCH for your readership. I do not take it for granted. #staysafe #stayhome #Sanitizealways

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“Guard your friendships. For some of you, these are the most important friends you’ll have in your life”. I still remember my secondary school principal uttering those words after somberly describing an adulthood filled with twist and turns in which the friends we made stuck with us for the rest of our lives and became our true support system.

Prior to those words, I had just two friends and a few acquaintances. Being the nerd that I was, I was somewhat of a ‘loner’. It never bothered me until my principal said those words which I’ve paraphrased actually because they were more poetic than that. So, I set out to to turn my acquaintances into friends and solidify my two friendships.

I took those words literally and ran with them without realizing the true meaning of friendship.

Friendship is about supporting and cheering each other through the happy times, the sad times and difficult times. That even when you go a stretch of time without communication, when you finally do, you just pick up where you left off. And that those conversations although few and far between are honest, vulnerable and truthful. That distance especially in the 21st century is just a mirage and quick phone call, text or video call reconnects us anew. That it’s always a two way street; sure there will often be one person more giving than the other and vice versa but the core remains like every other relationship, a give and take.

And when you find yourselves in a foreign country, far away from the motherland, you hope those friendships become stronger and that those friends become more like family. Standing in when family is miles apart and rising to the occasion to encourage and uplift. That even when partners start chirping at the bond, the foundation is solid enough to stand time. That’s what I thought I had, until 2 weeks ago. 12years of friendships and the bubble went poof in one weekend.

Illusion is defined as something that deceives by producing a false or misleading impression of reality. We have all been through an illusion but depending on what is being illusion-ed, the reality when the fog lifts can be very disappointing. I hadn’t seen some of these girls in 5 years, some 10 and others even more, but we stayed in touch as best as we could. Even when the partners and the babies came and the communication started dwindling; I understood and made the effort to connect. I thought, sure we’ve all grown in different directions and boy was I happy for my friends and thought it was mutual until that weekend when finally met.

The excitement was quickly replaced with silent judgements, subtle jabs and sometimes blatant disrespect. These were not the girls I was so excited to spent time with, to catch up on life with and make new memories while planning for the future. Some were very childish like they had never left secondary school, others adhered too much to what they believed was their “righteousness” and some were confrontational about mundane stuff.

I guess I had too much of a high expectation about what this reunion was going to be; a time when we jumped and made so much fuss about finally seeing each other after so many years, when we reminisced about the past fondly, when we faintly regretted on the lost time but avowed to be better and solidify the sisterhood. Maybe I just live in my head too much and couldn’t see it for what it was. That although my principal said those words to all of us, people still went out of their way to make new friends at different levels of their lives and thus have friendships that serve different purposes unlike me who thought I had made friends for life.

And for that, I’m not mad at all but that realization sucked. Whilst I genuinely love these girls and wish for nothing but the best for all of our lives moving forward, I’d be borrowing a page out of their notebook. Stay in contact only as much as needed and don’t linger, keep your personal life private and even when asked, don’t divulge any information that may be used against you later in absentia, support and cheer if you must but do at a distance.

In the end, friendship means different things to different people and we all have separate friends for various needs. It’s just an unpleasant and brutal surprise to find that you’re not the friend you thought you were. Word of advise, figure out what friend you are to whom and what purpose you are there to serve. And as long as you are both comfortable about the parameters of your friendship, it’ll always be dandy with no surprises. My principal was right, he just forgot to elaborate on the numerous facets of friendship and 12years later, I found out for myself.

As always, thank you so much for dropping by. I’m grateful for your readership and hope I can reciprocate in some measure. Please share and comment if you have any friendship stories.

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The Union

What a complicated web we’ve weaved

I used to abhor it and shudder at the thought it

A man and woman till death did them apart?

Who would willfully decide to torture themselves forever?

A torture is what The Union seemed to be in my teens

When to my own parents I became the referee to their weekly fights

Bridging the communication during the silent phase, arbitrating during mild grievances and sometimes halting physical altercations.

Some nights, the screaming match cowered my siblings and I to a corner of the house because you never knew what was next

What a terribly unhappy situation for anyone to consent to day-in, day-out

A never-ending cycle

Cycle because there were good days

Good days that attempted to make up for the horrible ones

On those days, dad is the comic – telling the corniest jokes to get the tiniest of laughs from Mom

She knows this and obliges even when the jokes are not funny.

