Blog Brain

Wakanda Forever! Not Just This Weekend!

HS be damned. You did not win! I did. I have been looking forward to the arrival of Black Panther since last year. Matter of fact, I think that is when I purchased my prescreening event ticket. It’s hard for me to plan anything because HS is very unpredictable. I decided to let the chips fall where they may because nothing was going to keep me from this film. Besides, one of my dearest friends is an extra in the movie. Which to me is the same as her having a leading role. The day before the event as I got up to prepare for work, a sharp pain brought me to my knees. I knew better to ask what it was about. I knew it wasn’t the flu, but HS related. I had one of the worst flare-ups I had ever seen or felt. Every scar and every open area was red, enflamed and angry.. AT ME. The first thing that came to mind was OMG what am I going to do with my ticket because I will not be able to walk.  I sat on the floor and devised my plan. Thank goodness I had my cellphone because I did not know when I was going to be able to get up. My entire day consisted of Clorox baths, various topical medications and a solo rendition of the horizontal polka.  Thursday morning arrived and I felt like a kid at Christmas. Black Panther is here! Black Panther is here! As was the pain!  There was a silver lining. I was at least able to walk a little. All I needed to do was get my hair styled, shower, get dressed, get in the car and to the theatre. That was my to-do list for the day. It was touch and go there for a minute, but I managed to make it. There were many breaks in between and even a few tears, but I persisted.

When I got out of my car, I was immediately greeted by this beautiful lady that said ” I love your shirt, your hair and earrings. Welcome. We are so glad you’re here.” I was shocked. I could not believe there was a welcoming committee for the movie. She asked me my name and I told her as we were walking toward the theatre. She finally asked me if I was here for the volunteer work. I was like “ummm no, I’m sorry I am just here for the movie.” We both laughed and hugged. She introduced me to the rest of the volunteers and we all had a laugh. As I walked into the theatre to find my place in a line, I saw all of the Black Panther posters  and instantly got goosebumps. People were trying to buy tickets and they were sold out until Tuesday. I was so happy I had my ticket already. I walked around looking at the posters and a young lady walked up to me and asked me if I was here to see Black Panther. I told her yes and she replied ” so am I let’s sit next to each other.”  More and more people arrived dressed in their t-shirts and African attire. Everyone was hugging, laughing, and taking pictures. I was okay with being there alone because it was like I was attending with my family. It was amazing. This is not a fad. This is a positive movement.

I won’t spoil the movie for those of you who have not seen it yet. I urge you to go and see it as many times as possible. This movie made me feel amazing both during and after I finished watching it. I am so proud to see people on the big screen that look like me play such positive and profound roles.  Killmonger’s role as the villain is just as important as T’Challa’s role as the hero. Africa is being shown as this bountiful and beautiful not impoverished land. Children have their superhero that is not a slave, crackhead or criminal. While I know Wakanda is fictional, this movie is pushing me outside of my box. I want to know where I came from. I want to explore my family history. I want to do more in the community and the world. If nothing else Black Panther has shown how we all can come together for a common interest and make a difference. We can do great things together and make a difference.  I want to continue to take this feeling with me not just this weekend, this month but forever.  WAKANDA FOREVER!!

This Is All Of Us…….

I am almost positive that everyone has either seen or at least heard about the show This Is Us that’s on NBC. Well if you haven’t, it’s definitely worth taking time to watch it. I can guarantee you will not be able to stop watching after you see the first episode. Anyway I am not here to convince you to watch the show. I am here to share how This Is Us is all of us.  The mere title of the show makes me cry. Yes, I know these people are actors, but they suck you in and make you feel like you are on the journey with them. Without going through each episode (and yes I can!), I want to share the theme of the show LOVE.

The love is so real that it’s tangible. It also shows that love is not perfect. Love can be messy and love can be hard.  The love that parents have for their children is like no other. I honestly did not understand that love until my dad told me one day that he would die and go to hell for his children. He meant every word. When daddy didn’t have anything else, he had us. Parents and children do not always get along. Kids and parents are both trying to prove they know what’s best. There is attitude, anger and ego flying all over the place. Not to mention everyone’s individual secret storms that they are going through. Neither parents or children always make the right decision. We are imperfect beings. But when everything is all said and done, your family is going to show up for you. (And if they don’t I will show up for you!)

