…The Fear is Real – I Can’t Explain

My name is Drea.

I have anxiety and depression.

I am sharing this because I have had several experiences of major anxiety attacks doing common everyday things. The fact that I am sharing this is for my own therapy.

I go to the barbershop every two weeks faithfully. Now usually there is no issue, no there is never an issue. I absolutely love my barber, I always love my hair and the price is right. Now, for some reason this week as in past weeks I look at different styles on Pinterest to send to the barber for the vision of the week. It had happened once before but I kinda blew it off as potential excitement about getting my hair cut and colored. The intensity of the next few BIG chops as they are called seem to increase each time. Hence this week. I mean I’ve gone to the same shop to the same guy at the same time for almost a year if not more.
What the hell was the problem. I mean I sent him the pictures while chatting with my best good girlfriend on Facebook messenger about the cut. Normal stuff right? Sure; no problem.

Well as I ended my day at work, I just worked a little over to go right to the shop from work, why waste gas. You would have thought I was on my way to a firing squad. I got nervous, not excitedly so but as if I were in danger. My heart was palpitating and I was clearly aware that my breathing had changed. I texted another girlfriend either random or purposefully because I was able to recognize and own that something was not quite right. Even reliving the events my heart palpating is clearly noticeable to me . What in the hell? There is no rhyme or reason to that. My barber probably would not have noticed that I was a nervous wreck. Why would he? I’m on his book for the next year. I can’t begin to explain to you WHY in the world this hair cut was about to take me out of here. When you have anxiety there is not always a “good reason” to be in a state of panic as there is nothing that is “going on” that would cause for an anxiety attack.

There was another incident of a tattoo where it makes sense to have a slight seemingly anxiety attack. This case was probably more nerves than anything because unlike the lies people tend to tell, that shit hurts. So sure unless you into that kinky kinda shit then maybe it doesn’t hurt but I don’t like it, well I do like the end result but the process is not fun. So maybe that doesn’t count.

I just don’t know, I can’t explain it. I have come to realize that there might be something wrong (not really) with me. Most people get nervous flying – oh no, not this gal. I will get on the plane and might be sleep before the safety briefing is over. I mean if it’s my time to go, then so be it. I don’t know if this means I’m weird or whatever and that’s ok but I can recognize that things are not right. Seriously though somebody explain this to me? I want people to understand that anxiety has it’s own power over people in different ways. Normal things that should not cause any problems or harm can affect people in ways that make no sense to the “normal person”.

People think of anxiety attacks that involve stress at work, or issues at home or things that are more common to cause an increase of heart rate, labored breathing, chest pain, flushing skin and feeling as if you might faint. Yeah, sure car accident near miss, maybe that feeling is valid but a hair cut…what the hell?

I don’t have the answers and clearly am still working on me and figuring out my own issues. What I do know and want to express is that don’t be afraid to talk those feelings out. Get in therapy, some meds or something. Haircuts are not scary, haircuts are our friends…

In all my naked glory

Have you ever looked I mean really looked at your self in a mirror? Like after you take a shower, you look in a full length mirror and see your full naked body? In any growth process it is always necessary to check how things are going. On this current quest of betterment of self I did a self assessment of my physical person today. I looked at the stretch marks that tell the story of the births of my two daughters. 30 and 25, a long time ago yet seems like yesterday. I know that with age comes definite certainties that effect our bodies. Lose in muscle tone, sagging of certain parts, things giggle or wiggle more than they used to. It’s all part of the process. Of course you can work out to hold those saggy parts together longer, or lift weights to keep things from giggling or wiggling right now. I will eventually do whatever it is that those parts are going to do and it’s all okay. Love the skin you are in. If your heart is healthy and you feel good about yourself, so be it. I can stand to loose about 7 more pounds which will be 20 since September. It’s taking forever (I don’t try real hard every day) and that’s my personal struggle.

