Going Through It, To Get Over It!

Hello to all of my favorite readers out there. Thank you for stopping by. I am so happy you are here! I hope you are feeling good today. Guess what? I am!  No, doctors have not found a cure for HS this month. I know like everything else, this is temporary, but I am going to ride this good feeling out until the motor drops on the ground and the wheels fall off.

I have been having really vivid dreams lately about my daddy and all of my grandmothers’. I didn’t think anything of it until it started to happen each and every night. As some of you know, they are all deceased. The dreams had to mean something. I began to write down what I remembered immediately after I woke up. I discovered each and every night, Mudea, Momma Dosie, Daddy, Momma Mae and Momma Ola were all rooting for me. In each dream, each interaction they were telling me to keep going. I hear it now so clearly, “Landa don’t stop, don’t give up, I am here.” I woke up with tears in my eyes and smile on my face. I know they all are here watching over me. You see, I never told anyone about my last pain cycle with my HS but my mom. Only she knew how bad I felt and how down I was. My mom said those same words to me. It was at that moment, I told my mom I had to go and I would call her back the next day. I started to focus on my family and friends that are always rooting for me. I said okay and little by little, step by step, I began to feel stronger than I was before.

I had literally already talked myself out of going to see Iyanla Vanzant at the Fox Theatre. Maybe someone else will buy my ticket, I thought. Besides, it was a fabulous seat. The thought of having to change out of my pajamas and getting dressed up was too much for me to think about. Then there was traffic. I would have to leave at 5:30 and who in their right mind would get into traffic at that time? Not to mention, I would be exhausted from working all day. It was just too damn much! Just as I was about to post my ticket for sale online, I sat down and was still. I sat still, took a breath and began to laugh. Who said I had to get dressed up? I can go as myself. Iyanla said she focused on healing and not image. So I removed that self placed pressure I created and decided whatever I put on I would be fabulous. You know why? Because I am fabulous. Why was I worried about traffic? I had not been in my car all day and I am sure it was nothing me and Ludacris could not handle with a little “Move B***** Get Out Tha Way!” Step by step, little by little, I got dressed and out the door I went.

The Fox is a beautiful theatre and there were so many beautiful people there. The funny thing is I met so many people that were there alone, but we ended up leaving together as sisters. When Iyanla hit the stage, the crowd went wild.  Okay, full disclosure, I wanted to run up on stage and steal a hug. I decided against that because I did not want to go to jail and end up on YouTube. The show was so powerful you could feel the energy, connections and people getting stronger. You had to be there to experience it.  Some things she touched on that really spoke to me were:

  • Sometimes we have to ask God to soften our heart. Forgiveness is rough!
  • When we use the word fear, it’s not that at all. It’s not being in control of the outcome.
  • Never underestimate the ruthlessness of the ego.
  • Be mindful of the things you think about and what you place your focus on.
  • Be careful what you tell yourself about yourself.
  • All thoughts are neutral. They have no value or meaning until we assign it.
  • We focus on negative emotions more than the positive ones because of the emotional pulse attached to it.

Her book “Get Over It” is a must read. It is not what it sounds like. She is not saying get over it in a flippant manner, but in a way that teaches you how to leave the negative behind so it no longer holds you hostage.

I plan to keep this good feeling going for as long as I can. HS, anxiety, depression, anger nor excuses will stop me!  I want all of us to shoot for the good feeling. If you are unable to show up for yourself, it’s okay, I WILL SHOW UP FOR YOU! We are all in this together. We don’t have to do it alone.

I love you all to life!

Landa

 

What’s The Worst That Could Happen?

This is the first time in all of my years, I have had the nerve to say this phrase aloud.  Maybe it’s because I am writing for my blog or maybe it’s because I decided to throw caution to the wind. Honestly, my anxiety has kept this phrase in check as it has been something I thought, but was not brave enough to say aloud. By saying “what’s the worst that could happen?” I thought was essentially “poking the bear” and literally begging for bad things to happen.  It was so much easier secretly think it and try to control everything to produce only favorable outcomes. It is so amazing how I thought I was in control of each and every outcome in my life by doing this and not that or by saying this and not that.  Would it actually be living a full life if those safe guards were actually true? I can almost say with certainty I would make up a ritual of wearing a certain pair of socks on a cloudy day because the last time I wore those socks the sun started to shine. As I was writing that sentence, I literally imagined how this could snowball into something unimaginable. How many pictures does a person take to get the perfect selfie? How many things in life do you postpone because you are waiting on the perfect time? Trying to put together the “perfect” anything can literally drive you insane.  Control is just an illusion to make us think we are in charge. When we fight against what is happening instead of  going with the flow, it is then when produce stress, anxiety and depression.

