Month 10 Week 4 – It Keeps Happening

“ It keeps happening TO me. It keeps happening FOR me” – Kierra Sheard

I have a very eclectic music selection. My playlist goes from gospel to country to hip hop to classical. While this may stress a lot of people it actually works great for me. When I hit play I believe I am meant to hear a specific song at a specific time. Yes you can say my phone is listening or reading my searches (it probably is). What I can tell you is usually when a song plays its exactly what I needed to hear at that point in time.

On a particular rough day this week I hit play and Kierra Sheard “Keeps Happening” came on. If you are not familiar with the song the beginning has her stating that things keep happening To her. She eventually changes her language and says things keep happening For her. That key word change screams at me each time I hear it.

When I am dealing with a bunch of crap I immediately flash to “Why is this happening TO me”? That statement alone is suggesting that it’s out of my control and the things that are occurring are bad. Suffering from depression it’s easy to fall into this woe is me trap. My husband is having some health issues, my child is having some adulting issues, my baby is asking me a million questions, and my friends are dealing with madness. Why is this happening TO me? My job keeps putting more on me, my staff is overwhelmed, my team is one step away from losing it, we are all working 12+ hour days. Why is this happening TO me?

With one switch the entire situation changes. This keeps happening FOR me. It keeps happening FOR me to make me stronger. It keeps happening FOR me because there is clearly a blessing on the other side. It keeps happening FOR me because I have to pause and take care of those around me before I take care of myself right now. It keeps happening FOR me because I need to put my family ahead of my career at this moment. It keeps happening FOR me because my team is strong than I realize and they are going to solve these issues without my help. It keeps happening FOR me because God is saying sit down

My life is full of ups and downs right now. It will always be. It will not be perfect, but it will be what’s its meant to be. What I won’t do is question and complain. What I won’t do is not realize I’m being prepared for something bigger and better. A good friend of mine came over this week and we talked about patience when it comes to God. God works on his time, not mine. I simply need to take things day by day and let him do what he does.

Thank you God for allowing these things to happen FOR me. Thank you for allowing me to learn lessons daily and get better, be better, and do better. I know it’s not going to get easier, but I’m going to be patient and follow the process.

The lesson this week was simply to BE STILL. To not stress eat bags of chips but instead reach out to friends who say exactly what I need to hear. I did not lose a pound this week. Well actually I gained a pound and lost it the same week. I’m going to let that be a wash. I’ve got a lot of weight work to do but the personal work is taking center stage. This journey started about weight but has completely turned into something else. I have no idea where this is headed, but I’m glad at least one person is along for the ride.

May Gardening Part 1

Outside of some very strong winds damaging a few plants I have been killing it on the gardening front.

I was a little scared about getting things in pots early because of Ohio’s notorious late frost, but I have to say I’m very pleased thus far.

Earlier this week I harvested some spring onions and spinach. My father in law cooked it same day and loved it. I was beaming because if you all remember last year I failed at spinach.

My secret this year was to plant the seeds early. I planted them in early March. I watched the snow fall on the plants and stared at the sad dirt pile for weeks. I thought there was no way this was going to grow. I was wrong.

I have been able to harvest six large gallon zip lock bags full of spinach. Last year I didn’t get not one leaf. I’m hoping this will be one of my best seasons yet.

Stay tuned for more updates

Planted thus far- cabbage, collards, spinach, peas, onions, garlic, carrots, celery, and potatoes.

Sorry no pictures of the spinach. I forgot to take pictures before I cut it.

Tiara Cabbage
Red Kalibas. Not container friendly I’ve learned

Month 5 Wk1 Yr2

“Walking is man’s best medicine” – Hippocrates

I use to run. I use to run half marathons. Saying it out loud makes me impressed and angry. The reason is that phrase “use to”.

Now I can’t walk 15 minutes without being winded. Running sounds crazy to me. The problem with this crazy is I want to run. I want to not only run one mile, but 13.1 miles in under three hours. Yes I actually did that.