Varicose veins, cellulite, marks from bruises from known and unknown sources. My body, my temple a few tattoos and whole lot of stories to tell. It’s okay because at the end of the day I am the best me, right now than I have ever been. Sexiness is a state of mind and my mind says hell yes I am all of that. I am sexy, I am beautiful, I am torn and full of life. I have allowed my self to be held by the standards of others for far too long. I am now free to be me and I am embracing my freedom from the things I allowed myself to be held hostage by. I have the strength of the Wakanda female army to overcome any battle or adversity that life has thrown at me. I am determined to live the next segment of my life unencumbered, unapologetic and unashamed. I will embrace the marks of past hurts, growth both physical and mental and the loss of weight both mental and physical in order to live the next segment of my life in all my naked glory. In the words of Meghan Trainor, I Love Me, I love me, I don’t know about you but baby I love me.

The Power of ONE!

It was always said that one is the loneliest number. I am learning that depending on the scenario that not only is not true but it can be an awesome thing. I am learning that doing things by myself, with myself, for myself are just what the doctor ordered. I have for way too long not tapped into the power of one. My power, the power of Drea. What a sad realization that I have for too long put things first that didn’t necessarily need to be. Don’t get me wrong, raising my daughter and working on my marriage were important but now, it’s my time. I’m not talking about pretending to be single or living in that way but enjoying spending time away by myself. For instance, as I pen this post I am sitting alone in a hotel room. Just me, for me, by myself. I slept the best sleep last night than I have in many YEARS that did not involve wine. That’s major shit right there.

No snoring in my face. That alone is key. House noises are customary but can be annoying. So last night with the sounds of smooth jazz playing I took a snooze about 7. Then finally turned off the lights and tucked in for the night. Boy, what a time. It was grand. Woke up refreshed and ready for the day. Which largely involves me sitting at this desk or on the couch writing blogs, or reading a book. Maybe some coloring. A nap is definitely going to happen again. Just being present with MYSELF in this moment is huge. Now, it’s not like I’ve never been alone. I have my weekends at home where the man is at work and the girl (who is moving soon – praise be to the Lord in heaven) is out and about but the difference is – it’s at home. There is always something to do at home. Those of of that suffer from some form of “I can’t sit my ass still-itis cause there is always something to do” know what I mean. You sit to read, then your mind starts with “you know there is that load of laundry that you could wash”, or there is at least a fork and a glass in the sink you could wash those”, which then turns into a full kitchen clean. Things that don’t even require being done but you find yourself off the task of doing what you wanted to do because that’s what you do. Maybe it’s just me. I can own that. Hence why I am here.

I am okay with admitting that I need to be in a distraction free zone to get some things done. It’s okay. I recognize that sometimes its more about you have to separate yourself from the familiar to reset your focus. Not losing focus is key to success. No matter what your version of success is do not lose focus. Don’t let anyone steal your shine either. We all have naysayers that are quick to say no you can’t or why are you doing that or why wasn’t I invited. In the words of one Dr. Erica D. Gamble, PhD. “You can not dance every dance”. I got the tee shirt for that one (I made it but no matter). Everyone is not invited and should not be invited on your journey for self improvement, self awareness and your overall greatness. There are just some trips you must take alone, mental, spiritual or psychological. Be it a religious quest, one that involves the help of talk therapy, meds or yoga. Hell there are just some things you must do alone. Be okay with that. Again, cause here I sit. Spending money on a hotel room to sit in alone. Music, books, pastries (Holtman’s doughnuts in my kryptonite), snacks and wine. When I purchased this Ipad it was for the purpose of being able to be mobile and write (so I said) and yes it is so. Do you, be great, be alone with yourself. It’s okay because you were born alone and will thusly die that way. Live your best life ever and enjoy your own company. The power of one – Me. I am…all of that.

becoming…why did I wait!!!

I just read something that gives life to this blog.  It simply stated that “I ‘m  slowly becoming the person I should have been a long time ago”.  Well, duh!!  It resonated in my entire being.  Yes, here it is I’m almost 50 and I am just NOW where I should have been on so many levels.  Then I must admit that it may not have been time for me to have reached full butterfly potential just yet.   See, I’ve learned in this wonderful journey called life that sometimes, it’s just not time yet.

