Platonic Soulmates: A Eulogy

On Christmas Eve, my roommate died. I’m going to let that sentence hang in the air, despite the shock of it. I didn’t use the phrase “passed away,” because I prefer transition, but also, the two of us liked to call things by what they were. In that energy, why don’t we talk about platonic soulmates more? No, I’m not just being all new agey… which I am proudly, but it’s true. I’ve thought about this long and hard, and people dying in the time of Corona don’t get funerals. Since I’m immunocompromised and we live in a hot bed of ignorance – known as Florida – our high cases made it nearly impossible for me to see him. For the last four months before his death, I’d been adjusting to living solo, with the hope that he would survive a six organ transplant as soon as he was healthy enough to be on the list. This may seem like a tall order, but he’d lived 10 years with no intestines, getting all of his nutrition from a port in his chest. He ate for fun, though. You know what…this has given you the wrong impression of my roomie. Let me show you what made him my soulmate before you paint this dreary picture of a 46 year old guy with a bag where intestines should be. That’s a true physical description, but hear me out.

  • I’m a foodie. Sean was a foodie. Although he got zero nutrition from food, we went on great food adventures. Before we were roommates, we would hit up a new place to eat every week, It slid to about once a month once we lived together, but majority of the food on our pantry shelves were his. He got bored quickly, and he could only eat about once a day. I’m donating a ton of things to homeless shelters. On the other hand, he introduced me to amazing restaraunts and cuisines.
  • I’m positive there is no conversation we didn’t have. Literally, we talked about everything without judgement. Most of it revolved around our plan to inject the world with positive change and conspiracy theories. Let’s be honest, you can’t do too much good without raising a few powerful eyebrows. That didn’t stop us from trying. I’m still trying.
  • He never fussed that I didn’t wash the dishes until there was a full load in the sink. That’s a huge point in the soulmate category for me. Don’t worry, they didn’t smell.
  • Due to our compromised immune systems, we were in a heavier lockdown than the average bear. No one was allowed in our home, we only met others in parks, and we got out to the wild outdoors often…and usually together. How was it possible that we never got tired of each other? We worked from home, lived at home and went out together. Somehow, we still managed to have things to talk about until 3am.
  • We grew spiritually together during the pandemic. Yes, we were those people who used the pandemic to go inward and work on ourselves. No, I don’t do any drugs. lol. But we grew a lot. We found a peace that didn’t depend on the things people were complaining about. With everything going on outside of our home – add that to our conversation pile – there was a way we made our home a sanctuary, even when we needed to escape to the quiet side of the beach, a park or a trail.
  • He made it ok for me to simultaneously feel like a failure for not desiring to date, all the while being polyamorous. He supported my healing from a relationship with unhealthy communication and traits and participated in the worst idea we ever had. That was speed dating. We thought it would be great to speed date. It was horrible, but we went together. We also quit together; with a vow to never do it again.
  • There were times we didn’t see each other for days, since I’m a room person and he was a living room person. Plus, we had completely different schedules. When he was going to bed at 3am, I was waking up for yoga. We both thought it was comforting that our home was watched 24 hours a day.
  • We adopted random stray lizards and geckos that found their way into our home during the summer and fall. We named them and everything. I finally revealed to him that I’d been sheltering spiders and lizards for a year or so. We removed quite a bit of corpses.
  • He understood and shared many of my pet peeves. Even the weird ones you swear no one else will understand. Part of that revolved around our shared distaste of being medically disadvantaged due to faulty genetics in a country that doesn’t value their people. It was supposed to be an entire podcast called Coffee and Cream.
  • I think the most important thing he did for me was make my transition from marriage to single. I told him about it over my first bowl of pho, and the guy who hadn’t lived with someone in almost 10 years says, “My lease is up. We should be roommates. I’ll find a place.” I’d only know him for 9 months at that time, but he did all of the work apartment hunting and sent me photos. I won’t discuss why I needed to get out of my marriage home asap, but I will say, because of Sean, it was a seamless transition. At no point did I feel like I was unsafe. Two years later, I see this turning point in my life as a death and transformation that has been one of the best decisions of my life.

