Life is a marathon, not a sprint…

…and it’s okay to walk when you get tired, just as long as you keep moving forward.

It’s been one of those days where the lupus is trying to wrinkle up my Wonder Woman leotard and I started to get the sads. But alas, I’m fighting as I always do and this too shall pass. I hope it passes quicker than my husband’s gas, but look, it’ll pass so I’ll take it.

Rather than do some disingenuous humblebrag, I’m going to straight up gloat. I have a FANTASTIC support team. I mean fantastic like the super strength Spanx that you wear under your good freak’um dress that make it look like you’ve been hitting the gym hard, when in fact you’ve been doing little more than eating all the things in the fridge while binge-watching Orange Is The New Black. This crew gets me through thaaaangs and reminds me that sometimes just smiling is a victory that should be celebrated.

There was a time when I felt like I had no support team. Hell, I didn’t even have myself

to lean on. Things were dark, yo. But then came this blessing in disguise called Lupus, and out of the woodwork came some great people. It’s true that your best friends are found during crises, but only to a point. The truly good ones are there after the crisis ends to throw shade on the ones who talked mess about you while you were going through it. And they come in the most unlikely places — Facebook, the dog park, work, wherever.

With that said, fighting gets tiring. I really wish I could say that I wake up every day ready to throw some whoop ass at my health troubles, but it’s not always that simple. I’m lucky to have what’s considered a fairly mild form of the disease, but I’m not free from related health challenges. Sometimes I do feel like I just want to sit the rest of the game out and watch from the sidelines. And I do. And then I feel guilty. However, a very wise friend said something to me today that just clicked. It started with an old cliché and ended with something I’d never heard.

“Life is a marathon, not a sprint and it’s okay to walk when you get tired as long as you keep moving forward”

For some reason, the last piece just resonated with me. It really is okay to walk when you get tired. We spend so much time trying to be everything and do everything that we get tired, but as long as you don’t stop trying, you’re in good shape. That’s advice that goes for everyone in every circumstance. Sometimes it’s good to walk even when you’re not tired because you need to reset your life GPS. We grind, we hustle hard, and sometimes we lose sight of why. Taking some time to walk rather than run to the next thing gives you a chance to regroup and reanalyze why you do what you do and also allows you to change course if that’s what you need to do. The finish line is the same for all of us, don’t be afraid to walk if you get tired.

The ABCs of Me

This meme has been going around the interwebs for a hot minute, but I figured I may as well get in on it:

A. Age: I was born early in the Reagan Administration…

B. Bed size: Queen

C. Chore you dislike: Loading the dishwasher

D. Dogs: Moe, a great dane/lab mix puppy that we’re getting in a few weeks

E. Essential start to your day: Shower, prayers, and a cup of either coffee or yerba mate tea

F. Favorite colors: Pink, purple, and green

G. Gold or silver: Silver or platinum

H. Height: 5’7”

I. Instruments you play(ed): Piano

J. Job title: Senior Manager, Credentialing Program

K. Kids: Not yet

L. Live: Maryland, DC Metro

M. Mom’s name: Brenda

N. Nicknames: Tasha, Tash, T, Punkin, Niki

O. Overnight hospital stays: I have Lupus, so yeah…me and the hospital have been best friends at times

P. Pet peeves: Ungrateful people; when people stop the microwave before it gets to zero and don’t hit clear. If I see a microwave with a few seconds left on the clock and no food inside, I will hit the clear button each and every time

Q. Quote from a movie:  “I was at a funny angle!” -Snatch

R. Righty or lefty: Righty tighty

S. Siblings: 1 brother, 2 half brothers, 10 step-siblings (who are just as close as blood siblings)

T. Time you wake up: 6:17 AM, I know I’m weird like that

U. Underwear: Yep

V. Vegetables you don’t like: Radishes

W. What makes you run late: Misplacing my cell phone

X. X-rays you’ve had: More like what have I NOT had x-rayed. I was a clumsy teenager who played sports and danced competitively…broken toes and fingers and foolishness

Y. Yummy food you make: Broiled plantains with cinnamon and vanilla glaze

Z. Zoo animal you like: Polar Bears

 

 

 

Relating to the ‘rents

Another post topic taken from the list, again in no particular order. This one is day 3 on the list if anyone is keeping up. Topic at hand, describe your relationship with your parents. It’s no secret on this blog that my parents divorced when I was about three years old and both have remarried. That leaves me in essence with four parents, so I’ll describe my relationship with each one.