This month along with my work team I decided to do a steps challenge. Counting steps makes me actually move even when I don’t want to. Last month was a water challenge and I know it’s hard to believe but I’m still drinking it. Now I’m adding on steps.

The goal is to again run a 5K. Hell the goal is to run, I don’t care how far. Sitting here typing that sounds so allusive but when I did it the first time I didn’t believe it either.

So why this new motivation? I wish I could tell you I got some crazy notion to do things the right way. Nope! I realized I have 5+ vacations planned this year. Add to that all the kids sporting events and all the activities and I know I need to lose weight.

My family has started bowling a few times a week. I’m sweating during the first game. Anybody at any weight can bowl. I’m just not trying to be drenched in sweat while doing it.

I want to do activities and not feel like I can’t move. I need my back not to hurt, along with my knee, neck, and feet.

Is this different from previous times, who knows. I will tell you I know you need motivation to get yourself together. Let’s pray this is my motivation.

On a very very very positive note I have been dealing with stress very well. The stress is not any less than normal but I’m better. I’m very focused and very excited about seeing what tomorrow brings. Today is 100% better than yesterday.

Month 4 Wk5 Yr2 -Bonus

Let’s Try Healthy

In all my years of losing and gaining weight I don’t think any food has given me as much stress as bananas. If you have low carbed or have diabetes you fully understand what I’m talking about.

One medium size banana has 105 calories and 27 carbs. I don’t know how many times I’ve questioned myself about eating a banana. Mind you I will eat chips by the handful but I panic at the thought of bananas.

On my last bout of neuroticism I had to laugh. I was seriously mad at myself for going over my carb count because I ate a banana. Again I needed to regroup.

I need to be healthy. I need to eat fruits and vegetables. I need to drink water. I need to move my body, and I need to practice some self care. I need to do all the things I’ve been screaming about for a year and a half.

Had I followed my own plan I would be down around 70 pounds. I would be at my goal weight. That alone makes me want to slap myself . Something that I know works yet I just didn’t do it.

This summer I have so many trips planned and the first thing I thought about was how soon I could lose weight. Yea I know, ass backwards.

With a heavy sigh I have to admit to myself that I need help. I need help figuring all this out. I need help from a therapist to work through depression and I need help from a friend to keep me on track with weight. I thought I could do it alone and truth is I can’t. I’ve finally reached out and got myself a support system. Truthfully they reached out to me.

Doing the same thing over and over is the definition of insanity. I was literally driving myself insane.

As I laid in my bed today not able to do anything except sleep I think the epiphany finally hit me. I can live like this forever, which is not living at all or I could do something new. I’m going to try something new, and I’m going to start with eating some bananas.

April Gardening Part 2

The Importance of Storage

Months ago I looked through all the seed catalogs to find out what I wanted to grow for 2022. The hardest part of that task was making sure I didn’t buy seeds I already owned. Between the catalogs, the stores, and my trip to M.I.Gardener I wanted to make sure I had a variety of each veggie.

I also wanted to make sure I actually recorded which varieties I liked this year. Last year I grew everything and just threw stuff together. I picked all the collard greens and cooked them together. I also picked all the cabbage and cooked it together. That really didn’t allow me to see what I liked, what grew well, or what I wanted to grow again. This year I needed a plan.

The first thing I needed to do was upgrade my seed storage box.

This year I opted for a two sided box. The compartments can be adjusted to hold various amounts of seeds. Before you ask, of course I got this off Amazon. You will also notice the seeds are in little jewelry bags and labeled with a sharpie. I put the name of the veggie along with the year I purchased the seeds. If I don’t grow all of a seed pack within two years I share the seeds with friends. Sharing is caring :).

Now back to the box. The best feature of this box so far has been the handle and how rugged it is. I’ve already dropped it twice and thrown it in my garden bag and the seeds have stayed put. There are two heavy duty latched on both sides along with a sturdy plastic frame. This box was meant to hold screws and nails so the plastic is thick. I noticed when looking at boxes made for beads they didn’t look as rugged.

The last thing you want to do while planting is fiddle around with seed packs. This method allows me to keep the actual packages in the house (I have a binder) and only take the seeds outside.

