A Letter to Myself. An Ode to Self-care.

 Dear Jamal,
First of all, calm down. What are you doing getting yourself all worked up about nothing? When things are out of your control, remember, they’re out of your control. Do your best in the moment to ground yourself, dig deep into self, and use that energy as fuel. If you don’t like something, change it. If a certain environment or group of people aren’t good for you, or helping you achieve your goals, cut them out!
You’re a stubborn Scorpio, so you think you have all the answers. There’s something you’re forgetting to do, though, in all this misery and darkness you’ve been hiding from the world… Take your own advice. MAKE A CHANGE. I mean, seriously, bro. What are you waiting for?! Be responsible in your decisions, of course, but you’re too young and full of inspiration to waste away in your current state. Go for it.
In the end, you have to remind yourself that you have a beyond supportive husband, family, and friends who would slay anyone who got in your way. Spend too much time pondering on the “what ifs” if you want, but you’ll only have yourself to blame if you stay here. You have a tendency to put others before yourself, but it is to your detriment most of the time.
You can’t be a man of the people if you’re not taking care of yourself. I charge you to make a change and to fight through these dark clouds you’ve been surfing. Look forward to brighter days, greater love, and more adventure than you can ever imagine. The time is now, Jamal. It’s your time.
With love,
Jamal
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Weekly Goals 7/16/18

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I’m not going to lie – it’s been tough getting back into a productive groove outside of the 9-to-5. I’ve started making simple goals to help keep me on track during the week.
 
This method has been helpful because it reminds me to slow down and maintains balance. I tend to take on too much at once, and if any of you are the same, you know the pressure that comes along with that.
 
We’re all our own worst enemies! Keeping a small, low-pressure list of goals keeps me feeling accomplished and reinforces purpose.
 
This tool helps build up the strength and momentum required to take on more during those really tough weeks.
 
So… What’s on your list this week? Let me know in the comments. Is this a tool you use in your weekly routine?

Reflect, Recharge, Repeat.

Work is just something we all have to do, and we’ve stopped fighting that fact. No one has to settle by any means, but it doesn’t have to feel like a death sentence. I’ve realized this recently whilst dealing with a mess of a scheduling issues and curveballs at the 9-to-5.

Before last week, I would come home in a drained state of mind. No activity sounded interesting and my drive to work on side projects suffered. S has always been better at managing this kind of energy. I’m so used to being upbeat that when any hint of darkness presents itself, it flourishes in no time at all. 

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I’ve been letting work consume my spirit. Good days fly by and the bad ones linger; why is that? Because in my mind there is always another version of the way a scenario could have played out. At the end of the day, if some customer is pissed or you aren’t seeing eye to eye with the boss, don’t bring that home. Who wants that under their roof? Keep the clouds outside.

I’ve been really into the following quote from RuPaul lately:

“Don’t take life too seriously and have fun. Don’t waste your time on things that your ego will try and convince you are important.”

Over the past handful of weeks I’ve dug deep into myself to work through this uncertainty. Uncertainty about whether to stay or go. Uncertainty about the person I’m morphing into in this role. Uncertainty about if I can do this and chase my dreams. Queen Uncertainty seemed to be stirring the pot and mixing a fierce trouble stew.

 

You’ve all heard me go on about work life and balancing life outside of the office. It’s taken some time – even after those previous posts – and self-reflection to really get to the bottom of that. When I come home now, I’m only focused on the positive. My focus and energy after 4:30 PM go toward my goals that need a little more nurturing, S, and our pup.

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It’s been nice not worrying about mediocre days at the office or dwelling on nonsense that I can’t truly impact in the moment. I’m in control and in the end, I know what’s next for me and that’s exciting. Banking this focus and energy has provided me the ability to laugh at a not-so-stellar day at work or elsewhere. Did I mention S thinks my moods at home have improved greatly? (laughs out loud)

So, everyone, “don’t waste your time on things that your ego will try and convince you are important.” Because wasted energy is wasted life. I know I do a great job at work, so I’m not going to sweat the little things. Passion haunts anything I’m a part of, including work, but I finally see how I need to manage that moving forward. This was a long one! Thanks for reading.