I think what really makes me ugly cry is the fact that I finally see someone who relates to me about the love and loss of a father. A father that you knew loved you and would do anything to make sure you were okay. That does not mean he was perfect or fearless.  It meant he loved you unconditionally and would literally lay down his life to preserve yours. I am not the same person I was before my father passed away. Almost 12 years later, I still cry daily and try to put one foot in front of the other wishing I could hear him yell “LANDA! one more time”. So I hold on to my memories and my love because just in case anyone ever forgets who Mike Cobb was, I will gladly remind them. I have a beautiful granddaughter and a handsome nephew who will know who their Paw Paw Mike was and how much he was loved and admired.

You see this is all of us. None of us have the perfect family or circumstances, but somehow we will come together and be okay. We all have troubles, secrets, fights and fall outs, but at the end we all have each other. No matter what race or background you come from, we all can relate on some level. This why I think so many people watch this show and ugly cry right along with me.  Let’s cultivate and spread love as much as we can. For any fellow parents reading this, my wish for you is that your children love you as much as I love my parents. For all my fellow children, my prayer for you is that you love and appreciate your parents because they will not always be here.

Now  I am going to stop because my puppy doesn’t know why I am crying and I need to wipe the tears from my keyboard.

True Love Doesn’t Notice

Hello everyone, oh how I have missed all of my blog friends. I hope you all are doing well.  HS had me in a hostage situation and was not willing to negotiate. I was able to compromise with it  eventually. While it is still here, my pain level decreased some. Now I am able to get back to my blog and actually leave the house. I wanted to share something a close friend of mine shared with me when I first met her about 16 years ago. The reason I want to share this is because it has come up again recently in someone else’s life.

We all tend to have these imperfections when we look in the mirror that we feel would make the world of difference if we could change it. Some of want fuller lips, thinner lips, higher cheek bones, lose weight, gain weight or just throw the whole person away and get a new body. Something that I used to struggle with when I looked into the mirror was my smile. Not too many people are aware, but once upon a time I had significant issues with my teeth. I took a lot of iron growing up and coupled with other issues, my teeth were discolored. I can remember putting my hand over my mouth when I laughed or trying not to laugh at all. Looking back on my old photos, I never smiled. I was reluctant to meet new people because I thought they would stare and not talk to me. My defense mechanism became my mantra, ” I don’t like people and I don’t need new friends.”  Now mind you, no one ever said anything or asked my about my teeth, but I thought that was because they did not want to embarrass me. I met my dear friend Machelle one day after I had come from the dentist. Of course I was smiling and posing and she said nothing. I was like “WTH?” So finally after about an hour of talking to her, I finally asked her if she liked my teeth. Machelle said. ” what about them?” I was literally speechless. My reply to her was , ” I know you see they look different.” She still didn’t have a clue as to what I was talking about. It took me a minute, but I realized she was telling her truth. Machelle told me when you truly love someone, you never notice things like that because you are too busy loving the whole person. As tears rolled down my face, I couldn’t do anything but hug her.

Things we think are imperfect don’t matter to the right people in your life. If you find yourself being one of those people that point out other people’s imperfections, I hope you realize that you are pointing out what’s wrong with them to keep anyone from noticing what’s wrong with you. SO STOP IT!

 

 

If Or Even If? What Are Your Conditions?

Love is a powerful word. I often times wonder when some people say it, if they are aware of what it really means? When I think about love, I think about my family and  friends who mean the world to me. The older I get, the more I realize how important it is show and tell the people in your life you love them because things can change at the blink of an eye. The chance may pass never to return again. Before I had my son, I would often hear my mother, grandmothers and aunts say there is no love like a mother’s love. I didn’t know what the big deal was. My thinking was hey they are supposed to love their kids because they had them.  It was a given. Right?  The early morning when I had Christopher (on April Fool’s Day mind you!) my heart and my mind  went through a complete transformation. I actually fell in love with him the moment I laid eyes on him. I knew then I loved him more than anything in the world and I would do anything to protect him. I wanted the best for him and I would do anything to make sure he had everything he needed and some of what he wanted.