All of this to say, well, this is why I asked the close members of my tribe to send him love and light as he transitioned. His stepmom and I were his medical surrogates, but she did the heavy lifting. It’s weird, because it’s not sad, to have to send his pantry items to a homeless shelter and all of his medical supplies to a free clinic for the homeless as well. I think it’s because those conversations consisted of him telling me how much love he felt when he died on the table a decade ago. He also said he was forgetting that feeling, the more negative the world had become. With the pain and complications, he was ready. Things he couldn’t admit to others, since they would see him as less brave, or not see/hear him at all, he only told me. This time every year, we would drive around, looking at Christmas lights. He became depressed, and this was something he did with his mom before her passing. I was unaware that she passed, from the same disease he had, on a Christmas Eve. Her parents also passed the week of Christmas Eve. His great-grandmother also passed on Christmas Eve. He didn’t pass, though; he transitioned. Oddly enough, I hear “Mama, I’m Coming Home,” by Ozzy Osbourne when I think of him dying. He was a musician, and that was his genre. It’s not a Christmas song, but it’s a pretty perfect Christmas Eve song.

In loving memory of Robert “Sean” White 07/08/1974 – 12/24/2020

Old Things with New Eyes

I don’t know about you, but quarantine has me reflecting on life and replaying conversations and situations I didn’t understand when I was younger. The one that shocked me the most happened when I was in high school. I had a crush on a guy in my crew. The entire crew was laying on a trampoline, talking, joking and thinking about what we would do after high school. I remember being close to him, and I’d gotten wind that he had a crush on me as well. I’ve always been bold, so I scooted a little closer. I then asked, “Are you affectionate?” He paused. I thought he was thinking it through. Then he asked, “what does affectionate mean?”

With my child mind, I didn’t understand that he truly had no idea what affection was. The word, the concept, the feeling was something as foreign as me not comprehending anyone could just not know what affection was. I come from a family where I thought there was a rule in my house that you gave everyone a hug when you went to a new room. I told my friends that was a rule, so they hugged my mom whenever we went to my room or headed out. They tell me it wasn’t a rule, but I’m pretty sure it was. My friends also told my family they loved them, but they never told their family. I didn’t realize my household was so different. No, my child mind saw rejection and red flags. I stated. “I can’t date someone who doesn’t know what affection is.”

Looking back, I see the cruelty in this situation. I didn’t then. Was it my duty to be the first person to explain, show and teach him what it meant to be affectionate? Simple things, like hand holding, hugging and verbally expressing emotions was second nature to me and alien to him. This revelation hit me 18 years too late. I won’t divulge information about his family and why affection was unknown to him, or what became of his life, but my mind keeps coming back to that moment. I don’t know why. I think it may be a way to remind me to look at things from within the person’s fullness and not just that moment. Why is a concept foreign? How does that affect/distort their perception? Is it my responsibility to teach, compromise or understand, or am I entitled to the same fullness? How much of a burden can be claimed as an explanation vs. used as an excuse? I don’t know the answer to these things, but they are surely weighing on me.

The Meanings of “My” I love Yous

I love you to my parents: I love how you continually invest in me, sit with me and help me on this journey of life. We both know you will check on me an ungodly amount of times, and despite how frustrated this will make me as I explore the fullness of my adulthood, I’m grateful and honored to know that I have people who care for me. Thank you for allowing me to be a blurry image of you, tweaking the picture to be authentically me. I appreciate you accepting that person at every step of the journey. I extend the same sentiments to you – always. No one will cheer harder for you and push you to reach your ever growing potential than me.

I love you to my siblings: I am here when you need me, but I give you the room to grow and be whole. I don’t infringe on your life’s journey, and whether you need to go deep, emotional or just a laugh, I’m always available. What happens between us stays between us. I will never judge you, speak to you in anger or belittle the decisions you are making behind your back, if I can explain why to you in person, and with respectful insight. I am in your corner as long as your intentions are never malice – filled. I am your biggest fan.

I love you to my best friends: Through this crazy ride, we know we can count on each other. We may go months or years apart, but we both know there has not been a misstep in our bond. Your secrets are mine to hold, but never mine to tell. There is no limit to what we can share with each other, and we know there is no judgement. I will never operate from a place of jealousy. I will rejoice with you and hold you – figuratively or literally – when you need to cry or purge.

