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Friday, October 21, 2011

Finding Dara

This has been a tough few weeks. I must confess that when I'm at my lowest point in life, I tend not to write about it. I think my pride gets in the way of being totally open. This is unfortunate because I feel it holds me back from opening up to people. It prevents me from establishing trust, and believing that I will be heard and understood. Pride can be troublesome if not managed.

Being home sick for 3 weeks have been difficult both physically and emotionally. It has especially taken its toll emotionally. Not sleeping and in constant pain is difficult. It's even more difficult trying to explain "why" and "how" this happened in the first place. I am no doctor, I am not God, so I cannot say how or why this happened. All I know is it's here, it's daunting, and it's been making me feel miserable. I'm starting to accept walking with a cane, although I'm working on feeling pretty. I'm still worried about what's to come in the near future. Will I get better? Do I need surgery? Will I need a cane for the rest of my life? Will I lose my job, again? Will this affect my self-esteem? Will I feel confident to date? These are questions I ask myself often. I don't have answers to any of them yet.

The road ahead: I saw the hip specialist today. It seems my hip is in worse shape than it was a year ago. My doctor's exact words were, "I'm concerned. We need to get to the bottom of this asap." I will need a MRI to determine if I need surgery. I have a strong feeling I will need it. The pain, however, is stuck with me until it's completely rectified. *Sigh* In all of this drama, I feel I'm losing a sense of self. I don't feel normal as I did before. In fact, I feel very disappointed, sad, angry, frustrated, and so on.

 Finding Dara

Last night, I opened a tote-bag that had my notebook of lesson plans, pencils, markers, smiley stickers, and copies of students' writing assignments. This was the first time I looked inside it since June. On my last day of class (and work), I came home and dropped this bag on the floor near my closet. I refused to look at it. I didn't want to be reminded of the layoff, or the ending of my class. When I looked through everything, I wiped away tears and remembered each student in my class. I miss them very much. I miss teaching. 

As I headed home today, I saw an art display titled, "Before I die..." and people's writings in colorful chalk. I became inspired, grabbed a piece of chalk, and wrote "Make others smile" drawing a smiley face. Before I die, I hope to make others smile. To me, a smile is a great gift one can give to someone. It gives hope. I read the other messages. I feel I needed to see this today.

The truth is, I am not where I want to be right now. I'm not in the career I want to be in, I wish I was in grad school. I miss having purpose to go to work in the morning. I miss the smiles and warm welcome from students who looked forward to my teaching. I always thank them for allowing me to be myself. I even miss teaching grammar! Haha. I miss being a girlfriend. I would love to date but don't feel confident with my current situation. I don't like feeling lonely. It's hard to love someone who's hurt you. It's even harder to love someone who doesn't notice you. I'm dealing with both. I don't like being broke. I miss being able to take care of my bills without worrying about missing a payment. Money is something I can't seem to have enough of. Lastly, I miss Me. I miss the Dara who ignored all these things and lived life freely. She didn't let anything hold her back. She always did the impossible.

I'm trying to find Dara. I know she hasn't left me.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Happy Graduation to Me

As I adjusted my cap, zipped up my gown and looked in the mirror, tears welled up in my eyes. Today I am a graduate from Rasmussen College. The official ceremony was held today in St.Paul, MN but due to financial and health woes, I was unable to attend. However, I wanted to celebrate this happy moment in my life by taking pictures and spending time with my mom. I am proud I made it this far, and pray I will continue to go farther in my academic journey. 


Now on to the Masters....right mom?!!!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Quiet prejudice

The introduction and conclusion: Ladies and gentleman, I have a hip condition. I am overweight and I know that. I'm also a human being, and endure pain, agony, and sadness especially when faced with a crisis. In this case, I'm faced with a health crisis. The worst part (and many don't know this) is the response I receive from medical staff. Some just assume that I'm making more out of the problem. I was once accused of being "mentally stressed," and needed to see a psychologist. Maybe I do, but not because I'm "making more" out of what I have. The interesting part of this story is I've been to 2 hospitals, a dozen doctors, had 2 MRIs, physical therapy, X-Rays, taken multiple types of medication, and spent more time in doctor's waiting rooms than needed to be. After all of that, am I still making more of what I have? MRIs don't lie. Then there's the growing discussion of how "fat" I am, and it's the reason I have this condition. Unbeknownst to many, my condition was brought on from years of wear and tear, and a slip and fall on ice. I'm not in denial. I'm not afraid to admit that I am overweight, or that weight isn't a contributing factor, but it isn't the cause of my condition. Sorry to disappoint you Dr. So and So or anyone who thinks otherwise.

The cane and the response: Sometimes I think we as a society is so vain when it comes to looks. I've been walking with a cane on and off for a year now and it's been a frustrating and life-changing experience. I say "life-changing," because the cane, a tool to help one walk, can become the topic of discussion, snickering, or outburst of laughter. It can also make some people angry. For instance, I've had a woman look at me as I got on the bus and said, "Don't expect me to give you my seat!" I was surprised by her attitude and comment, because I wasn't thinking about sitting down. I just wanted to make my way to the back of the bus. When walking the busy streets of New York City, it's a bigger challenge. Some people make no qualms about pushing you out the way, or cursing under their breath because you can't walk faster. Here's my favorite, when people who know you suddenly treat you differently because, as they say, "You look different." The cane and the response can be very negative. It's something I'm still adjusting to.