This year I plan to label the seeds I love along with seeds I don’t want to grow again. Why I didn’t do that last year I have no idea.

The theme for this growing season is organization and maintenance. Hopefully I can help at least one person to GROW SOME STUFF!

Hope you’re as excited as I am.

Month 4 Wk4 Yr2

“Slow Down” – L. Ross

I almost fainted last week. I was in Colorado for work and had just walked up one flight of stairs. Yes the one flight will be important in this story.

I stepped to the side to let someone walk past me and kind of stumbled on the wall. I then noticed my heart was beating very fast and then I was dizzy. Next I was sweating. This all happened in a matter of seconds but it felt like I was moving in slow motion.

Instead of stopping I stumbled into the bathroom. I remember telling the two people I was with I was headed to the restroom and made myself stay conscious enough to open the door.

By this time I was dripping with sweat. I made my way to the first stall and sat on the toilet seat. I began fanning myself with my hand while using toilet tissue to wipe the sweat from my face.

My breathing would not slow down. I laid my head on the wall of the bathroom and just sat there. I closed my eyes and just sat there. For 10-15 minutes I did not move.

If you are asking why I didn’t tell someone what was happening it’s because I was embarrassed. I was embarrassed that I was about to pass out from walking up one flight of stairs. I was embarrassed that I would be larger than the last time I was in town. I was embarrassed that I had in my mind failed again.

I blamed the thin Colorado air and the altitude. I blamed myself for not drinking enough water. I simply blamed myself.

I told my husband the next day and he simply told me to slow down. He also told me to workout. He said when he thinks about giving up he thinks of the family and keeps going. That hit me hard.

There are moments that either make or break you. There are moments when you either decide to get your shit together or keep doing what your doing.

I’m praying this is a moment that I get my shit together.

Current weight 282

This is due to traveling and that damn time of the month. I wanted to lie and tell you my weight had not changed. Crazy on a blog in which I’ve poured my heart out I still cringe when I post a gain. I’ve still got a lot of work to do. This blog has not at all gone the way I thought it would. I hope you all are still rooting for me. I need that support right now.

Month 4 Wk3 Yr2

“You never know what someone else is going through” – Unknown

Not sure if I mentioned it but we did a girls trip a few weeks ago. As part of the trip we dropped by and visited my good friends niece who attends an art college.

I walked through their school in awe. As part of their classes they display their work all over the school. The students have small studio spaces where they keep supplies and various art in different stages of completion.

To say these student were talented would be an understatement. The talent of that small space made me again have hope for the generations after me.

Their artwork said something. The messages were powerful on so many levels. You could see pain, joy, loss, wonder, and every emotion in between.

On a wall in a loft space I saw the picture posted below. If you read any of these lines on their own you don’t get the message. Reading “I am nobody” makes you feel sad that someone doesn’t feel worthy. If you read “Nobody is perfect” you feel an excuse is being made. Reading “Therefore I am perfect” makes you think their is some arrogance from the speaker. Only when all put together do you see the heart of the message. “I am nobody. Nobody is perfect. Therefor I am perfect”.

We are all like this message. Taking one segment of our lives out of context gives the wrong impression of who we are. I am not just African American, nor am I just a wife, mother, daughter, or friend. I am not just an employee, a student , or a person who fights depression and weight loss. I am all of these things and when put together they make up who I am.

This week I didn’t fight who I was nor did I try to change me. I loved me, all of me for exactly who I am. Until we learn to love ourselves as we are, we will never love ourselves once we turn into who we are trying to be. Yes you can read that last sentence again.

This week honor yourself. Be grateful for all that you have and hopeful for what’s to come. I am turning the corner on this journey and loving every step. Yea sometimes I’m stepping in dog poo or mud, that’s life. Learning that dog poo and mud can be washed away is where I am now. My anxiety can be washed away when I choose to focus on the good.

Current weight 279. No loss, and no gain. Well I gained a lot of insight. when I figure this out I’m coming out swinging and everybody better be ready.

April Gardening Part 1

This weather sucks in Ohio. There is no other way to put it. We started one week at 70 degrees and by the end of the week it was snowing.

