“The Critic”

The past week has been just like many others…simply overwhelming. It is amazing to me that time and time again, I am able to realize that God puts random people in my life for my better good. When I first enrolled into graduate school, I was determined yet afraid. All of my friends had already obtained their credentials from graduate school so I felt isolated when I began school. To be honest I feel kind of isolated all the time lately. It seems that my inner circle as supportive as ever can’t really identify how and why I feel….off these days. So, when I began my grad career in an even more isolated form via online…I was not sure exactly how this would all work out. I began to utilize the supports of financial and academic advisors to ease my transition from overworked social worker in crisis mode daily to a student….in crisis mode…working full time with a newborn. I have developed a pretty awesome relationship with my academic advisor who just seems to be intrigued by me…and my story. He is careful to listen and slow to speak. Allowing me to truly vent about anything, because after all everything is connected and comes full circle.

The past week I felt myself breaking down….my energy being sucked out of me and my body quickly following suit. I realized that every time I combed my hair clumps of hair would fall out… no matter how hard I smiled…it just didn’t feel right. There were never-ending migraines with nausea. Restless nights, erratic appetites and jittery hands. Over all, I was overwhelmed with the idea of being overwhelmed…. and I was angry at myself. Everyday that the tension in my body grew I became more upset with ME. I felt that this time period should be OVER. I should not still be dealing with post partum, after all my daughter is 6 months old. I should be feeling better. I should be happier…. my daughter and I are flourishing in spite of the ups and downs of finances and the struggles of single motherhood. I should be okay with my new role as a parent…. not STILL frustrate about doing it along. I was upset that I was upset. I started to just cry day in and out…mopped around my house and seemed to lack direction in making myself feel better. Despite feeling this way, I was exhaustedly ensuring that no one knew why I felt this way. I would muster all my energy and fake my way through meetings with pageant smiles and mindless chatter. I never missed a homework assignment….never missed a day of work….oh the critic!

I had been contemplating running away…or seeking out help. I called both my spiritual and secular therapist to make psych appointments…enlisted supports to take Erilyn for a day or two….I went into social work mode, oh but that was just scratching the surface. While driving and making all these arrangements I received a phone call from no one other than my beloved academic advisor to just “check in on ya” before I knew it I just had diarrhea of the mouth…I admitted all the things I had hidden and was ashamed to admit. I told him how angry I was at myself when he told me to STOP!!!!! He said this doesn’t sound like you….this sounds like your critic. The critic is that voice in your head telling you that you SHOULD be doing more even though you’re already exhausted yourself. The critic could care less about what you have accomplished despite difficulties, because the critic wants what it wants…CONTROL! I sat and thought….well he could be onto something here. I thought about how much energy I was putting into beating my own self up knowing that I had no business doing so. I realized that the motivation behind such behavior was nobody other than my nosey critic who keeps her opinion in everything. Once I identified my critic, I assessed that she means me no well. Though I identify with her desire to “make me the best” the best is not realistic. I had to realize that I had to be stronger than my critic and silence it…or better yet tell her, ” Look Ma’am… I am doing the best I can do…have a seat.” My advisor charged me to tell the critic aloud every time to HAVE A SEAT!!!! I decided that I will have to do this more often because I need to put more energy into making me healthy. I realized that my critic though loud and obnoxious has become quite tame after the acknowledgement that she exists. I have yet to truly silence her but with the enlistment of help it will b easier to simpky tell her to shut the entire help up. I will tell her i love her but im doing the BEST i can though it feels like im not….. i will simply learn to ignore her beautiful yet annoying voice.

“Because I’m Happy” *Pharell Voice*

Hola everyone!!!! *waves and smiles* It has been a minute since I last wrote, and it has not been because I haven’t had anything to write about lol. With all the randomness going on in the world you all should know that I have so much to say, but I’d rather write about my theories on Ebola, our economy and the Millenial mindset, with a dash of TV commentary on my twitter feed…where no one truly listens. I’d much rather spend these precious moments with you love bugs talking about mmaZing things!