My mother

Mother’s Day was this past Sunday and I did a post about her so you can see just how imporant she is to me. After my parents split, she got sole custody of my brother and I so I grew very close to her. She was strict without words–my brother and I hated to disappoint her because she’d pretty much stop talking to us outside of the necessary stuff when we messed up. She held extremely high educational standards for us, which I’m grateful for to this very day. As a teenager, I hated her standards so I acted out in ways that I won’t go into right now, just to assert my independence. Eventually seeing her disappointed in me took hold and I got it together. As a young adult I think she struggled to see me as an adult so she made a big deal about me being her baby. She had grown so used to caring for her children that when I left the nest she felt like she wasn’t needed anymore and thus tried to baby me to death. By the time I hit age 25 or so, she started treating me like an adult and we started talking about things on a more grown up level. I realized that we have similar senses of humor and she’s not ashamed to ask me for help with things like picking a new car or buying a computer. We’re very close now and do a lot of learning from each other. I’m grateful for that. We talk just about every day or at least every two or three days, even if it’s just a text to check in. Some of my friends have toxic relationships with their mothers (a post for a different day…I’m an opinionated woman you know) and I’m glad to have that openness with her. She’s recently started reading this blog and I still say the same stuff I’d say before…not censoring cuz my mama’s lurking. *waves* Hey mama!

My stepdad

My mom and stepdad have been together for just about 18 years, and got married after 4 years together. I was a very young teenager when they got together but I never felt threatned by his presence or any resentment toward him. I call him Daddy and he calls me his daughter. Matter of fact, some of his friends don’t know that I’m not really his biological daughter. He moved upstate with my mom from NYC a year or so before they got married and he took the step to ask me, my brother, and all of his kids how we felt about them being together long term. His concern for our feelings was great. He gave me advice about dating and taught me the ways to spot a player (thank you, Daddy!). Now he and I are just about as close as me and my mom. He has made it a point to always let me know that he’s not trying to take the place of my biological dad, but for reals…Daddy raised me, and Daddy is who I danced with at my wedding. I’m his youngest and a girl, so he’s very protective of me which is a nice thing to experience. When he comes to visit me and D, he always has to do something like prune our hedges or mow the lawn or fix a broken window screen just so he can put his “Daddy stamp of approval” on things. ❤ that man.

My father

Well, ain’t much to say ’bout it. He’s been a spotty presence in my life, not always beneficial, and not always honest. Until I was about eight years old he used his opportunities for regular visitation so we were fairly close. But then he moved and he stopped calling as much, started forgetting birthdays, and yeah…being the typical child-support paying, phone-it-in kind of father. There are some things I was angry about with him, but I’ve let forgiveness in so I don’t lose sleep at night over it. He made it a point to come to my wedding, but it may have caused more ruckus than necessary. He has a young son and when we talk on the phone, he makes a point to tell me thta he’s trying to be a better father to his young son than he was to us. There’s supposedly an older brother that none of us have met but he doesn’t speak about. My mom apparently made sure he sent the child support payments until they finally started coming back marked ‘return to sender’. It’s hard for me to sum up our relationship in a small space, so I’ll maybe get it together to explain in more detail. All I can really say is our relationship isn’t bad, it isn’t good, and I’m okay with it.

My stepmother

I’ve met her a few times, spoken with her on the phone maybe three times. I’ve heard a few stories. However, I don’t know this woman. “Harpo, who dis woman?”, is what I say to myself when people mention her. Only on a technicality (her being married to my father) is she my step mother, cuz lawd knows she hasn’t done any mothering for me.

Stupidity is a Disease…

After reading this story about a woman being charged with felony child endangerment for taking her six year old daughter to tanning salons. The interwebs is abuzz with the story, of course. I sincerely hope she didn’t put the baby in the tanning bed with her, especially since her daughter is a fair-skinned redhead. All the fair-skinned redheads I know say they don’t tan, but instead burn (I have no experience with suburns, so I have to go with what others tell me). Anyway, I saw the mug shot and I was like, “Umm…no. Not cute”, but then I saw a taped interview she did and this is what she looked like:

“Doo doo brown” means something completely different to me now. My girl looks like a 75-year old catcher’s mitt or a pair of old riding boots that have been polished to within an inch of their lives and left out in the sun to dry. I’m not sure if she’s that dark in the video because of makeup or what, especially since she looks a bit lighter in her mugshot. No matter what, that shit ain’t cute. People keep talking about tanorexia, but word? Ma’am, you don’t see your face looking like a pair of broke down cowboy boots? You don’t notice that your daughter is 50-11 shades lighter than you? Is this the opposite of what Michael Jackson was suffering from?? He just kept getting lighter, likely because this woman was sucking the black off of him in the middle of the night. Melanin vampireress.