Fast forward 24 years he is now a man, but he will always be my little boy. When I talk to my son Christopher, I make sure I tell him I love him before we hang up. Sometimes I get a clear I love you and other times I get a low mumble that I assume is a hurried I love you.  When I see a sad Tide commercial or see an old baby picture, I text him to say I love you son more than you can ever know. He will say “I love you too mom” or “yes mom I know you love me.” Which makes me cry even more.  Before Christopher went to his duty station in Alaska, we spent some quality time together. We laughed and cried. We shared memories of daddy and how he has influenced our lives.

The main thing I wanted to make sure he knew then and always know is that I love him unconditionally. There is nothing in this world that can separate the love I have for him. I told him I have always loved him even when he did not always do things the way I would have. I told him at the beginning and end of the day, he will always be my son and I love him. Through all of the arguments and disagreements I still loved him. As life goes on, I am sure we will have more arguments and disagreements and at the end of it all, I will be there to love him.

There are so many people in this world who are only loved based on conditions.  There are so many people who cannot tell those they love or that love them that they are gay,  have a different religious belief or even something as simple as they don’t want to go to college because of the fear of being disowned. It is not our job to judge, it is our job to love UNCONDITIONALLY. It is important to live in your truth no matter what it is. If that means you love with conditions, then say ” I love you if…” If you love unconditionally say “I love you even if…”  You decide on the way you love and how you want to be loved.

(Insert Colorful Verbage)

When I was thinking about a title for my post, all I could think of were words that were not appropriate and since my mom reads my blog, I decided against it. So I decided to let all of you use your imagination. Pain is as real as it gets. If I don’t actually say to someone I am in pain, my body does it for me. When I am unable to walk, sit or stand without crying I am in significant pain. I feel vulnerable when I am in pain and if I lived in a perfect world, it would be my best kept secret. On days like today, vulneralbility be damned because my feelings and emotions are all over the place. I want to have a pity party and be sad, but part of me is just so angry.  I feel like knocking down every door and wall in sight because I feel like no one understands or is even trying to understand what it is like to have Hidradinitus. It is a condition that will test you in each and every area of your life. It’s not like a headache that comes and goes. HS comes, sets up shop and builds an entire community.

Today I feel defeated. HS won the battle. I wasted time I will never get back trying to explain to people who sit behind a desk, identify me by a number and have no clue or care about me or my life, how much pain I am in on a day to day basis. It was like trying to explain the smell of an eyeball. I have to admit, there are days I want to take pictures of all of the areas of my body that are and have been touched by HS and send it to people like them.  I know I have said before I would not wish HS on my worst enemy, but today is not that day. I don’t think the “powers that be” will completly understand HS unless they or someone they love all of a sudden have this awful condition.

HS is sometimes considered an invisible illness because not all the cysts and scars are visible when we are fully dressed. I feel like I have to convince people I am sick because I don’t look sick. I didn’t ask for this and I don’t want it. Today I am not as strong as I would like to be. Today is a day I wished my dad was still alive so he can defend me to the bad guys.  Today is a day I wish I lived with my mom so I could crawl in her bed and cry while she tells me I am going to be fine. Oh well, today is over and I will live to fight another day tomorrow. I am going to bed and pull the covers over my head!

chronic-pain42

Life Lessons Are Everywhere!

4 days into 2018 and lessons are literally appearing from the most simple things.  When I got up on the first morning of the new year, I was very excited. I found myself thanking God for allowing me to make it yet another year. I was and continue to be excited about my journey I am yet to complete. Any day above ground means He is not done with me and I still have a purpose here on this earth. I know life gets hard sometimes and the feeling of defeat may find its way into our mind, but we have to keep going.