J.

A Deck of a Mess

Home ownership is the most frustrating thing at times. Our only goal today was to pressure wash our deck and clear it of old paint the weather had already begun to peel up. The plan was simple: Get to Home Depot right when the tool rental counter opened, pressure wash the deck, and return the washer with plenty of time to spare within our 4-hour rental window.

I don’t like housework that involves anything on the outside of the house. When it comes to the inside of the house and decor, it’ll always be on and poppin’, clean and sparklin’. Both our moods shifted when we realized this was going to take longer than we’d planned.

The plan never goes like it should, though. S and I of all people should know this with all the adventure we’ve had with our condo already. The tip we needed, for the spray nozzle,  to make the most progress removing the paint was broken. Not wanting to waste too much time, we immediately packed the washer up and returned to the store.

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We didn’t know the tip was the issue before the customer service rep tested our machine and the replacement in the store. Deep down we were thankful, because on the car ride over, we both thought “If something is wrong with our water pressure and this house, we will rage.” We ended returning home with our original rental and a new tip.

Sadly, the new tip made no difference in the rate at which the paint was coming off the deck. We imagined the paint would just fly off as the water made contact, but this was far from the case. S and I spent a good amount of time switching roles on the project. Scraping and spraying, we longed for larger pieces of paint to come up, but found we were barely making any progress. Our good friend, Google, ended up informing us that the machine we’d rented from Home Depot was only half the power required to execute a project like ours.

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This made sense. Why in the hell were we spending ten or more minutes spraying one spot, only to see a speck of paint chip off at a time? This couldn’t be right. We confirmed gas pressure washers were stronger, but were also instructed not to go that route because there’d be a high risk of damaging our deck. S called his dad and we’ll be borrowing his pressure washer next weekend. It’s the right amount of power, and our deck isn’t huge, so we should be able to get the work done in a decent amount of time.

Sigh… maybe we can hire some eye-candy to do this for us. Probably not, but a dude can wish, can’t he?

All Work. Hopefully Some Play.

I’m frustrated. Frustrated because most of my family lives outside of Indiana. Frustrated because my brother is coming to visit the first week of May, and I’m not sure if S will be able to get any time off. As a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) at a corporate establishment, it’s hard for S to get off during their month-end-close weeks – the last week of the month were all deadlines and balances are due. This visit was originally planned as a surprise and falls during the week of my brother’s birthday. Unfortunately, the first week of May happens to be one of these ridiculous weeks where S will probably be working late and won’t have much free time.

 

That’s the business I suppose. My corporate gig is much more lax and doesn’t run on any tight deadlines; making it much easier to say “Hey, I’m going to be out for a week. Cool? Thanks.” I know this isn’t anything S can control. He’s an extremely hard worker, and by the sounds of most post-work download moments at home, he’s always helping team members with their tasks and keeping productivity stay at a decent level.  

 

Sure, some notice before flights were purchased would have been nice, but it was a surprise. My brother had no idea until after the flights were scheduled. Blame is not what I’m looking to place. I’m more just hoping that S’s job can find a way to survive without him for a couple to a few days that week, or at least let him leave at a decent time since his brother-in-law is coming to visit from 3,800 miles away.

 

As soon as we found out my brother would be visiting, I thought “let your job know, if that’s your busy week, so they can plan for your absence, be flexible, or plan to step it up that week.” From what I understand about the accounting world, you can only plan so much and a lot of how smoothly the gig is executed depends on your team. Currently I’m a supervisor in corporate customer service, so sacrifice and hard work is something I know a thing or two about… Accounting versus Customer Service – they both have their pros and cons as they relate to each other. From a leadership point of view, I’m thinking “Why aren’t your other team members as good a S? Can no one dig as deep as he does, Monday through Friday, and get the job done?”

 

That’s the gift and curse of leadership – having to carry others, even when you don’t really want to at times, but then you’re reminded why you’re a leader – you know deep down why you’re a leader – with that amazing feeling of accomplishment.