Welp guys….I am HAPPY!!! *throws confetti* No truly I am, and it has nothing to do with my moods, because Lord know’s I am still up and down. Lately I have been putting much energy into positive thinking. When I have been met with resistance in life and things have been a mess at times…I vent, refuse to let it linger and I…*drum roll* MOVE ON!!! Gone are the days that I let stuff that is out of my control run me crazy! I just cannot do it anymore. I refuse to stress about things that I cannot change. Because of this thought process I am able to feel at peace….which has turned into happiness! I realized that the more I consult God and look into myself for the strength that I have no business allowing stress to rule over me. There are times where I have noticed that my hair was falling out…I am talking bout BAD yall….(but shoutout to my stylist Dani #YoutherealMVP)!!! I still have days where I wake up and my body seems to just be tired and weary. It has been a crazy 2 years of my life and SO MUCH has happened. It seems that my life is starting to finally settle down. Even though my plate is full with my lovely muffin, getting my master’s, volunteering at hospice, and working full time, but things are kinda chill….settled. When I don’t have the energy..I allow myself to rest and enjoy the simple things. I have explored new friends and allies along with embracing my family much tighter. In fact…I don’t like to think that I have friends…I have mi familia! After all, when I think of my supports who have been there when stuff got real…you gotta be a member of my village…thus my family! :)

When I am feeling adventurous….I venture out of my little world of being mommy….get pretty and I go sit at a bar… usually alone and have a martini and think..or I go to brunch with my friends….I feel like me. In those moments of solitude, I sit and watch the people around me and just…Think.Being a parent you embrace those moments of simply thinking. You just let your mind wonder. Its in those moments that I realized that for once….I am not happy as a result of a relationship. You see, My happiness used to be determined on if I was romantically involved with someone. I was not happy if I were single because “They shoot single people Don’t They?” #blogplug. I used to despise being single because I loved being in…Love. That’s until I figured out that I didn’t truly love myself. It wasn’t until I was alone in the dark rooms, and sitting in the OB office getting sonograms alone… that I realized that I didn’t Love Me. How can you love yourself when you’re numb?

I realized that when “party girl Erie” was placed on hold, and the “friends” were gone… that I needed to do a self-check. Sometimes, I would just let the phone ring…I’d sit in the darkness and think. During those dark moments, not one positive thing about myself would come to mind. I’d sit there and think of all the failed relationships.I thought about all the bad things I had done, all the times I acted out while in a manic haze. I thought about all the times I didn’t want to be me…and those dark moments of suicide and it’s all because I didn’t love me. I hid behind my diagnosis because I didn’t love me. Ladies and Gentlemen, if you cannot love you…how can someone else? If you don’t value and cherish your self….what do your children see?

After much debate with myself, it came to me that the reason why I was so skeptical about becoming a mother is because one I DIDN’T PLAN IT ( I felt I needed to say that…AGAIN for good measure because everyone around me had PLANNED their babies LOL). Anywho the main reason I was skeptical/afraid/doubtful during my pregnancy is because I hadn’t fixed everything about me. I didn’t want to expose my children to MY unresolved issues of rejection, the ups and downs of bipolar, and personal demons. I felt that I didn’t have time to prepare for single motherhood which was something I never thought would occur. I thought that I ultimately did not have time to prepare for Erilyn financially WHILE maintaining my sanity AND deal with all my stuff. This drove me crazy!!!! I didn’t have anyone to talk to and after awhile I didn’t want to speak. What I didn’t take into account is that God used my unexpected pregnancy as a catalyst for change. He knew I would straighten myself up and DEAL for her!

Sometimes we can beat ourselves up so much that we show no mercy. For the most part, I didn’t love myself during this time because I had yet to forgive myself. I had to forgive myself for getting pregnant out of wedlock. Forgive myself for trusting people who showed no reason why they should be trusted. Forgive myself for putting so much emphasis on my control over my life when in truth…God has control. I had to be real with myself and the situation….it was then and only then that I started the journey of loving me. Once that journey began….I started getting…H-A-P-P-Y! Not happily single, because Lord knows I love that feeling of being WE, but content with where he has me, and allowing myself fall in love with me. I kinda like this “Single Erika” way better than past single Erika. That Erika jumped in and out of situations because I couldn’t stand the thought of rejection…the thought of being alone. The test came when I voluntarily took a ring OFF…ENDED the situation and did NOT CARE WHO HAD WHAT TO SAY! I didn’t care if I was in the Labor and delivery room alone…I knew I couldn’t be in a situation that was harmful on ALL Levels! It was not safe for me and MY daughter. I looked in the mirror after a very dangerous situation and I said…forget the fact that I had “just said yes” and that there would be questions….I simply did not care….I walked away and have been “alone” but not lonely since.