Now she’s lashing out at people and saying that anyone who doesn’t agree with how she’s living is fat, ugly, and jealous of her. *scratches head* I didn’t have to get my melanin from a tan bed. I was born with it, and I have all my teeth. So I guess her theory is busted.

I don’t have many words for this one. All I can say is the tan booth has fried her damn brain cells. I hope the authorities find out just what happened with her daughter and remove her if needed. And for her sake, I hope she can stay out of the sun for a while. Shoe polish brown isn’t a normal skin color, boo.

Busted Up

For the last few years I’ve had a really rough time with TMJ. My jaw locks and clicks and pops…sounding much like a bootleg bowl of Rice Krisipies when it wants to. For years there was no pain involved, just the annoying noise and occasional lock up. Fast forward to last year. I was in paaaain and my jaw would just lock closed for inordinate amounts of time. One day it was stuck closed for 6 or 7 hours. The lockups would send me to the ER or urgent care and I’d be sent home with an Rx for painkillers and instructions to follow up with my dentist.

I never took the last part seriously until one day my jaw got locked open. I had to ride train home with my mouth wide open looking like I was either trying to catch flies or prepare myself for the bl*w job olympics (sorry, my mind is crazy raunchy today…blame the painkillers). I made a beeline for the dentist who sent me to the oral surgeon. Of course, just before Christmas, I had to have surgery. I was fine with it though…no more popping, clicking, locking, or pain. I thought I was cured forever but I should have known better.

Over the last few months, I’ve been experiencing soreness and fatigue in my jaw. I’d wake up in the morning feeling like I’d been chewing stale gummy bears all night. I knew I was headed back down the road to oral surgeryville but figured I had a few months before things got crazy. On Saturday morning, though, I woke up and I couldn’t get my mouth open at all. Like –” ma’am you’ll be drinking your meals through a straw type” stuff. Of course the oral surgeon isn’t open on the weekends and one emergency phone call later, I was headed for the urgent care yet again. Of course the urgent care can’t do anything but give me muscle relaxers and pain meds, so I was really on my own for the weekend. I had to grab hold of my face and actually move my jaw around so I could eat. D wanted to get ice cream so I was at the ice cream place looking like crazytown holding my face and mushing the stuff around my mouth. *I half think he took me there to embarass me as a way to get back at me for making him clean out the garage*

So anyway, I was FINALLY able to get to the oral surgeon yesterday. I figured he’d inject some medical-grade WD-40 in my jaw and send me on my way. Absolutely not. “Ms. Natasha, I’m going to have to operate on that right now”. With those words I saw pain, more pain, and dollar signs. After watching his secretary assault my credit card (because they make you pay up front and will send the claim to your insurance to have you reimbursed), I went back.

An IV of whatever anesthesia and an hour later I was done. The surgeon said, “Wow! I basically had to break your jaw to get things realigned. You’ll be really sore for a day or so but you can go back to work when you feel ready.” The secretary looked at me and said, “yikes” as I was being wheeled out of the office. That right there let me know that I wouldn’t be going back to work today.

So here I am, still swollen and looking like I went twelve rounds with a lead pipe. The painkillers I got plus naps on the couch are like little pearls from heaven for me. I’m working from home thankfully and my boss said, “I’m going to need you to stay home” after I sent a picture of myself post-surgery. I’m not sure if I should be offended or not!

Anyway, I’m finally getting through some things on my nook (so much for working, right?) and I believe it’s about time for another couch nap. Happy Wednesday 🙂

 

So this is what I’m doing today…

I was about to come up in here and write something pseudo-serious, but then I remembered it’s Friday. And (not) payday. So I ain’t wanna do alladat. So instead I went ‘cross the street from work and picked up a couple of these:

 

Yeah, a (small) fistful of Me.ga Millions tickets. I know I have a snowball’s chance in Hades of winning the jackpot, but lemme tell you…whoooo….if I did, it’d be lights out for employment. I love my job, but I’d start a non-profit so I can do the work I love without the corporate clog up at the top. I’m not sure how I’d leave, but I’d make sure to go out with gusto. Like photocopy my ass and draw lips on the page and send it to Human Resources kinda ish. And please believe I’d be completely incog-negro cuz I don’t want people to come out the woodworks talking, “Aye, we were in that play in Kindergarten together. Do you ‘memba? Yo, can I hold a couple dollas till I get my check next week?”

It’s hard for me to fathom being responsible for that kinda money. Like, yeah I took some time and got my own stuff together over the years, but that much? I dont’ have the slightest idea ’bout what to do with it except spend it. And I know better than that, after all there’s some book or something out that explains 9 out of 10 lottery winners lose all their money within 5 years. I’m not going out like that. So yeah, yearly payout for me. Might not be as sexy as swimming in my millions like Scrooge McDuck, but at least I won’t be broke.