I love you to my ex partners: I’m grateful for all that we shared, and although it didn’t work romantically, I still respect all that you are and all that we shared. I wish you nothing but joy and happiness, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the fullness of my life. I would never wish for any negativity to come your way. No matter what happens between us, you know how to reach me. Even when I call you out on your bs, it is only to make sure you don’t self sabatoge and never to disrespect.

I love you to my family: I’m always here for you. It may seem like I’m distant, but when I’m present, I’m present. I meet you where you are in life, regardless of where I am. I will always tell you the truth, and operate from a place of positivity with your best interest at heart. Trust and believe, the relationship I’m forging with you throughout life will be our unique bond. That’s family.

I love you to my partners: What I have with you is specifically built to our bond. I am never comparing it to anyone else or anything else. I’m allowing what we share to be something that only we understand. As we grow in our authenticity, so will the way we express each other’s worth and value. I am independently coexisting with you on purpose. Our souls chose one another. For whatever the reason, the season and the experiences, I’m all in. Afterward, whether you become friend or family, you have not lost my respect nor my affection. It has merely been transferred.

I love you to my students: The way we allow each other to grow in the small amount of time we have together is more powerful than anything I’ve had the pleasure to lead. I value your contribution to the learning environment and my life. From day one until you’ve reached every dream, you will always have a cheerleader ready to write whatever letter, speech or fill out any questionnaire that expresses the beauty of your educational journey. You are the children I’ll never have and the pieces of myself I’m still developing. Thank you for choosing me to teach you and even trusting me a second time around – in some cases. I am forever changed because of you.

I love you to random strangers and animals: I see your potential and beauty. Although I may not be in your life for long, I send love, light and positivity your way. Thank you for the pieces of your energy you’ve shared with me.

How We are Taught Value

I’ve been doing what most people are doing during quarantine: getting really deep and philosophical as I heal and realize aspects of myself I never knew I had. That came out really wordy, but it’s exactly how I meant it. One of the things I’ve been considering is how we value ourselves as individuals, and what that looks like nationally and personally or professionally.

For example, there are people protesting to go back to work. They are protesting for things to “get back to normal.” Instead of protesting their government – nay, our governemt – do better with providing its individual citizens with the resources necessary to safely stay inside, they are protesting to go back into a pandemic which has infected over a million people and killed over 60k. We are so use to being devalued as a citizen of this country, that we aren’t demanding better conditions, since the old way over crowded and depleted our healthcare system in less than a month. It did the same to people who are/were living paycheck to paycheck. When the money was dolled out, our government said, “Yeah, this one time check of $1200 will be enough for everyone, but the corporations – yes, the people who make billions and have accountants and so much cash flow – need more bailout money than the individual citizens and the medical/research institutions since they are going under after 2 weeks. So, let me get this straight, these companies weren’t saving for a rainy day and didn’t plan properly, yet you expected the everyday person to survive what is now 2 months on less than the amount it takes to pay for their dwelling monthly? And instead of the people protesting for better, they are protesting to have the opportunity to increase the death rate of the pandemic, because they need to make money. Our government has convinced us that we are only as good as the dollar we make, and to demand better from them is asking for a handout. Yet, a senator stated that $172k wasn’t a big enough salary for him to live off, while another said that $1200 should last us for 10 weeks. We – the tax payers – paid for both of those things. We are paying people to devalue us to the point of protesting to be devalued… What?!

After thinking about the toxicity of the relationship Americans have with our government, I asked myself was I seeing this as a mirror to my life? And if yes, in what ways? I’m an adjunct professor. I am very skilled at creating equitable, engaging curriculum for a diverse population. Some of these tools I brought with me when I first started my job as an English professor and other practices I learned through over 170 hours of professional development (PD) courses. I teach 4 classes in both the fall and spring; where I hold office hours, grade papers, collaborate with other professors, maintain at least 40 PD hours a year, work with committees and hold certifications in a few campus programs, all for the whopping pay of $2k per class taught. That’s right, I make less than $20k a year, with a bachelors in Molecular/Microbiology and a masters in English and Creative Writing. Now, most of my classes range from 15-25 students, so imagine the papers I grade. We don’t have any medical, vision or dental benefits, no paid time off unless it is a last minute emergency, and we are all realizing that the money taken out of our check goes into a retirement fund, but we aren’t paying anything towards social security. That means, when adjuncts get to the age to collect their social security, they don’t have any. Some of the professors have been with the college for 20-40 years.