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Not time for you to realize the full potential of the greatness you posses. It’s always been there.  Some of us are just late to the greatness party or we get there too early and mess it up.  I hope this makes sense to you.  It makes all the sense in the world to me but I dance by a different beat.  Here’s what I know today.  I am _______________.  That blank has countless options for me and I am filling them ALL in.  The current mood is Free, Strong and Determined.  There are situations in our lives that we move past but still linger in the deep recesses of our minds.  They can hold you hostage if you let them, even subconsciously .  I have broken free. I am no longer (well every day is a new start) living in that mindset of being bound by things I can not change and have no control over.  I am free from the thoughts of what if as there is nothing I can do until, if or when it manifest.

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I have the strength of the warrior women of Wakanda (Black Panther), and the determination of an ant carrying up to 10 times it’s own body weight.  Yes, I may have dabbled in these things but now, I have BECOME.  As I move forward into the rest of what is to become my fabulous 50’s (I have started the celebrations way early) I know that I will evolve and grow to new heights and depths of my best self ever.  I have BECOME.

If you don’t fix yo face

Please hear me when I say this…Get your grown ass somewhere and SAT down!!!!!!!!   How in the Sam hell (whoever Sam is) are you going to be petty and child like because YOU made a decision and didn’t ask me first THEN decide to tell me of said decision and I don’t jump on your bandwagon.  Boy bye. I am a planner, I do not, do, like, tolerate or take to kindly to last minute plans.  I am not wired that way, and while I am all about change I am not all about change…at the last damn minute.   Now, if I have something going on that I intend to make you part of, it’s written on the BIG WHITE BOARD that sits on the side of the refrigerator.  You can’t help but see it.  We also have at least two to three conversations about it because I must live with the most forgetful man in the world.  So with that being said, I don’t consider anything last minute because I like to plan out weeks in advance for whatever.  Unless it’s something like hey let’s go get ice cream after work, or can we run to IKEA tomorrow…something simple.

Here is a perfect example of how a little effective communication will prevent a major cussing out.  So, again, I advise you (sounds better than tell) of an outing that we have on OUR social calendar (that is also on that dang whiteboard that NOBODY seems to flipping read) as well as have a pretty in depth conversation about said outing.  Cool. We have it all set and ready to go.  Sometime prior (Feb 19th to be exact) you send me a flyer about a guy retiring at your job.  Blank Stare.  That’s it.  No hey, Mr. so and so is retiring and since we share the same last name, I would like US to attend.  Nor a hey this dude is retiring and although you don’t know him but maybe we could go to the shindig and maybe grab a bite to eat afterwards.  No, none of that.  Matter of fact you kind of forgot about it.  What I can not or will not tolerate is you acting like a brat because you forgot about it and want to then kinda pout and throw in my face the fact that we just did something the night before with “my folks” (work or otherwise).  Now again mind you, other than you sending me a picture of the flyer you never mentioned it again.  Sunday is a prep day for me.  Pick out clothes for the week, yes the week, then whatever cleaning not done the day before, or simply to veg out.  Mental preparation for Monday is vital and may take all day.

At any rate what’s not going to happen is a last minute decision to attend a retirement party at 6 to end at 8 AND you want me to drive to your job, pick you up, then eat dinner?  Have you met me??????  Dude we ain’t doing that…NO SIR!  Maybe I’m too rigid on some things but I can’t deal with selfish babies (dressed as 50 something year old men).  Stop your whining and pouting and do better.  I started this post last week didn’t finish until today and again he does it AGAIN.  Sends a flyer with the words Mark it down.  Who the hell you talking to first of all.  Via text mind you, his only saving grace.  I typed back hold the presses.  You need to ask me if I got something going on…mind you it’s Monday and this thing is on Saturday…not last minute per say but yes I have plans for Saturday that I made weeks ago…so what it’s in the morning that is not the point.  Then I politely state that you can say hey I would like for US to go…why is this so freaking hard?  He regroups and ASKS me properly.  He thanked for me helping him with his approach with better communicating with me (I was going to light his ass up).  I know this seems to be going on forever, I am almost done.  This is my process of instead of being a raving lunatic bitch to my husband, I write it all out and then I can move past it.