Maybe at lunch, I’ll go buy myself a few more, from a different store. You know the hood theory about getting your tickets from different neighborhoods….yeah, I’m gonna try that. My limit is $10 on this mess though, you know I’m cheap frugal. I will NOT be that woman taking up three hours at the gas station talkin bout “Did you run all my sheets through??? I want them nummas straight AND box! You hear me?? Straight AND box!!”

If you see a black woman wearing sunglasses, holding a giant check in front of her face, and doing the Dougie/Pass Out on the news this weekend, go ahead and assume it’s me.

I Ain’t Dead!

So my faux new year’s resolution was to post more often and give more attention to this here blog. Well of course that didn’t happen, but this time it isn’t my fault. For some jammed up reason, I haven’t been able to log into wordpress for over two weeks. I was finally able to get it resolved today. When I got in here, I expected to find that the spam crypt had exploded. Luckily, that didn’t happen and all is just fine.

Anyhoo, I suppose I should catch up on what’s been going on in my little corner of the world since I really dedicated any time to writing. I’m still working in DC and still battling the hellish commute, but I still love my job so I keep on commuting. I was promoted in September but I still have the same staff to manage and most of the same responsibilities and most of all the same pay, so I think they just handed me a title to shut me up (I wasn’t complaining about my old title, but ehh). I heard something about raises this year, but if they come great — if not, I’m happy just to have a decent paying job in this economy.

D is still D. Doing what D does. (Does that qualify as a limerick?). He goes out and fights crime at night, then comes home and is a great friend/hubby. We been married a good while now and I still don’t have any major complaints. Mama-in-law, you raised a good one.

We still don’t have kids, although D may be getting a K-9 parter soon so that will be our kid. If a human kid shows up, the K-9 will still be our furbaby. We’ve decided not to take the whole trying to conceive thing too seriously for now. We’re enjoying traveling and hanging out just the two of us, having separate activities, exploring our interests and the like. When/if there’s a baby, that’s great. God’s got this one. I may revisit that in a year or two, but for now we’re staying away from the TTC stress. I see too many people bugging out about it (not that it’s a bad thing to do that). I’m well informed about my body and its potential fertility limitations, due to having a mom who is a labor and delivery nurse and also because my OB/Gyn is so helpful, so I’m confident going the route we’ve decided to go.

In July 2011, I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). I was going through a period of EXTREME pain for about 7 weeks before I was diagnosed. I was lucky because some people have those periods and don’t get diagnosed for years. The disease runs in my family, so I’m not surprised about it. Luckily,  I don’t have the kind that causes the “mask” that most people associate with Lupus. There are actually a few kinds of Lupus. The one I have is more generalized so my symptoms tend to affect my entire body rather than just a small portion. It’s an autoimmune disorder, so I have to be careful not to stress myself out too much. Any extra stress on my immune system can lead to an  INCREDIBLY painful flare up. I was actually in the hospital on Monday of this week dealing with a fonky flare as I call it. I’ll go into more detail about the disease another time, but suffice it to say that isht is horrible at times. I’m grateful for it though because I’m forced to be good to myself and take better care of me. So while some people are like “ooh, I need to keep this vanity 5 lbs off”, etc. I’m like “if I don’t stay in shape it could be lights out for me”.

There is so little awareness about Lupus; we don’t have three-day walks and celebrities with cute shirts so we don’t rake in money for research like other diseases. We have Toni Braxton and that’s about it. She’s an awesome spokesperson, don’t get me wrong. We also have Venus Williams who has Sjogren’s Syndrome which is a lot like Lupus, but again it’s another disease entirely so we don’t get much hype in the media. It took me a while to figure out that our “color” is purple and our “mascot” is a butterfly. So now I rock purple as often as I can (luckily it’s also one of my favorite colors), and I’ll be training for a local 10k to be held in a few months to raise money for the Lupus Research Institute. I’m lucky my Lupus is fairly mild; there are some people who are unable to work. I do get completely exhausted sometimes though, so now I keep a cot in my office that I can take a snooze on if I need to during the day. My job is so totally supportive of me, it’s great.

Outside of those things, not much has been going on in my lil world except for school. I’m a semester and a half away from being done with grad school and my evenings are nothing but homework. I know in the end it will be worth it, so I’m pushing on. I’ve had a hard time finding a groove with work, school, managing my home/hubs, taking care of my lupus, and now blogging again. But I think it’s possible. Here we go…