The obvious question is: Why don’t we pick up more classes or work summers? That’s a great question. This seems like a great opportunity to almost make $30k, which is what I made as a receptionist at a dentist office I use to work for. Well, we either don’t get assigned classes, or, we do, they get filled, and then a full time professor gets it. Now, you have professors who either teach at multiple colleges or – like me – and tutor part time. To recap, there are 100 students per semester per professor, where this professor has created their entire class and syllabus from scratch, with office hours, with the expectations of getting another job at another educational institution doing the same thing in order to make less than $30k. Over half of the faculty work within these stipulations. Picking up 5 classes instead of 4 would raise my earning potential. That’s what a full-time workload is.

The next question: Why don’t you unionize? We’ve been trying since the 4 years I’ve been working there. On top of that, we worry that our union affiliation will negatively effect our contracted classes. This pandemic has changed the game further, because we also had to transition our courses online within a week, with no additional pay. Some professors are being told that if they don’t get their certificates to teach online, they won’t be offered classes in the fall. The college offers a lot of great things. Please don’t misunderstand me. It is those things that keeps most of us there. It is focused on holistic teaching, which, if you can find the time to take PD courses after working multiple jobs and creating learning environments for all of your students to thrive, it teaches you techniques to integrate into your pedagogy. There are a ton of services available for students as well. Yet, the people hired to mold the minds and enrich the lives of these students are living in poverty. I devalue myself so much professionally, that I agreed to this. I am no better than the person begging to have the opportunity to die, while living paycheck to paycheck, if it means I’ll be respected more. Or, at least, I’ll get to do what I love, knowing I touched the lives of the ones I share my learning communities with. And like our government, the college makes us feel like we are asking for a handout by demanding more.

As someone who makes it their goal to create a supportive community in every classroom I step foot in, I wonder what it would feel like if my college supported me as much as my learning communities supported each other. This semester alone, I had the opportunity to watch my students perform plays in quarantine. I was an extra in one of my student’s films, where two more of my students he met in class were also in. I had the opportunity to do a raffle to Uber Eats a couple of senior dual enrollment students dinner since they don’t get to do a traditional graduation celebration. I write letters for scholarships and colleges. I watched a student work their way up from an “F” to a “B” in 4 hours and 15 minutes, because grades were due at 7am, and she was just now getting comfortable asking for help. I sent out videos, to all of my classes, telling them thank you for taking on this heroic task of online learning in an interactive classroom which required them to sign up in groups for our Zoom chats. So yeah, that meant up to 6 meetings a day sometimes, but it made them feel seen, connected, heard and like we were in class again. For the first time in all of my teaching, I had a complete class, from Day 1 until the end, where every single student passed with a “C” or better. 60% of those students I had in 1101, and this was an 1102 class, but to know they trusted my teaching to comeback, ride with me through corona, create great literature of every genre, and the entire class pass… that’s huge. I did a raffle for them as well. They sent me a video which I saw and emailed them back saying that someone came in my room chopping onions. All of this is the reason I love what I do. But what would it look like if my college supported me the way my communities support each other? What does it mean, in this day and age of capitalism, to be valued? Why don’t we think we deserve it?

Self Talk

In my career, I get to interact with people in a very intimate way. Students open up to me in ways their families have never expereince, and one thing I’ve noticed, is that as a species, we don’t speak to ourselves well. Last week alone, I had to tell several students that the way they speak to themselves determines the way they feel about themselves. It surprised me though, because they admitted that if anyone ever spoke to them in the same manner their inner voice does, they would be all over that person like white on rice. Then why is it ok for you to disrespect you?