Exhaling the bullshit…I feel better now.

…can we just call a spade a spade

Let us all be great. Let us all be grown up and let us all be responsible for what we say or do. As grown up men and women, but I’m mostly speaking to the women and only to the ones where the following scenario will apply. If it’s not your issue or your problem then I’m not speaking to you. For the other others of us that may be guilty of saying something shady or catty to another only to have that shit come back in an unlikely format, STOP IT!!! Why can’t we learn to be a confidante like we pretend to be. If I tell you something I should not have to say don’t tell nobody. Hell I came to you in confidence other wise I would have said it in a different format. There is never a time or place that it is okay for one grown man or woman to tell another grown man or woman something only for it to bite him or her in the ass. That. Is. Not. Cool. Damnit.

Now look, life is hard a damn nough just living day to day. We should not have to have a full blown blow up about shit that is said in confidence and by some small thing that transpired it seemed that one small thing is now magnified. Let’s not be that person. We are all entitled to our opinions and thoughts that does not make them right or correct. We all have something that we don’t like or agree with about someone else’s life or choices. Guess what? If they didn’t ask you, mind your damn business… I don’t agree with everything that folks say in real life or via social media but if these said people are not part of our daily real life they don’t even matter. When will we stop letting unnecessary people and situations dictate our lives? There are some people that thrive off of keeping up shit and causing drama for others because they don’t have shit else to do. Or they don’t realize their actions are detrimental in how they choose to conduct themselves. Either way stop it, right damn now. Let people be great, let them do them. If you don’t like it, so what. If what they say or do doesn’t effect your day to day goings on then keep your mouth shut and keep it moving. People are miserable and misery loves company…you don’t have to be that company. Rise above the silliness and pettiness that keeps shit stirring. Let us all be great even if it’s only in the little circle that we revolve in.

…thou shalt not

It is the Lenten season, and what are you giving up? I’ve tried it all. Sweets, candy, cracking my knuckles, cussing (that never worked), and various other things. This year however, I wanted to not give up anything but incorporate some things. Like reading more, writing more, meditating or learning to woosah. What I did decide was to give up my family. I have decided not to fuss, that means I won’t be talking to them about the matters that cause me to lose my shit. There are things that burn my biscuits like dishes in the sink. Not just dishes but if I’ve been gone from home for a weekend and come home and there’s a sink full of dishes that I didn’t use and you expect me to wash them. Oh hell to the naw. That will get you cussed out very fast. The lack of other people knowing how to (pretending) clean up after themselves. The bathroom is is huge source of my irritation because I don’t stand to piss, yet I’m the one cleaning the piss off the toilet bowl. No fuckers. Not doing it. Well I will but I’m not going to cuss anybody out about it cause at this point it don’t even matter. I realize that if I am going to clean it I shouldn’t be cussing folks about it because it don’t really change it or make it any better cause they only fall in line for a few minutes then it’s back to their old habits.

So I figured it would just be easier to stop giving fucks to things not richly deserving of them (read the book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck). Instead I will just see how things go. Thus far the sink is dish free and there are paper plates at the ready to be used. Mind you those are courtesy of the 25 year old who would rather not wash the dishes anyway although she did do the last full sink full. While doing said dishes she kindly let it be known that that was her last time.  Ok, use your paper plates suga. The man, well he just go with the flow. We will see how that turns out when his shoes go missing that he don’t put away or shit he can’t find cause he left it on the table too long and then I put it where I deemed it should be. Garbage, in his basket on the desk or hidden under the nightstand. Somewhere just to make a point. Put your shit away. I know I can’t be the only female or person for that matter that deals with this but I may be a little worse with the reaction because I don’t ask for a lot from these people. Clean your mess, wipe up spills or pee, clean the damn sink and tub. There are various cleaning products everywhere…use them please.

Thou shalt not get my energy. Thou shalt not have me committed for going off on you for the 999th time about putting your shit away. Thou shalt not steal my energy with things that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Thou shalt not make me lose my shit or give fucks that are not warranted. THOU SHALT NOT!!!!