The emotional impact: This experience can be depressing, frustrating, and damaging to the ego. The negative comments, assumptions, changes in attitude, fat jokes, hurts, plain and simple.

Quiet prejudice is just that, quiet but the impact is louder than words. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Questions. Which ones are important to you? There are many whats, wheres, whos whens, and whys. Some of these questions can easily be answered, yet there are many unanswered questions. If I could make a list of questions, there would be many 'whens' and 'whys', because those are most important to me. I like asking questions about anything and everything. I'm not a nosy person, and I'm not one to be in people's business, but I am inquisitive about certain things. I wonder a lot, I imagine, and I question what I don't understand. I can understand why this can be problematic. Sometimes there are no answers to questions, or the answers are not satisfying. For me, an unanswered question (depending on the question) is the worst because I don't know where to go from that point. Even the simplest questions like, what will I wear tomorrow can produce no answers. One can imagine how difficult it is when major questions like, when will I be successful can be hard to answer. No one really knows. It's like asking, when will I fall in love, or why can't I make more money? As you can see, most of my (example) questions begin with 'when' and 'why.' I guess they're my favorite, or I'm simply trying to find answers to those kind of questions. The asking continues.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


It's quiet outside, darkness has filled the night sky. Heading home has become a journey with the revisiting of an old acquaintance. I do not welcome it. As I crossed the street, I heard another set of footsteps. I didn't think much of it until I heard those footsteps getting closer. I looked back and there were two men walking. They slowed down as I tried to walk faster, but I quickly realized I could not. I relied on God to make my feet go faster even though I was going slower. The footsteps seemed to pick up pace until suddenly I heard nothing. I continued to walk until the light of my building appeared. The footsteps stopped. I stopped. I looked back and didn't see them. I rang the doorbell and heard a quiet laughter. I looked up, and the two men slowly walked from the vacant lot next to my building. The door buzzed open and I hobbled inside. The men watched me go inside, and began laughing as they walked by. I felt they were teasing me with an unknown motive, maybe to catch me off guard. I felt helpless knowing that I couldn't out run them; I could barely walk fast enough! I feel frustrated. My pride feels crippled. I do not like this old acquaintance.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Silent remembrance

It's quiet in the house. Everyone has left for work. She is alone. The floors squeak as she takes a step forward. The tea kettle whistles softly. She reaches for her favorite mug. It's big and unique looking, but it's her favorite. "Mmm" she says as she takes a sip. Sunlight peeks through the curtains in the living room. She has no desire to watch TV or turn on any music. She hobbles back to her room. As she sits on her bed, tea cup in both hands, she drifts off into her imagination. There's total silence. She looks straight ahead, noticing the many pictures surrounding her room. Smiling faces of people she once knew. Knick-knacks stand on her television, desk, and dresser, artifacts and crystals are reflected by the sunlight. Memories of her childhood comes to mind; she remembers when she received each knick-knack. She remembers who she was when receiving her first quartz crystal. The joy in the 8 year old eyes, a great deal of gratitude to her mom who helped start her first rock collection.

A stack of CDs stand in the corner of the room. Music she doesn't listen to often, but filled with memories of her time with her dad. The stories he told about each artist, the way times were then, how he felt during those times. It was like a treasure box filled with goodies only he shared with her. Remembrance of a time when he felt whole, when he gave himself to this country. He is history. Then there's the hanging of various necklaces surrounding her room. All gifts from her mom, friends, students, colleagues, exes, people. Each necklace tells a story of herself, each having ownership of a time period she once knew, molding her into the woman she is today. The heirlooms from her late grandmother, a woman of pride and strength. She gave her the greatest gift, a bracelet that represented love. She wipes away a tear.

She finishes her tea. The room is silent. She is silent.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The walk home

Friday, September 30, 2011 

I took the Limited bus today. It wasn't as crowded as usual. I felt tired and drained. My energy has been low as of late; probably the change of the season (now Fall) or me feeling under the weather. As I got off the bus, I looked at the sky. What a sight! The clouds were blue, pink, and purple. Very pretty. I smiled. I tried taking a picture but was bombarded by people leaving the bus. Walking home felt different. Maybe it was because I was reflecting on the week's events. I've been contemplating on what my purpose is, what I'm currently doing, and where to go from here. Oddly, it seemed like the more I thought about this, the sky became brighter and streaks of pink filled the sky. I knew I had to take a picture.

Guys hanging on the corner, a lady pushes a shopping cart, older gentlemen sit in front of the Chinese takeout restaurant, I observe them. I walked to a store, a man allows me to go in first. I appreciate his generosity. Picking up some milk (I want cereal for dinner tonight), I'm welcomed by a smile from a friend. I say, "Hi my friend." He replies, "Hi mommy, how are you?" "I'm good, can't complain " as I pay. I leave the store walking down the block. I hear a man talking on the phone behind me, he had a Caribbean accent. Those pink streaks still follow me. I slowly stopped letting the man pass. I began snapping some pictures.

I felt an uplift from my spirit as if God was letting me know, at that moment, that everything would be alright. (Praying silently) "Sometimes God, I don't know where my direction is leading me. I feel like I'm just floating around. I want to know where I'm going and how to get there.The way times are with unemployment, increased crime, natural disasters, and more negativity than positivity can all make the heart heavy."  From a sudden cool breeze, I felt like it was God telling me not to despair because He will handle everything. I need to keep the faith.

Before I knew it, I was in front of my door waving hello to my neighbors.