It boiled down to the fact that they’d been doing it so long, it’s just the way it is. Now, I’m real with myself. I hype me up everyday. If there is ever a time when I participate in negative self speak, I have to say three things to undo what I did. For instance, let’s say I hate my arms that day. They were fine yesterday, and they were the same exact arms. But today… I hate them? Yes, it’s mad. So, I find two things about my looks I love, and one thing not about my looks that I love. I’m trying to stay in a space where I’m always enough, but balance that out with not needing to always be pleasing to the eye. On the flip side, if I do something outside of my character that makes me an ugly person spiritually, or I haven’t been listening to my body, then I call myself out. I do it in a way that is playful, but honest. It usually starts with, “This hoe… you really out here speaking down to another queen in your head? And although you didn’t say anything, you know your face doesn’t lie! This is not who you are.” Or, my favorite: “Do better sis! We are better than this!” Don’t even get me started on the side eye I give myself. That’s as negative as I get. Me saying “hoe” is never about my assumed sexual history. It’s a joke on the fact that I don’t curse, but I say hoe, so certain parents thought I was so unholy. It’s me calling out the rebel inside.

If no one hypes you like you hype you, then who can ever talk down to you in a manner that holds any power. Let them speak until they are blue in the face, and you’ll still walk away knowing you’re enough. Be enough. Speak how enough you are all day, everyday; especially when you find yourself seeking validation from the outside. The more you rely on the crowd to define your value, the more power they have if they decide you have none.

Reflections

No matter where I am, there is always someone who mistakes me for someone else, or asks if I’m a part of their culture. I have a network of island friends from when I was a part of the Jamiacan-American Association who still suspect I have roots in the islands. Aside from being a part of the same African diaspora, I do not. Depending on how I’m dressed, how my hair is styled, where I’m at, or what I’m doing, every group sees a bit of me in them. To me, that’s cool, but, maybe not for what people think.

No, I don’t give in to the ” you look ‘exotic'” backhanded compliment. That’s not what draws me in. I see beauty in the fact that every group can look at me, and find something that feels familiar to them. I use that to my advantage as much as possible. It could be because my family is so diverse, and I want to make sure I represent them. By everyone being able to relate to me, or see pieces of theirself in me, I do feel more like a global citizen. In a time where our daily lives are based on separating us at every turn, it’s great to be a mirror rather than a brick wall. Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays!

The Year in 5 Minutes

My life consists of one “See what had happened was” moment after another. 2019 was definitely filled with that. I’ve even managed to end with one of those moments. From adjusting to being single again, worrying over insurance since there was a brain cancer scare, and MS scare, only to find out it was shingles of the trigeminal nerve, to finalizing my divorce and then finally, getting hit in the eye with a foul ball while catching without gear, which broke my lower orbital floor in two places – compromising 75% of it. Yes, all of this happened in one year. If this isn’t a series of “see what had happened was,” then I don’t know what is. Honestly, I can’t say I hated it. Quite the opposite.

My family did our holiday picture tradition this year. The photographer was a friend I met my first year in college. He and his wife happened to move to the same town as my parents. Although he is an engineer, photography is his passion, so when my family spoke of photots, I had to ask him. It was memorable in all of the best ways, sharing that time with my family and a college friend. There was this moment where I jokingly said I wanted to take photos for my dating profile, because of the limited investment dating I was supposed to start during the holiday break. Between the photographer and my crazy family, a few pictures were spawned. Looking back, I giggle like a school girl at the memory. The cheerleader pose was my aunt and my cousin’s girlfriend choice. The photographer chose the main picture and the shirt smolder.

I absolutely love the pictures, but I have no desire to put them on dating profiles. Not at all. It took me a while to realize this, but I don’t actually have the desire to date right now. I’ve been in a serious relationship for majority of my life since I was 15. I need a break from bonded energy in order to fine tune and learn my own. With all of the insanity of this year, I was able to do it alone – well with my tribe – without a partner. I loved it. Perhaps I’ve loved it too much. Yes, I worry about being trapped in my own world to the point that I don’t want to pair with anyone, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. Ultimately, I’ve come to realize that I will need to find someone(s) I can coexist independently with. Those who are their own people, confidently self starters and finishers, solid in their souls and comfortable in their bodies, with a trust in their love they keep in balance with their emotion. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ve always been this person who needed these things, but I never knew it. Even if I sensed it, I understood the people I was dating wasn’t that. They knew it too. I’m beginning to realize that’s why I’ve always felt so slippery to them. I can’t accurately say whether or not I was truly slippery or that I outwardly showed signs, but I now know, without a shadow of a doubt, they felt the hook slip away as the line loosened. I thought I was jumping into the boat. They thought I was swimming away.