The most precious gift of LIFE

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Listen to me folks. Do NOT TAKE LIFE FOR GRANTED. I know it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day and routines of your Monday through Friday life. Things come at you way to fast and you can get caught with your pants down and unprepared for what is about to come. Last year this time was rough. My husband contract a illness that attacked his blood. Folks he is still here today but knows how blessed he is to be alive here today. I too being with him the whole time during this 9 day stint in the hospital realize how things can escalate so fast. I learned a lot of new terms the most scary being rapid response…that means shit just got real. The swarm that invaded his room and the looks on their faces in no uncertain terms let me know that the seriousness of the current situation was not being taken lightly. Not even a little bit. Fast forward one year and we find ourselves back in the ER. Vasovagal syncope is now added to his list of health problems. Blood pressure can drop with current meds and drinking causes further drop and boom- down goes Frazier, or whatever his name might be.

So to deal with that and come through it made buying and wearing this shirt make sense for me. I am happy within myself first off. Happiness is an inside job folks. Hope that’s not news for any of you and if it is tap into that. Second, other sources of happiness are external and can and should cause great senses of joy and put a smile on your face. I love my husband despite the hell we have GONE THROUGH!!! For the gone though I can greatly appreciate the happiness of knowing that surely what doesn’t kill you (or if you don’t kill each other) will make you stronger. Through this strength you learn to love deeper and appreciate the moments of total bliss and those things that make you laugh. Love is what gives life meaning (Debbie Smith) and gives the wherewithal to endure those moments of uncertainty but allows you to go through it together.

Friends…the strangers we choose to be part of our lives

 I find this segment a necessary thing to do in my life at this moment. We all come to a time in our lives where we realize the things that are most important versus all the other shit we gave life to that so didn’t deserve it. The same goes for people. There are people that don’t deserve our energy, and we do ourselves a disservice by continuing to give it to them over and over again. This process is called insanity. I have decided that I no longer want to be insane when it comes to relationships. Women can be difficult creatures from time to time (I know, newsflash right) and because of that we can often cause rifts in our sister-ships and they can be damaged to the point of ill repair.

With that being said, I have decided that as I embark on my 50th year of life and my ever going quest to be the best me I can be (daily walk) I am implementing  a personal task.  Not a resolution as they fail for lack of effort or next year brings new resolutions.  This task is to not only better myself and my life, but to hopefully bring a little bit of betterment to my circle and slightly beyond.  I am having some one on one sister time with at least 12 ladies (at least 1 per month if it works) to spend some quality time, some eating, drinking, talking, laughing time.  My goal by December is to have built better relationships with these ladies and moving forward to continue to lift each other up, be support and love on each other.

I was compelled to start this task because I know how easy it is to drift away from people. How all of a sudden your conversations lessen, you don’t see each other anymore and then the chasm becomes so large and wide you just let it go.  I don’t want that anymore, especially if I can help it.  I like people, I like to craft. I love food and wine.  You can have all those things together in one place.  Mind-blown right?  Sometimes however you NEED to just pick one person at a time for face time as I call it.  Not for hours unless that’s what you want but some good ole, eye contact.  Some let me look at you and see you.  Ask some questions, but more importantly listen not with just your ears but your heart.

Life is hard enough, our relationships shouldn’t be and certainly don’t have to be.  We are supposed to be the thing we want to receive.  Love, warmth, compassion, a safe refuge, a friend.  You must first be a friend in order to make a friend because like energies connect.  Once those connections are made, the genuine ones, the ones that go through some things, fall outs, shouting matches (maybe) misunderstandings, and what I call the come back, now those are the ones to hold on too.

I will close with this.  I was once told that everybody you know is not your friend.  That has proven to be true time and time again.  You can’t be friends with everyone.  Life is not set up that way.  Being friendly is way different from being friends with.  While our lives are not our own you can’t give all of you away.  It’s important to keep some for yourself, and share that with those strangers that you are glad you met and now call friends.