 

In the end I’m more aggravated because S always deserves a break and rarely takes one for himself. If there was any way he could get at least two days off the week of the visit, I’d be happy, but we’ll have a great time no matter what ends up happening with his work schedule. I’m annoyed at the timing of things, BUT I’m beyond stoked to spend my brother’s twenty-eighth birthday with him. The last time my siblings and I were all together was Summer 2014. With sis now living just down the road in Bloomington, we’ll be sure to have a great week together.

 

Last night I received a text from one of our great family friends, asking/letting me know that he’d be joining my brother on this trip – he’s basically a brother to us. He’s coming up from Florida, so we’ll have visitors from opposite corners of the country! Schweeeeet.

 

End vent/ramble/whatever-this-post-was…

It’s Feeling Like Home Again.

Today wrapped the last day of the SECOND floodgate restoration. For those of you who haven’t been following along, this is the second year in a row that we’ve had to have our floors replaced.

Our floors had only been down for nine months before the second leak occurred – a couple weeks away from Christmas. Here we are at the middle of March and we finally have our zen space back.


The crew this time around was better than we could have hoped. It really only took a few months because of scheduling – waiting for the crew to wrap up prior commitments. Everything came together pretty quickly once they got started.

We’re taking the past two years in remodel mayhem as a sign to change things up. We’re in the process of rearranging the living room and I WILL have arts n’ things on the walls before my brother and his girlfriend come to visit in early May.

✌🏾

Vacay Decay

The first day back after a long week (and a day) off are so terribly slow and painful. On the struggle bus is but an understatement, let me tell you, because homeboy was dying at his desk on Tuesday of last week. Christmas fell on a Sunday, so around this time last year, I planned to have the week of Christmas 2016 to myself. I wasn’t worried about the time being gone because I’m generally smart with my time off at work and S always has extra time to spare.

The holidays are always a great time – largely in part to the amount of Crown Royal we consume. “Ho Ho Ho!” scream our livers. S’s dad definitely makes sure the bar is properly stocked when we’re down home. We’re never hurting in the wine and spirits department. The thing we were most looking forward to  was chilling at home with each other; to completely decompress.

We did a whole lot of nothing and it was absolutely fabulous. S played a lifetime’s worth of video games while I just zenned out with a plethora of self care treatments. Another huge plus of our time off was familiarizing ourselves with our new home deep fryer. We can’t say enough good things about how the fryer has stepped up our kitchen game.

2017 brings in the new grind. I’ve been drifting away from new year resolutions because there’s always so much I want to accomplish. S and I both vowed a couple years ago that working on our health, fitness, and overall well-being would always be a big focus. Your health shouldn’t have to be a resolution – I get it, I do –  but instead, a commitment that is lasting and honest.

I foresee pretty big changes on the job front for me this year. My freelance public relations projects are picking back up and I’ve been working on ideas to pitch for writing opportunities. S is doing really well at his job and can now breathe with his Master of Accounting degree being complete. There are still some late nights, but Reynold and I don’t mind too much. We understand.  

Eat Slay Love. We survived an extremely (and unpredictably) busy 2016 and we’re both entering 2017 a little sluggish; if we’re being truthful. Never fear, though! I think this is just part of being an adult. We enjoyed the hell out of our time off and time with each other, so sure, we’re wishing we could go back to that week (lol). So with that being said…

Goodnight. And don’t let the trap queens bite,

Return to The Leaky Cauldron

Well… S and I are back in The Leaky Cauldron. Yep, winter and plumbing has snatched our flooring away for the second Christmas in a row.Last Thursday I came home to find puddles forming as I walked across the dark bamboo flooring that was our living room floor. I was instantly furious and overwhelmed. These floors were just installed in February of this year.

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Thank goodness for insurance, but seriously? S and I process stress very differently. I tend to get so angry and full of rage that tears begin to fall freely as frustrated thoughts cross my mind. S shuts down and tends to be on the calmer side when things like this happen. My mind immediately painted everything red as I looked down to see the water soaking my sock. I’d JUST got home from work and this was the last thing I wanted to deal with.

 

I realize how lucky S and I are to have a roof over our heads – how lucky we are to even have a home to worry about in these situations – but we’re allowed to be angry. We’re allowed to be frustrated. This whole mess is just #tooSOON.

