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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Level With Me

Maybe it’s because I had a long day, but I’m not in the most positive of spirits. I get in these ruts where everything seems to stack and stack and stack up to catastrophic heights, all while floating through the day as if all is well. The stacks never fall.

Deep down I need a change. I know a large part of that is professionally speaking. I don’t like that work energy is so easily brought home. I care too much (most of the time) to fully disengage my brain from the 8am-8pm coverage windows I have to monitor.

I get this from my mother – I am most certain of this fact. We are doers, you see. Helping anyone who needs it and bending over backwards if need be. But what happens when we need a break? Does anyone notice? The answer to that question seems to be a blatant “no” at the moment.

My kitchen confronts me daily with dishes I’ve left undone from the previous night; sometimes two nights. Nothing major but enough to make my skin crawl with annoyance.

I love my dog, but there are times I wish I wasn’t so hands-on with him. He’s my shadow and comes to me for everything – even if S is doing absolutely nothing. It can be overwhelming at times. Just call me super mom.

I was taking my sister and nephew home tonight when I had a concealed panic attack behind the wheel. Driving is something I absolutely hate and I’m not really sure why. I’d just missed our exit and I was surrounded by assholes and semi-trucks.

I don’t think she noticed but I immediately went into a breathing exercise for relaxation and mindfulness. To distract myself, I had to focus on my breathing and veer away from questions about her day. We could catch up later. My only focus was getting the two of them home safely so I could scream in my car and turn the music WAY up.

I feel as though being nice is turning me into an asshole. Does that make sense? I reach a point of “no more” in multiple areas of my life and a shift happens almost too easily for me… and not for the better. I suppose my team could use a more strict environment, but I don’t have go full vicious on anyone.

(This is the part where I read you the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.)

I got home safe after battling the bright lights and over-sized trucks of the interstate. I could finally sit down, vent and release the weight of the day, and make sure my attitude wasn’t crashing into anyone’s world but mine.

Cleaning always helps me chill the fuck out. S has a holiday party tomorrow – spouses aren’t invited – so that’ll be a good chance to reel in my crazy. I also have a feeling that tomorrow’s morning workout will be a great one…

I’m going to sleep now. Goodnight, everyone.

30

A great work friend of mine asked me if I had any anxiety about turning thirty. The answer is no. I’ve always been okay with aging – look forward to it most of the time – but I’m sure there will be moments when I’m not. Today is my thirtieth birthday.

I see making it to thirty as a cue to begin the next phase of my evolution. My student loans are almost completely gone – my closest friends know how much of a nightmare that has been over the years – I have a solid life and marriage with S, my work life and creative projects are going extremely well, and my closet is growing into the GQ dream I’ve always wanted.

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I foresee a good amount of travel for S and I. We’ve earned some vacations beyond just a week off at home. Through my twenties I’ve learned a great deal about finances. Because we’ve been so smart and plan realistically, I know travel around the world is something we could easily do; sooner rather than later and before kids enter the picture.  

<ponder> We never did have a reception for our marriage and plan on having a big anniversary party at this point. I will have a french bulldog, named Biscuit Habanero. I will find a way to become my own boss and escape the corporate world, but in the meantime, I’ll gladly collect the experience. I will add a Burberry blanket to my list of favorite personal items and brew my own kombucha. </ponder>

All of those facts, wants, and wishes? I believe them to be possible because I’ve grown into someone who puts in the work and gets what they want. Earlier this week, I was journaling in my notes app when this life breakdown came to mind:

  • I always did really well in school – K through 12, taking advanced placement classes early in high school and performing with an award-winning band (shoutout to BARTLETT HIGH SCHOOL!)
  • In college I realized I didn’t know how to study and began to learn – the hard way – about hardship and the struggle to pay out-of-state tuition for college. I also made some of the best friends I could ever ask for and traveled with some of the best groups and people I share the honor of being called an Indiana University Alumni with.
  • Living a low-carb, ketogenic lifestyle has helped me feel what living a healthy life should be. I’m sharp, never sluggish, and want to be active most days – lifting or yoga. I was over 300 lbs at one point. Battling weight-loss has without a doubt conditioned my perseverance in life.
  • As I leave my twenties, I’ve discovered balance. All of my past experiences have pushed me and helped me flourish as a human being. So thank you all for helping me get here.

I’m excited to be thirty and ready to see what levels I can reach before forty. Now, back to listening to Beyonce, watching S play video games, and chilling with my friend Mary Jane. I have a birthday to get ready for!

Have fabulously zen day, everyone.

Ceiling Fan Thoughts 

(Written using the Flowstate app, 5 min setting.)

What’s on my mind? Headphones on, I lay here playing with music options and staring at the fan go ’round above me. I’m thinking about how I need to get out of this lazy funk I’ve been in lately. It’s not even cold outside, yet, so I can’t blame winter. Work life has calmed down, although S still has a little bit of school left. I can’t wait until that’s done. I’d like to have my hubs back, please.

 
I’ve taken some time off from posting on the blog. That’s mostly because I’ve had to evaluate how much I’d like to have on my plate. I started the blog as a way to keep my writing chops polished and conditioned; experiment with my voice and see how I developed. This was only to help me prepare for the writing of a book I’ve had outlined since 2010.

 
Now the blog is becoming a life of its own. What to do? I may need to consider taking time away from one project – that’s obviously not the blog. I can still write and work on the book, but that production is about to slow down. Juggling too much at once could harm my intended goals more than aid them. I wonder what this will turn into; Gays in the Life. I’m anxious to see.