A special thanks to mbrfotos.com for the phenomenal photos and session.

Exploring Boundaries: What are those?

There is this new awareness of boundaries that seem to be the topic everywhere I go. I’m not sure if people – in general – are talking about them more, or if now that I know about them, I’m hearing them everywhere. I’m amazed at how I’ve navigated through life this far without boundaries being something as intentional as how I spend/share my emotions. I’m seriously rethinking on so many situations, and how they would have been different had I set clear boundaries.

I know many people will say that boundaries is a buzz word millenials are using to justify how horrible they are at relationships or communications. Honestly, I needed them before this moment. I think, in my head, I assumed that my expectations of life and love were the same as everyone elses. That is the most faulty thinking available. Not understanding backgrounds and boundaries has put me into situations that I probably should have never been in, repeatedly. Knowing that, how did it still take me so long to stumble upn establishing said limitations? If I’m telling the full truth, I’m still strugging with defining and maintaining boundaries in certain situations. Why?

  • Whenever boundaries are new, it feels foreign to go back and redefine expectations for relationships you’ve had for a long period of time. How does one share these new boundaries? How do you do it without ruining the relationship or severly altering the dynamic to the point where it is extremely awkward? How do you let that person know that they haven’t really done anything wrong, because there was no guideline on what you expected, but this is going to set the bar for interactions going forward? If they have disrespected you, how do you point out the example without throwing blame, because as stated before, there were no set boundaries.
  • When it comes to starting new relationships with boundaries in place, it feels like I’m being demanding by telling someone upfront my hard limits. I understand that there is a way of doing this so it doesn’t sound demaning or snobbish, but I’ve been programmed to be adaptable, that stating rules upfront seems very rigid. However, if I’m unwilling to set clear and defined boundaries, then I’m setting the relationship up for failure for at least one of us. That means, I have to be ok with people not having the pleasure of exchanging energy with me on a regular basis, because they can’t respect my boundaries. I see the obvious positive aspects of this, but I can’t help but wonder if I’m limiting the season and role I am supposed to play in someone’s life and vice versa. Perhaps the lack of respect to my expectations is all the lesson they are supposed to give.
  • In order for boundaries and expectations to be truly set, that means that one must sit and consider every possible relationship dynamic in order to outline what is and isn’t acceptable. Things that get a pass for associates will not be ok for friends or family and vice versa. But as associates become frineds and friends feel more like family, do we have a conversation about new boundaries and expectations as they have leveled up into a new category? As casual dating becomes a titled situation, does the boundaries change, or am I giving them the same limitations and expectations from day one?

The intricacies of this concept are never ending. I’m both intrigued and overwhelmed by the work I have to do. As with all stages of self awareness, now that I know better, I must do better. In retrospect, so much heartache, hurt and feelings of inadequacies could have been avoided if I would have just set boundaries and expectations for what I would, wouldn’t, couldn’t and absolutely never imagined in my past interactions. I recently told my partner (not a primary) and my father that with the break from school coming up, I’m ready to open myself up to a limited emotional investment. That simply means I am open in forming an emotional bond, but I am not open to allowing an emotional vampire occupy all of my time. I am also not open to being the sole provider of this person’s self-worth, and they have to understand the dynamics of me being poly, without them feeling jealous or controling. Those are things I’ve learned the hard way, are boundaries I can’t bend on. It’s a process, but I’m learning how to require these things without feeling the need to demand them. If I have to demand them, it means they are already trying to disrespect and test the boundaries. There is no need for us to get to that point. These are basic requirements. But about those established relationships… truly, a work in progress.

Empath Problems

I don’t know if it’s the Halloween in the air, the magic of it or the fact that it was my Grandmother’s birthday and the birth of my new cousin at 8:46 this morning, but man, there is something going on. I have been really great at distinguishing my emotions from the ones around me. As an empath, that’s a skill I had to master at an early age. But yesterday… I have no words to explain yesterday. Let me set up the scene. Please be my diary for the next few minutes.