I told you all a few weeks ago to put seeds in the ground and I know you are now sitting here thinking “I’m glad I didn’t listen to that crazy lady”.

Well you should have listened lol. While the temperature is dipping the garden is starting to come alive.

The peas and spinach have sprouted through no help from me. I dropped the seeds in, watered, then walked away. I haven’t watered them since which is why the soil looks dry in the pictures. Mother Nature on the other hand had dumped rain and snow since these pictures were taken yet these veggies continue to grow.

Tip- throw some seeds in the soil and see what happens. If it doesn’t grow, plant them again. Don’t stress. Let’s just Grow Some Stuff.

The peas have sprouted
As well as the spinach
I also have some Early Jersey cabbage started.

Month 4 Wk1/2 Yr2 Pause

“Pause for a moment and reflect” – Unknown

I missed posting a blog for the first time in over a year. I realized last Sunday I missed it then got busy and never made my way back. In the mist of my panic to try to catch up I decided I would just Pause.

I’m not going to stop blogging, but I’m going to pause and appreciate the good in my life before diving head first back into challenges.

The reason I missed last week is because I have two wonderful friends who kidnapped me for some much needed rest. On a typical vacation of go go go we did nothing but sit in our nice hotel. That was the best 72 hours I’ve had in a long time.

The other reason I didn’t make up the post and also missed the gardening post was because we have implemented family bowling night. I didn’t realize how something that small would change our family. Each time we high five for a strike or even a missed spare I smile with pride looking at my boys.

These are moments I can never get back so I’m going to enjoy them.

Not losing sight of my ultimate goals I am still tracking everything I eat. I am also about to join a work water challenge. Having someone else come up with these fantastic ideas is probably what I need for awhile.

This is the part where I wanted to lie, but I’m not. I was 267 before the depression kicked in. During this spiral I ate. I ate a lot. I ate my way back up to 285. I ate to numb myself and I ate to not focus on the madness around me. In the past two weeks as I found my way back the weight is coming off again. It never amazes me how easy it is to put weight on yet how hard it is to get weight off.

Current Weight 279.

I’m not happy with that number, but I know it could be worse. I know I have some work to do, and as always I’m willing to do it.

Bonus – Mint Growing Guide

“It is the destiny of mint to be crushed” – Waverly Root

When I started my garden I had no intention on growing herbs. I had nothing against them I was just so new to gardening I didn’t want to chance messing it up. My father in law changed all that.

My father in law told me that he liked having a cup of mint tea everyday. He said he was not having it as often because mint was expensive. He then asked me if I could grow it?

“Of course” was my answer. You will soon learn this is how I started growing almost everything. It makes my father in law happy thus making me happy. Unicorn Crossing is referred to by my father in law as “our garden”. That always makes me smile. Moving on…

So in my normal fashion I set out to learn how to grow mint and this is what I learned.

1. Buy a mint plant. Mint can be grown from seed but why bother. A plant cost about $3 and it will last years. Not only do you get instant mint but it spreads like crazy so you will always have fresh mint.

2. Try new flavors. I didn’t realize how many different types of mint there were and they all taste great. In my garden I grow spearmint, peppermint, chocolate mint, mojito mint, and pineapple mint.

2. Put mint in a container. As I stated mint grows like crazy and takes over everything. If you put this in your garden you will grow nothing but mint. I’m sure that is not your goal. Simply fill your container halfway with soil, drop your plant in, and cover with soil. I would select at least a one gallon pot or larger. It depends on how much mint you would like.

3. Prune mint often. Cut longer shoots leaving about two inches from the stem. Don’t worry, it will grow back with a vengeance.

4. At the end of the season cut your mint plant back to one inch. Cover the plant with mulch or soil. The plant will survive the winter. I put all my plants in my garage over the winter.

5. Do not fertilize or even care for mint. This is one of those plants that actually like being neglected. Just makes sure it gets water if it’s looking a little sad. If it dries out don’t worry. Add water and it will bounce back.