Catastrophic thinking is only focusing on the most irrational worst possible outcome in even the most simple situations. For example, if one of your friends did not call you today, instead of thinking they maybe busy, you think they are mad at you or maybe even hurt. Many of us have catastrophic thinking that has somehow been our guiding light throughout our journey in life. It’s like looking for directions from a broken compass. Yes, it can be viewed as a defense mechanism to protect us from harm, but just as other defense mechanisms, it can have negative effects on a person.  The outcome we fear will happen will not only paralyze us, but also cause us to carry around self imposed guilt. What if they find out I am not perfect?  What if they laugh at me? What if they find out I really have no idea what is going on? What if they stop loving me? What if I lose friends? What if I fail? These are all questions that come up when we think about the worst possible outcomes of any situation. Two of the most important mantras that have helped me with my thinking is taking a step back and saying to myself “whatever happens, I can cope” and “I am not the first one and I am sure I will not be the last one.” Taking a deep breath and sitting with those thoughts puts a whole new perspective on things. It is okay not to have all of your ducks in a row. It is okay to mess up. It is okay to not know the answer. It is okay to just be okay.  The world will not end and the people who love you will love you flaws and all.

“Do not fear failure but rather fear not trying.”
― Roy T. Bennett

Nobody Wants To Be The Newbie..

Why do firsts have to be so hard? There is the infamous first day of school when we hope to start class with people we already know or are related to. It would be so awkward and scary otherwise. Most children want to ride the bus the first day to start the “will you be my friend” process, but some parents insist on taking them to school. This only adds to the anxiety because walking into the classroom holding your mom’s hand gives off the impression you are afraid and would rather be at home watching cartoons.  Everyone is staring and you just want to turn and run. You’re just looking for that one person to connect with so you don’t have to be alone.

There is the first day of college when you leave all of your familiar surroundings to start your academic career in a big new world. No parents around  to ask questions or directions. You don’t have your friends around to talk about the new people because you are now the new person. New dorm mates , classes and responsibilities you never thought you would have to deal with on your own and you still don’t know anyone. Who am I going to bond with in class? Who am I going to get notes from? Who am I going to eat my meals with? How do I get to the class or the cafeteria? It’s all confusing and overwhelming and if you don’t ask for help, you end up looking like a lost tourist.

Starting a new job is one of the most exciting and terrifying things we can do. Finally you get the chance to work in the field you went to school for, but you have to learn all of the nuances of the company and the people you work for and with. Of course everyone offers to help you when you need it, but you don’t want to wear out your welcome. We all start with a sense of confidence, but it can quickly turn into ” I should know this already!” So then we don’t want to ask questions because of the fear of our co-workers whispering about the new girl.

The one thing firsts have in common is that it’s a new beginning. No one wants to start out being the newbie, but at least the we take the chance and actually start. As I was watching the 25th anniversary special of Def Comedy Jam, I saw a very old skit of Dave Chappelle. It was then I began to reflect on what it was like to be a newbie. When he first started his comedy, what if he had allowed the fear and anxiety of being a newbie stop him from doing standup? He had to start in order to begin his career. Today he is one of the most rich, famous, funniest and sought after comedians to date. I know I have used being the newbie as the reason I would not go to a function or start a new project. I was worried about not knowing anyone there and not having anyone to talk to. Why be a wallflower when I could be at home binge watching my favorite shows? That does not require me to have to try to interact with anyone and therefore no awkwardness.  I was so anxious about starting this blog because it’s something new and I am not an expert on blogging. Before I started, I thought I needed to know everything or I couldn’t start. One day I decided to just start writing and hoped for the best. We don’t have to know everything or wait for the perfect moment before we try something new. Being a newbie means we started and we all have to start somewhere.

 

Don’t Laugh! It Could Happen To You!