So, in class, my students and I did a controversial exercise which made them uncomfortable in the beginning, but soon became something fun. I’m sure they never expected English class to be quite that way. Which again, is the way I want them to feel after every class meeting. Because of all of the energy I give to 4 classes a day, I’m usually extremely drained. My first class is at 7am and I’m done by 4. Between two campuses and about 100 students – and then I usually have a client afterwards – I’m a zombie. I’ve been really trying to find better ways to sustain my energy. A B-Complex vitamin works a little, but I can’t deny the spiritual aspect of giving so much of me to so many people. I’m very interactive with my class, and I wouldn’t change that. Obviously, crystal work is in my future. I apologize about the tangent, but that leads me to the next step.

Early yesterday morning, I received a message from someone with the most nervous energy I’ve ever experienced. I never realized how exhausting the energy was until I was no longer around it. I hate the way it feels now. They sent me several message before 7am. We went back and forth, and they revealed that they were dating someone jealous. The root of jealousy is insecurity. Let’s call it what it is. Although I’m not someone who can process that particular emotion – fatal flaw of many relationships of mine – I understand where it stems from. So, I go through my entire day, charged, yet exhausted, from the interaction with my classes, and I’m resting before making plans to hang out with my partner. Like a ton of bricks, I’m hit with an intense sense of insecurity and nervous energy. I just start crying, and I can’t shake the feeling of being ugly and not feminine enough. These are things I simply haven’t worried about…well, in about 15 years. Which is why it almost terrified me. On top of that, I immediately feel the desire to quelch the emotions with raw, primal intimacy. That may sound great, but it’s the start of a vicious and unhealthy cycle. I told my partner what was going on, and that I didn’t want to spread that energy to them, so I stayed home in order to get to the bottom of the feeling. I look at my clock, and I realize it’s the time when the energy of the person who texted me was probably meeting up with the person they’re dating. I was still attached to their energy from earlier, and tapping into their combined energy. What in the world? I’m good, but I’ve never been that powerful. I want it, don’t get me wrong, however, I wasn’t trained, practiced or ready to handle those emotions. I only realized what was going on after talking out what I was feeling with my partner.

After reflecting on the experience, I’m not a fan of the feeling at all. I don’t understand how people go their entire lives on edge and assuming everything about them is somehow inadequate. I  had to work through it and rationalize it, but ultimately, it wasn’t a part of me. I was well aware of the fact that it wasn’t my truth. I have no advice for the people who this is their truth. I can’t even pretend that one day of turmoil gives me the right to even propose an answer. Being aware of it and talking about it helped me understand what I was experiencing, but it probaly wouldn’t have fixed my mindset if those feelings were my everyday. The amount of support necessary for that, and the amount of work one must do on themself seems like it would be a lot. That seems exhausting. As I’m sure I have students who go through this, now, I understand why I need to do a better job of protecting my energy. Dumping this from class to class or person to person, with trails being deposited on me isn’t healthy. I have to do better.

Feminism and Men

Calm down, this is not a bashing session. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. This session is about offering men the same respect feminism offers women. After speaking with women of a variety of backgrounds, one of the hardest things for them to understand is why a smart, educated, driven woman has chosen to be a stay at home mom, or why a woman has given up family for career or… the intersectionality continues. After the conversation of feminism simply meaning we see value in women and support each other even when we don’t agree with their course because of the many people who fought for them to (well choose life according to your perspective of what they should be doing) be who and what they want, it changes our views of sisterhood. It allows us to forgive ourselves in some of the decisions e make that may seem “selfish” as well. But what about our male counterparts?

How much value do we place in a stay at home husband? Father? How much value do we place on the man who is a forever student, working beneath his perceived potential, with no kids at the “prime baby making age,” or the man completely comfortable with his partner making significantly more than him? How do we feel about that? Why can’t men hold valuable positions in the home and it still be completely accepted and respected? I know plenty of men who would kill it as stay at home husbands and fathers way better than they do at breadwinning. Like the argument for women following this path, they would save tons in daycare, the child would have an amazing relationship with him and feel supported in all they do. Having someone hold down the fort at home would make it easier on the couple where the other breadwinner could comfortably support the home. I’m unclear as to why this position is looked down upon. Are we not interested in creating balanced individuals that don’t adhere to outdated rules of toxic masculinity? If so, then feminists, male and female, we can’t uphold antiquated ideas of the men in the home.