Note – you can do this with the following herbs: rosemary, thyme, sage, chives, oregano, parsley, basil, lavender, coriander, lemon balm, tarragon, catnip, dill, fennel, sorrel, chervil, bay, German chamomile, winter savory, and meadowsweet.

So put all these herbs in pots. Store them in your garage and they will provide you with herbs year after year with one sowing.

Before pruning m. I just let it over winter.
After I cut back on the madness. Look at that growth. FYI- next year I will have to either go up a pot size or split up the plant. Notice all the stems. I probably should do it this year but I’m being lazy.

Month 3 Wk4 Yr2 – Black People Don’t Get Depressed

“I do have anxiety, and it is part of my experience” – Lizzo

I remember when I was younger I use to hear my grandmother and aunts talk about nerve pills. They talked about them as casually as you talk about Tylenol. No one even batted and eye. What I learned by these actions was taking nerve pills was ok because everyone did it. They did it because people got on their nerves.

When I got older and started to suffer from what I now know is depression and anxiety I mentioned this to a few members of my family. I was trying to be perfect at everything. I would get extremely sad for no reason, or I would sleep for two days. What my family told me was that “I was working myself too hard”, or “I would get through this”. Not once did anyone even utter the words depression or anxiety, so I kept waiting to get through whatever “this” was. They also did not mention these famous nerve pills which I wish they had because they were getting on my nerves.

In college it got worse when my mood would swing suddenly. I was always sad. Everyone around me kept saying they were normal but I just felt off. I saw my first counselor in college and was diagnosed with depression.

When I went home to tell my family I was quickly told “Black people dont get depressed”.

If I wasn’t a mess before I was certainly a mess now. It was a white lady who told me I was depressed so maybe she was wrong. I was struggling with identity issues in high school and college so again maybe they were wrong. My first real boyfriend told me I was a “white girl trapped in a black girls body” so maybe I was displaying this white girl disease. I had no idea what to believe, so I ignored it.

Guess what happened? It got worse and a few years later I eventually broke. It’s been 17 years since the break and while each day gets easier it does come with its challenges.

Let me tell you some of the things I’ve learned and hopefully they help some of you, while continuing to help me.

I had to learn that problems are going to happen daily. I just have to learn to deal with them. That was the easy part. My problem is, in my mind I’m trying to solve a million problems at the same time. My mind eventually gets pissed and shuts down then decides to take my body with it. The solution is recognizing what’s happening and slowing down.

I also learned that no one person is responsible for my issues nor can they solve my issues. YOU DO NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE. Stop trying to fix stuff yourself. Obviously your brain can’t fix this issue so let someone help you. Only you can finally solve your issues, but there are people who can help you along the way.

The last thing I learned was that Black people DO get depressed. Depression has no color. Depression doesn’t care about who you think you are, or how strong you believe you are. Depression basically says “Fuck your feelings”. Depression is that beast that just doesn’t go away and likes to rear its ugly head from time to time.

I’ve yet to meet a person who has beat depression. What we like to say is “My story is not over;” That is the most important thing.

Let me be clear. We are all placed here for a reason. You may not know that reason, but there is a reason. It is not your place to remove yourself from this world and rob someone of your joy. I’ve gone on to be the mother of two wonderful children. I have a husband who loves me. I have lifelong friends and I have coworkers who are amazing. Guess what? They all get on my nerves and that’s ok.

If you are Black, Hispanic, Asian, White, yellow, green, blue, pink, or teal, you can get depressed and that is ok. There is nothing wrong with you are you are here for a reason. You are amazing and believe me someone loves you.

As this month comes to a close and I evaluate my mental health I’m 100% in a better place than when I started. I realize that I needed to take this break and take care of myself and that is ok. Maybe I was just reacting late to the Winter Blues but I’m ok.

Oh and let me say I’m never embarrassed or ashamed of talking about my mental health. If you have questions ask me. Hiding and pretending like I’m ok is what got me here. I refuse to go back to that place. I’m going to continue to love myself and grow into the person I’m meant to be.

This tattoo hurt worse than any other I have, but the meaning is so strong it was 100% worth every year.