Dating has significantly changed since the 90’s when I initially started. It is not as simple as being set up with your best friend’s brother ,someone you meet at church or the mall. We now have the infamous online dating. You are able to meet people from anywhere at anytime and you don’t have to leave the comfort of your home.  When you are in high school, dating was as simple as writing a note to a boy asking him if he likes you check yes and if he didn’t check no. It was definitely not that easy in college, especially if you had a class with the person you were interested in. There was an entire plan that had to be implemented. Your breath had to be right, you had to always look your best for that class and you have to be very knowledgeable, just in case the professor called upon you. One of the most important things was you had to be paired with him for all of the group assignments and that meant positioning yourself close to him at all times. It really made going to an 8 o’clock class fun. College provided its own topics of conversation.  I have had to deal with HS since I was 16, but is was not chronic at the time. I would get a cyst on my back or leg and my mommy would tell me how to fix it and make it better. I did not have to explain it to anyone.  You could always find a class or professor to complain about.  I was really nervous about disclosing to my date that I was already a mother to the most beautiful boy in the world. I had already been dumped in high school  because a guy told me he did not want a “ready made” family.  During that time, it was one of the most hurtful things a man could have said to me.

Fast forward to the present dating world and it is unrecognizable and there is much more stress and anxiety surrounding dating.  Mind you most of it is  self imposed, but it’s still there. Now the elephant in the room is not the fact I am a young mother, but whether or not I should say something about my HS. If I decide to share it, when is the right time? On top of all of that, I still have to be stunning, have good breath, have a car, a great job and a laundry list of requirements men have. Gone are the days when all you had to be was a kind, ambitious and come from a good family. Should I date or just continue to get more puppies? I decided to take a stab at dating after almost talking myself out of it. My mind was swimming with thoughts of what if I have a flare up on the day of our date? What if one of my bandages come off? What if I don’t feel well? What if I have a visible cyst and he thinks I have it because I have questionable hygiene? What am I going to wear because I have to be comfortable as well as cute?  What if we vibe and I tell him and then he leaves?  I had worked myself up in a tizzy to the point of dread and just wanted to get it over with. This was my first date after my divorce. I even called my ex-husband because I was so nervous. He was so supportive and told me to just be my beautiful self.

On the day of my date, I felt okay. I did have a flare up, but I was able to manage it enough to go on the date. I did not want to waste this outfit I had put together and I did not want to cancel at this point. This is Atlanta and traffic sucks, so I was running a tad bit late and decided to valet park since he had made it to the restaurant before I did.  We recognized each other from photos. He waited for me at the door and greeted me with a hug. He was much shorter than I expected, but that was fine. We were seated and that’s when it all went downhill. After he showered me with compliments he asked me if I would be able to “spot him some cash” in case he wanted to order a steak.  Was he joking? I could not get a read on him. We ordered and I advised him to get a salad. We laughed and continued to order. I asked him what he liked to do for fun? He said and I quote ” fun? What is that? I work all the time and I can’t get ahead. Listen, can you help me buy a transmission for my car because you look like you can afford it?”  I thought I heard wrong so I asked him to say it again. I started to laugh and when I noticed he was not laughing I got upset. I stopped our waiter and cancelled my order, politely grabbed my purse and left. He had the nerve to follow me to the door and ask me for a ride. I looked at him and said ” if you don’t get away from me, I am going to scream!”  I went to Five Guys, got a burger and went home.  I could not believe what happened. Of course you know I laughed and immediately called my girls. The funny thing is I was so worried about HS I forgot how wonderful I was. I forgot I was beautiful, smart, kind and had overcome so many things in my life. In the end, he was cute…………….. and that was it. There was definitely not a love connection so I tried again. Stay tuned!

In its purest form, dating is auditioning for mating (and auditioning means we may or may not get the part).
JOY BROWNE, Dating for Dummies

 

 

Pardon Me, I Forgot To Cover My Scars…

I thought I had trained myself not to be allergic to Mondays. For as long as I can remember all I have ever said was “I hate Mondays!” Yes I know, I sounded like a kid who didn’t want to get up to go to school. The adult in me insisted I not give a day of the week that much power. Well I was reminded today on why Monday is not my friend.