He never hesitates to show her off to friends and especially her delightful cuisine

The gossip is unrivaled but of course, as long it’s not about Dad’s family, everything is peachy

At that time, I come to see The Union as a really bad seesaw with terrifying extremes

Extremes stretched further by darling aunt and uncle’s Union

They should be better than Mom and Dad, having lived in the State for years

Surely, they will be good models with the American ways rubbing off them

So I thought. Instead, I got more bewildered than before

Because dear old uncle doesn’t think faithfulness is an ideal to live by

Or that helping with chores is a principle to consider since they both have demanding jobs

And again, the silent treatment. At least, I wasn’t adjudicating anything here because it was none of my business

None of my business. That’s what The Union had become

Then I got enlightened – reading books and seeing friends and other relatives do it right

It wasn’t the absence of conflict which I resent more than anything

It was and is navigating complex disagreements with kindness, love and respect

Kindness because we are all fragile and abuse whether verbal or physical can cause irreparable damage

Love because we confessed to care about how the other person feels around us and when they think of us

Respect because we hold each other to a higher standard to be better versions of ourselves around and away from our partners

Slowly, The Union began to look attractive

So attractive that I want a man prancing around in the world with a cuff I’ve placed on his finger to symbolize ownership – that’s right, he belongs to me

That among his other thoughts on how to improve his life, I occupy at least half of it because he wants me happy as I do him

That on our bad days, the thought of the other would conjure up fuzzy warm feelings inside and we are assured, we belong

That we’d craft our Union’s culture – language and signs and songs that are privy only to us

That even in disagreement, we’d seek love in understanding the other rather than righteousness

That after a truly long day, we’d scurry home to the awaiting calmness of each other’s soothing voice and embrace

That although it may seem unrealistic, it is attainable when we are both committed

That’s that word again – commitment

Committed till death do us apart – it’s terrifying

Especially since I’ve been known to balk at the first sign of conflict

It takes work which is commitment which I’m not so sure of

Can I have A Union without The Union?

Indeed, what a complicated web I’ve woven.

Featured post

Mac – RIP

A Picture.

I met Mac on a sullen, dreary and foggy Saturday. It was unplanned and unexpected. When I walked into the wide grey-painted building with a shiny roof, I had no idea what lay ahead of me that day.

I had woken up rather expectant after several correspondences from a representative who had assured me no matter what my situation was, they could accommodate my means. For good measure, I had sent over every detail I thought would be important for this transaction, to which she reassured I had nothing to worry about. So I knew no matter what the events, I was coming home with something new. Old but new.

I had succeeded in convincing my cousin to join me on this adventure as this was the very first time I would engage in a deed of this nature. I was a rookie and didn’t understand why my cousin and I had been in there for almost 3 hours but where no were near accomplishing our goal. The paper work was endless – one questionnaire after another, the questions seemed ridiculous and the number of references required – outrageous. It’s not like I was signing up for the FBI or CIA and needed all this vetting. I was only trying buy a car. Heck, I wasn’t even in a Maserati or McLaren dealership, it was a USED CAR sales center.

After five grueling hours of torture which included informing pretty much my entire contact list that I was buying a car because they were my reference, it was time to go check out the sea of cars on the lot. I had no idea what I wanted or what kind of car even appealed to me but once I stepped out, there it was, staring at me and calling my name – a shiny silver Jeep Liberty.

I circled the car; caressing it’s body and feeling every line and curve about it. I hopped in and sat at the wheel, smoothing my hands over the steering wheel over and over as I looked around the rest of the car. It was very clean for a used 2003 car and had only 63k miles on it. What a good previous owner. Instantly, I aspired to be like them albeit the fact that I had no idea who this previous owner was. My cousin and I went for a test drive and we both agreed, it sounded good. We returned and finalized all the necessary agreement. He was coming home with me.

On my way home, I thought about a befitting name for him. I smiled at the thought of Trip. He was my first car, a 1999 Mazda Protege I had sold a few weeks prior. He was named after one of my favorite actors Mathew McConaughey’s character in ‘Failure to Launch’. Me and Trip had been through it all; road trips, naps, lunches, dinners, spent a few nights together and got in minor scuffs. He was my ride or die – until he literally started dying on me on every other drive. It was time for a change.

After a few discussions on the ride home, we both agreed on Mac – short for the “Mc” in McConaughey. I said a prayer and asked God to bless all future endeavors with Mac. It was three years of pure car bliss, he broke down just twice in those 3years and they were all fixed under warranty. With Mac, there were even more adventures than with Trip – there were interstate road trips, I modeled the previous owner and cut back on eating in the car to reduce it getting soiled, we had therapy huddles and mad jam sessions, he even had spa days. Boy was he spoiled.

Then two weeks after I paid off the loan on him, it happened.

The night sky was dark with barely visible stars unless you were using a space telescope and the sun peering glumly from where it was setting some 30 minutes earlier. The clouds hovered above, thundering and threatening buckets of rain as opposed to the measly droplets of the afternoon. It was 9:30pm on a gloomy summer Saturday night to cap off a pretty uneventful day.