That’s not to say that my heart’s desire has changed at all because it hasn’t by a LONG shot! I still miss those yummy moments between someone you ACTUALLY love….the sound of someone genuinely infatuated with you and all your mess. The times were every moment consisted of thinking of that person….And I don’t have that…and I miss it. Especially now that I am mommy….I wish sometimes that when Erilyn does something silly I could witness it with my love by my side….ahhhh one day, but today doesn’t seem to be that day and it’s okay.

There are times when doing everything by myself becomes too much; I stop and pray for peace of mind before strength. I do this now because, I realized that I have the strength of a thousand men inside this little ole body. My soul has this…armor around it that cannot be penetrated, and my heart…my heart has been healed…the scars on my heart seem to fade, and that has yielded happiness mis amigos. I said all this to say….GET HAPPY! Do SOME WORK with YOU….don’t get so bogged down about what others think and try to compete with what you don’t know and understand. Do your work…get closer to God…become spiritually connected to something…anything that possesses positivity. Lemme tell you social media is a powerful tool… ya’ll better wake up and stop thinking a picture on IG tells the whole story or that a facebook status is the whole truth and nothing but the truth….but Im not gonna go there …ya’ll will figure it out on ya own….and also…. it’s none of my business

* Sips tea with Kermit the frog and hums …”because I’m happy”*

Can I get a refill?

I am crying as I type with hopes the post will be therapeutic. I stated in my last blog that I was in several transitions….. and it’s draining me. I am overwhelmed to say the last with new motherhood,  a new job,  grad school, and just managing Without meds.  After my wreck it seems as if everything is just a little harder too accomplish. The accident threw me figuratively and literally off track. I emotionally felt traumituzed and rejected when the truck driver decided to think less of me as a human and drive off. I felt empowered that I didnt take it lying down and chased him but I became angry. I was done internalizing crapolla. Even with the concussion and jacked body I didnt miss a day of work.  Dont get me wrong this was not easy to get done and to endure to ensure it’s all completed but im depleted. I have to put in more energy to do the simplest tasks.  One might say,  “well Erie you chose to start school with a newborn” and that is absolutely correct. I put off grad school for years. When Erilyn came I knew I had to do more to ensure she had a solid foundation even if its just me….in fact I seem to put more pressure on myself unconciously because its just me. Thankfully I have supports that motivate me….. im just tired….there I said it. I take full responsibility…..im human and I want to b and do everything. …but I cant and as i type the solution comes clear and while the tears still fall down my face I know the answer….I must get bk on meds….it hurts but its my truth. Im crying for relief….crying while in the shower to hide, when my dad and grace are dreaming…im crying a river that can easily become an ocean….and it might b the healthiest thing I can do for myself. Besides do what I hate to do which is call in a refill.. ..I ..may never knw why I go on and off my meds….why I still have a hard time coping. Why it feels so defeating to manage my bipolar.What I do know is that grace has motivated me to live….im the happiest I have ever been. Alone but not lonely most times. A believer whose hard headed…. a dreamer whose remembered to dream..  I gotta get on track. ..someone depends…On me, and there’s no room for an ocean of tears in the land of blessings. I talked with someone and they said something I hadnt thought about …stop praying for strength.  Clearly im a warrior and have proven this time and time again,  but pray for peace of mind and peace within my heart. So, thats my new goal in my prayers until then….lemme call the pharmacy *sighs big and wipes tears*………. …….. 

“Didn’t Cha Know”

I realized something about myself today….that I have known for some time, but do not like to admit. I despise admitting that I am hurt. When I tell my stories of being hurt I use so many ways to describe the feeling of hurt without saying the actual words,”I am hurting.” Welp, I am vocalizing now…I am hurt. I have been for some time now….Been feeling like my heart is bleeding and oozing from the stitches of a botched beginners sewing job. I have attempted to heal my heart with convincing myself that if I love unconditionally than surely….. my heart like most muscles will adapt, stretch, and eventually heal itself. I cry most times when I am able to while in the shower so that the tears are mixed in with the water and I feel the relief without feeling the pressure of being seen as weak. Sometimes I take baths and submerge my entire body…natural hair and all under the water and just sob…so no one can hear me…so they’ll be no questions from others and no mundane answers from me.