Take out the trash, drop clothes at the cleaner, find someone to donate the backpacks to, run by the bank and return all the phone calls I received today were all of the things I wanted to get done today. Have a lie down and binge watch Doc Martin is what I actually wanted to do. I decided to take my sidekick Gambino with me to help. Unfortunately this meant I had to put on a bra. I didn’t want to slang and bang all over the place.  I put on my beautiful blue tank and started on my journey. As we were going to the cleaners I felt the air blowing on my arm and I realized I had not bandaged my arm before I left. Panic consumed me. I even thought about turning around in 5 o’clock Atlanta traffic to go back home. I knew if I turned around I would not have ventured back out. I decided to keep going and I could hold the clothes with one arm and Gambino in the other so that no one would see it. I looked like a struggling clown trying to juggle an elephant. I basically threw the clothes on the counter and embraced Gambino like he was my shirt. The cashier wanted to play with him, I said we were in a hurry. I did not want her to get too close, nor did I want to put him down. I did not want anyone to see how HS has taken over my left underarm. It’s dark, full of scars and is also active with cysts. What if she asks me what happened? How would I explain? What if she has a look of judgement on her face and then I go the hell off because I am embarrassed? Too much to think about and too much to deal with on a Monday. We made our narrow escape.

I have been thinking about the cleaner caper all evening. About all of the anxiety and shame I had around someone seeing my arm. It really felt good to wear a tank top like a normal person and enjoy the breeze on your arm. I wasn’t able to enjoy it. I was in my own way. Who told me to be ashamed? Who said it was ugly? Who said if someone sees it they will judge me?  Moreover,  why would I care?  It’s the negative self talk we impose on ourselves spilling over into our world making us think that everyone else feels the same way. Not only is it not true, but it’s not fair to us or the people we interact with. Tomorrow is a new day and I am going to try again.

Shame is the most powerful, mater emotion. It’s the fear that we’re not good enough-Brene Brown

One Foot In Front Of The Other, With Blinders On……….

There is no perfect time to write. If I waited until I felt 100% then I would never have started this blog. Today has been a most trying day. Now I know thinking I am in control of anything is an illusion, but I really thought I had a handle on my HS for today. I was so prepared. I went to bed early last night  at a normal time, got up early and I even made breakfast. Yes, I was going to make this day submit.  As soon as I started my errands this overwhelming feeling of lethargy came over me. The yawning began and the thoughts of my king size bed began to dance around in my mind. All of a sudden, it seemed as if the abundant amount of Atlanta traffic had tripled. Everyone driving was on their cell phone, not paying attention to the lights. Motorists were blowing at other cars and pedestrians. That’s it! I was determined to go back home. I could not figure out for the life of me, why I was so sleepy. Then I realized chronic fatigue is just one of the many, many symptoms of having Hidradenitis. There are days I can try to forget HS, but it is always there to remind me. If not with painful cysts and boils, with lethargy, headaches, nausea and sadness. I was determined to get at least one thing done off my list. First on the list was to get gas. I found the nearest gas station and completed the task. After that, I made a B line back to the house.

It felt like I was all dressed up with nowhere to go, except I couldn’t go anywhere. I did not have the energy or the strength.  Might I add, I was looking very cute. I actually got dressed and put on my nice clothes. When I am in my Hello Kitty pajamas and a bonnet, it seems like I have the strength of a thousand men and I see each and every one of them when I walk my dog Gambino. Honestly, I don’t have an in between style. I am either really cute or I look like I just woke up. (definitely not like Beyoncé) Now my mind was riddled with anxiety about not getting my list done and other things I thought I had put completely out of my mind. Things like waiting on the results of my CT scan and if I should start this whole meal prep thing. Wondering if I should watch the health movie on Netflix that everyone is talking about because they insist on telling me about how everything including the sun is bad. How am I going to meal prep when everything is bad?  Forget meal prep, how and where am I going to go to get whatever it is I am going to buy? That’s when I decided to take a nap and hit the reset button. When I finally awoke, hours had gone by. Still no groceries and nothing else checked off of my list. I looked around and all I saw was my puppy Gambino, who also had just woke from a long nap. He was so happy I was home with him. I looked at the list and then I looked at him, back to the list and then him. I decided I would take Gambino for a walk and discuss everything with him. We walked and even stopped and smelled some flowers. Then I realized I would finish my list the way I was walking Gambino, one step at a time. I would not allow anything else to get in the way to cause anxiety or the feeling of defeat. If that meant I had to imagine myself with horse blinders on then that’s what I would do. I was able to check a couple more things off my list and decided to try again tomorrow.