I would like to share some lessons I have already learned this year with the help of perspective (and Gambino):

  1. Trust- Gambino was crying in his crate at night even though he did not have to go outside. I finally figured out he didn’t want to sleep in the crate. I was so scared to let him stay out all night, but I would never know how he would be outside of the crate unless I trusted him at least once.  I put one of his beds at the foot of my bed before I went to bed and when I got up the next morning, there he was curled up in a ball waiting on me to awake. I had to take the first step and trust him. Sometimes we have to step out on faith and trust everything will work out for the better.
  2. Hidden In Plain Sight- Since Gambino was out of the crate, I knew he had to use the restroom and I needed to rush him out to the grass. I was running around looking for this thin black leash and I could not find it. I looked in its usual spot and it was not there. I asked him where it was and he wouldn’t tell me so I finally had to use the back up leash. As soon as I came back in from walking him, I sat on my couch to warm up. As I pulled my black comforter over my feet, the thin black leash dropped to the floor. There it was hiding in plain sight. It was not lost, it was where I left it.  Panic should not be our go to emotion when we think something is lost.  It’s more likely than not, hiding in plain sight.
  3. It Has Always Been In Us- For those of you who know me personally, you know I don’t make new years resolutions. I stopped making those several years ago when I finally realized it was a trap. When the clock strikes 12 and the new year arrives, it is a new day. The day before was once a new day as was the day before that. A clock is just a clock, the real change has to be in your mind. When you make your mind up to begin something, it is only at that time change will take place.

Join me and look for life lessons in the most simple of things. Open your mind and change your prospective towards things. God does not always make a huge production when He teaches us, sometimes He uses the smallest things we tend to overlook.

 

There Is A Point To The Pain….

I read something funny online the other day about having everything going the way you planned. It read “each time I have all of my ducks in a row, one of them waddles off.”  I laughed and was testifying to the joke until I read one that accurately described me at the time, “I don’t have any ducks. I don’t have a row. I have squirrels and they are all drunk.”  Just when I think I have everything organized and flowing smoothly, life says “hold my beer!”

It can feel like you are sinking in quicksand when problems arise out of nowhere. Unfortunately we can’t plan for everything. We don’t know when our children are going to get sick, when our car is going to break down, when our job is downsizing, when we get sick or even when we are going to have a stressful day. It seems like when you fix one thing, another one arises. About 5 days before Christmas, I ended up having a really bad flare up. It was so bad I looked on Web MD (never do this when you are sick, you will end up feeling like you only have 24 hours to live!) and I had diagnosed myself with cellulitis or shingles.  I could not take anymore pain, so I ended up going to the doctor. Turns out I had a bad reaction to some medication I was taking for HS that caused the breakout and flare up. This could not have happened at a more inopportune time because it was only a few days before Christmas and I still needed to work. On top of being sick, I was stressed out about being sick. Finally, I had to come to terms that I had no control over what was going on. I was only able to control my response to it.

As I reflect on the days I was sick, I have been trying to find the point of it all. Sometimes, it’s hard to find the point through the pain. I believe in God and I have faith that whatever I go through, He will make sure it ends up working out for my good. The point in my pain for this flare up is about to turn into something wonderful for me and other HS sufferers.  I made flyers about 2 months ago to start a group for individuals with chronic illnesses, even though I had a venue and support lined up, I never got around to giving them to my physician to give to other HS patients as a resource. Now that I have to see my physician for additional follow-up,  this is the time to give her the flyers and start working on my HS groups. This flare up has also ignited a fire in me to provide more awareness to HS so other people can understand what it is and how it affects those of us who suffer from it.

The point in your pain can be hard to see sometimes, but it is there. Maybe God sees you are getting too comfortable in a position and makes it uncomfortable so you are forced to do something different. Just maybe the relationship did not work out with that person because he or she was not the right person and you had to free yourself for who you deserve. Maybe when you get sick, it is then you see how strong you are.  Everything happens for a reason. We are unable to control the variables, but we can control our response to it.

 Romans 8:28
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God”