As I sit and type in frustration, I realize that I am not the person to heal my heart and that it takes time. I can’t “will it to be over” though I beg almost daily for the pain to go away….I sometimes beg God, “Please Lord heal my heart, and if it’s damaged beyond repair, Would you please grant me with a new one?” I have been praying this prayer for some time now, but to no avail it appears that I have the same raggedy “ticker.” Don’t get me wrong, becoming a mother has taught me that not only is my heart stronger than I thought it was,that my soul can handle more trauma, and that my tattered and bruised body…still exudes beauty… but that my soul is still somewhat pure. I have realized that I can love someone with every fiber of my being and expect nothing in return as a result of motherhood.If you ask me, In order to birth something a baby or a dream; one has to realize that the love stems from pure unadulterated love. Whether that’s selfish love, unconditional love, self-love, or love addiction. That love is also rooted in choice.

Hurt people….hurt people…it’s all cyclic and moves fluidly from person to person….situation to situation. When Love has the lasting remnants of pain present….there is no room for unconditional love. There will always be conditions of that love and every person you want to love. One will always think, “As long as you do…..ZXY then you have me….and I love you.” That’s a phrase we have all said I am sure at some point. It’s simply just easier to put conditions on love….to expect something back from putting in and/or investing yourself into said love. But that goes against the exact definition of unconditional love.

But I am hurt….I am hurting, and it feels horrible…The scars are beginning to scab and the wounds are being packed with dead tissue….and amazingly it still beats at an oh so amazing rhythm. It’s crazy because, Though I am the strongest I have ever been in my life emotionally at times I feel so weak that there is a feeling of a thousand sacks of sand on my shoulders and chest cavity. I feel like I can conquer nations after emerging from all that I have been through, but I also feel like I cannot take another heartache….I sometimes feel like if the wind blows just a little harder that I will topple over as I have no energy at times to plant my feet. I have also figured out that there is no need to break my heart again whether self-inflicted or not because I think its not possible….you cannot break something….that has never been repaired. So therefore, I hurt…. I am battered and I am bruised. That is my truth. And because I am intuitive and aware I don’t want to hurt others so I busy myself and hide my heart in hopes that one of these days it’ll heal completely. I smile a little harder, put a little more cheer in my voice and I quite the madness with whatever self-medicine I determine at the time. In the meantime, I pray That they’ll be no signs of forever trauma, that my heart… it will shine like a new pretty and possibly be donated to someone special for safe keepings of forever…..but that day is not today…and it pisses me off. I knew you didn’t know this, but I have to wonder….”Didnt cha Know?”

“Erilyn Full of Grace”

It has been ages since I last posted. In fact, yesterday was the first time I wrote something…for therapy and/or pleasure. I mean I complete my assignments for school,but other than that I just look at my notebooks, journals, and stare. I am still not sure of the culprit of why I have not been able to write. It’s not like I haven’t had the time or things to discuss *ponders*

Lately, I have been in the midst of transition after transition. I am settling into the world of mommy and …I love it. I was very worried that I would continue to have issues with bonding with my daughter, but I prayed the post postpartum depression (PPD) away. I almost felt like it was gone because I SAID SO, but I still have times when it just breaks my heart because I want to just “run and hide.” I know I am not supposed to admit it, but that’s how depression and PPD feels at times. I do make a conscious effort to touch my child….to hold her, breathe her scent, or just kiss her nose……and that feeling of uncertainty…the veil of depression lifts. She usually coos or talks to me in our own language and we go on in our little world.