 

The day after I was more out of my feelings and could think straight about round two of no floors, a destroyed living room, and living mostly out of our bedroom. We’ve been in contact with our housing association, the emergency plumbers the evening of the leak discovery, and more plumbers sent over from our housing association. At least we still have full access to our kitchen this time…

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(Our living room, currently.)

In the end, we shouldn’t be responsible for any of the damage. We have four units in our row of condos and it’s been confirmed that three of the four units were having strange plumbing issues. The reason for the leak was due to the main sewer lines in housing complex clogging up. Our water heater floor draining system didn’t have anywhere to drain so it created its own relief. Our neighbors had water coming up in their showers and toilets, so clearly this can’t be a resident responsibility.

 

One of the gentleman who came by to check on our water heater and drain the main lines explained how there was feet upon feet of paper that was backed up inside the main sewer lines. Great. We’ll probably need to spend a few nights in the hotel so they can kill any rogue bacteria that the water brought into our home – this is coming from our restoration contractor.

 

We’re hoping the turn around is fairly quick this time, since we aren’t having the entire downstairs remodeled again. Thankfully it’s just the floor and the dining room and kitchen areas are safe. Things definitely could have been worse.

 

So sorry for my absence! Life just never stops, does it. Oh! This happened the night after S finished his master’s program in accounting – the first free night he’s had in a very long time. We’re looking forward to some chill, hopefully, in the near future.

Adulting: It’s the little things.

A couple weekends ago, S and I cleaned up the garage in hopes of using it on a regular basis.  The garages in our complex run on the smaller side – leaving only enough room to squeeze your car inside right in front of your washer/dryer – so Tanya should fit perfectly. 


When we first moved into the place, the garage was mainly used as storage and the garage door openers didn’t work. The washer and dryer are in there and we’ve always managed to keep things fairly organized. At the start of summer we’d hit organizing hard in this area, so getting my wheels parked inside was way easier than anticipated. 


When you stay as busy as S and I do, it can be difficult to find motivation to get into any project around the house. Thankfully, we’d done the bulk of the decluttering in the garage some months back, and now we can utilize the space just in time for the cold months. Betty the Bucket – my old car – had an autostart and Tanya doesn’t, so we’re pretty psyched about this (haha). 

What’s next on the list? Getting some pictures on the walls and more decorating inside. 

C r o s s r o a d s

The interstate was dark, empty, and had thrown me into deep state of reflection.  I watched the road as every marking flickered in and out of sight around the car, and wondered where I was going. It was just around 4:30am, and I’d just dropped off mom and sis at the airport for their flight back to Alaska.  Sadness resonated as the realization of their pending departure grew brighter in my mind.  I was grateful for their presence over the past eight days. Life had been testing me, as of late, and I needed reinforcements.   

I’ve been at a crossroads with my current professional situation. While I was on vacation, I found myself answering a small beacon of hope. This hope presented itself in the form of an interview. An interview in my dream position, a publicist, back in Bloomington. 

Over the past few months, I’ve been struggling with a decision regarding whether I would stay or leave my current position.  “If something is wrong, do your best to fix it” is a mantra I’ve kept at all of my places of employment. It’d been months of me stepping outside of myself, looking for some way to better my current situation, and found myself still wanting more – More from my employer and more from myself.

Everything about interviewing for the publicist position in Bloomington was great. Everything was flowing perfectly up until the end. The ending of that new possibility was purely unexpected. I sent in my resume and cover letter feeling extremely confident that I would get the job. It was with a very heavy heart, that I had to decide to not continue in the hiring process. It just didn’t feel right in the end. Not forever, just, not for now. 

So where was I going (besides back to our slightly-deflated air mattress)? The galaxylike view through my windshield continued to flash before me as I cruised down my lonely runway. Not getting that job was a possibility. So, now what? What are you going to do to make your current situation work? I allowed myself to feel a bit at ease, as I scrolled through the things I did have going for myself in Indianapolis. This doesn’t have to continue to be this bad. This can only be what I make it.