I sluggishly came to a stop at the red light and as we waited, ‘Love You Die’ by Patoranking boomed through the speakers and my body succumbed to the rhythm. Mac blasted the song to his loudest decibel while I contorted to it as best as the space would let me. The opposing roadway lights were changing, so I got ready to take off any minute, still in sync with Mac.

The light changed green and slowly, I proceeded through the intersection. We had the right of way, ‘Go’ on green straight through on either side; turning signals on ‘RED’. I saw IT barrelling towards me midway, thinking to myself, “surely, it would slow down” but it didn’t. Panic washed over me, my eyes widened beyond their muscle strength wondering if it this was actually happening. There was barely anytime for reaction amid the loud CRASH.

“Ma’am are you ok?” “Ma’am get out of the car”

I heard distorted and frantic voices. Someone helped me out of the car to the side of the road and informed me of the 911 call he’d made. They all circled me, asking if I was ok and thanking God it wasn’t as bad as it sounded.

As bad! Mac! Anguish, sadness and anger seized me at once when I stood up to peak at him after parting the crowd. He was twisted and crumbled and missing parts. This was not my Mac. We had had a life together – for three years. But this is where it all ended – on this Marietta Street on May 20th, 2018. I would see him one last time at a Marietta tow yard, looking disheveled, gnarled and abandoned. I was hurting, especially since I had just paid him off. I fully owned him and nobody could ever try to take him away from me. I had not even received the title yet.

Such is life I guess. We had a good run, I said my goodbyes and told him how glad I was of the time we had together.

So Long Buddy. You’d always be my second favorite car. RIP Mac.

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Happy New Year!

Hope your 2019 kicked off to an amazing start already. Did you make a resolution(s)? If so, have you started out on any of them yet?

This year unlike last year, I decided against resolutions but instead made goals I’d be working towards. I know, resolutions are somewhat goals you say, but I think the difference with both is with the former, you are committing to begin a process or a journey while with the latter, you’re committing to reach the destination.

Several times, people made resolutions only to abandon them by the end of January and never revisit again until the following year. I’m so guilty. The start-pause-quit cycle gets frustrating and people tend to give-up altogether. With a goal, it’s an end point in mind and so you allow yourself to work out the plan as you go knowing what the final destination is within those 12months.

Regardless of what you decided, goals or resolutions, remember to stop and enjoy the happiness in the moment. I’m currently obsessed with ‘Il est ou le bonheur by Christophe Mae’ which is a french song and the basic message of the song is this: we spend our lives going through the motions, meeting people, getting angry and waiting for a particular moment or thing or person to make us happy. Before we know, we are old and grey and wondering what happened? Why didn’t we get happy or why didn’t happiness show up and only realize, it was there the entire time. In your HEART.

So no matter what you set out to do 2019 whether it be goals or resolutions, as cliche as it sounds, do make a point to stop and smell the roses. Because we get so caught up in trivialities that we forget to feel our hearts, to allow the joy in there radiate to the outside. So in the big and small moments, regardless of what is going on around you, remember to feel and fill your hearts with happiness.

Here’s to an amazing year ahead, I’m so pumped, I can feel it my heart. This year will be aHmazing. 🙂

Happy New Year and as always, thank you for stopping by. For your listening pleasure, Christophe Mae.

Cold Wishes

Ever found yourself in the midst of a crowd yet completely removed from that environment? Or someone speaking to you, you hear them but just not listening because you’re in far away land – in your mind.

This is pretty much me 70% of the day, – maybe 80, I don’t know. Anyways, I live in my head a lot. I’m not sure if that’s a writer thing but it’s an escape I’ve become a master of. Before writing this, I was twiddling my thumbs, pondering what I could write about, then found myself in la la land.

As usual, I daydream about the oddest things that might never happen; I find myself in the worst predicaments and always manage to wriggle myself out of them brilliantly, I re-enact past events I wish I’d react differently to, travel to the most exotic places but most of all, meet the most amazing people on planet earth.

I know this is not peculiar to just me, though I’d admit, I probably do so more than the average human. Daydreams I think are usually tiny inklings of our deepest desires, wishes. The things we want but can’t have, the people we desire but can’t have for one reason or the other and the life we see in others that we secretly envy.

Hence the saying, “if wishes were horses, everyone would ride”. We can’t always get those things we wish because the harsh truth is, sometimes no matter the amount of work, some dreams are just unattainable due to some other factors that play a role. It varies from person. It doesn’t mean we should stop dreaming, keep the dream and hope alive, you never know, those cold wishes you make in your heart and mind might just become actualized reality.

Thanks for stopping by always. I appreciate your readership. Please feel free to share in the comments and use the share button.