Speaking of the transitions…and making things count…my gosh….it has been non-stop. I was still recovering from the emotionally and lonely pregnancy when I had this little living doll needing me….and me needing her. So, there was the transition of becoming more in control of my emotions despite the medication and therapy. The entire situation left me riddled with anxiety and then enter me going back to work. I finally made a decision to choose my health over…”helping the children” as if I was the only person who could “save” the mistreated and abused children of GA. I had to realize that I was just a vessel and that God is calling me to move on….and help in other ways STARTING WITH MYSELF. I walked away from my job…on faith. The transition started with my finances….just no money being there, but I like to think that I was prepped for that situation, because I never fretted for more than a second. It’s like my faith has become bigger than myself…..and much bigger than a mustard seed….more like an pear tree. I never ran out of money….never had a utility shut off. My child never wanted for essentials…and that is what kept me moving through yet another transition. It seemed that all of my enemies started giving unto my bosom….strangers felt the need to not charge me for this…. when there was a No…it became a Yes the next day.

To be honest, this is the HAPPIEST I have ever been in my life since giving birth.

This is what God was trying to show me when I was in the throws of anxiety when I was pregnant and wondering, “How will I care for Erilyn?” I know that for me, it was never a question of “keeping” my child, but I questioned HOW? One night though, when she came into my dreams as a baby girl way before she was officially Gracie….It was a glimpse of her and I, in the hospital room….alone. God spoke to me and said… I WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU. Little did I know that the moment would actually come to pass. Me in the hospital for 3 weeks before giving birth essentially alone. When Erilyn had to go into the neonatal unit to withdraw from MY medication, I didn’t sleep. I sat near her incubator with my IV pole,pain med packs administering medicines and prayed…and cried… and realized that the dream was coming into fruition. Walking up and down the halls after an emergency C-section praying and interceding for my baby…for myself….for our future. I knew that because I trusted him in that moment and followed his directive of giving Erilyn life that when that financial transition came…it would work itself out.

All, hasn’t been amazingly perfect. I have had my moments…but Grace! Even though this gorgeous being came out in true “diva like fashion” after 3 weeks in the hospital for Mental health reasons, 17 hours of labor, 2 epidurals, zero dilation…..she was just being EXTRA, but HE was not there. Her father…was NOT THERE. In that moment, I was so consumed in her being ok that I didn’t care.
Flash to now…. to a healthy and juicy baby girl at three months with the personality of a pageant queen and he still WAS NOT THERE… Not emotionally, spiritually, physically….I internalized that. I took the blame….I felt like I had to make up for it…on top of dealing with post partum.

I just kept it in. I didn’t want to be that “complaining victim” because ultimately it was my decision to have her despite him not wanting me to. I said nothing, but it showed in my face, in my posture. I would not “feel well” or was just overwhelmed with a newborn when that was far from the issue. I didn’t until recently pinpoint what the issue is/was. Before I knew it, the feelings started to seep out of my pores. I began to have clumps of hair fall out (this just started but my stylist is *BOMB*), I was running away mentally and I didn’t know how to deal. I caught myself self-medicating and I decided that I needed to reach out…get my feelings out to him to no avail.

So, I went back to Grace, I prayed…for her. Didn’t want her to be like me….still searching for who I AM at 28…..but then I realized she has only been here for a hot second. All she cares is that I cuddle with her at night, that she watches the Sprout channel uninterrupted in her magical chair (told you she was a diva smh) and that her bottle is warmed just right. This was not about her….but about ME and my continued issue with rejection. We went to take family photos and I broke down because this was not MY vision of a family, but I had to remember that it won’t always be like this….because of God and his GRACE.
I went to church as usual today and the message said to forgive even if that person won’t allow you to go through the actual motions of grief and letting go. Not everyone will say sorry, not everyone will accept their responsibilities, not everyone wants to do “the right thing,” Not everyone will give you freedom. It was reinforced that I have to forgive him for ME and forgive MYSELF for blaming me. After speaking it out verbally with my mouth today…. because he refused to answer the phone….I realized you know what…..I am free. I have everything I need….. a new job, new home, getting my masters in a budding career, my family, a handful of amazing friends, and I have the love of my life……named Erilyn Olivia-Grace….. My Erilyn Full of Grace.

So, I am going to try harder at getting back into my writing…..and work on that next book “Beautiful and Bipolar Plus One”….until then….continue to get it out…grieve the fairy tale….forgive, forgive, and forgive some more…that’s what Jesus Would Do….Right?

*yawns and scoots Mr. Bamboo out of the way to cuddle with Gracie*

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