That one friend who moved far away

Can we talk about how making friends as an adult is hard? Making friends as an adult-introvert seems to be harder, but hard is hard. I have moved full-time into the professional world and majority of my friends have as well if they were not there already. I chose to go to graduate school to stall a little bit. I was still a professional and it is different when you are a full-time graduate student.

Friends! how many of us have them?
Most of you like me may have had undergrad/grad school give you plenty of opportunities to make friends. Depending on what your profession is and the location you may have the opportunity there as well. Unfortunately, not everyone has that luxury. On top of making friends, you have to deal with everything that goes into “transitioning” into your new position, home, and community. This transition looks different for everyone and after a few conversations, I recognize there are also similarities especially being a young black woman in the middle of nowhere.

Check on your friend who moved states
Instead of making a comment about how your friend should come back ask how they are doing. Now I know that a move is challenging for both parties in the relationship and the one who moved is experiencing challenges you may not know about or understand. I am particularly talking about those who moved and have no familiar faces (friends, family, romantic partner) around them and or many people around who look like them. I was always okay with moving until now. I did not know how much I needed a familiar face to be around, but they no longer live “down the street.”

Lonely, I’m so lonely, I have nobody to call my own **Akon Voice
Am I dating myself a bit with that one? If so you might want to re-read the Whodini lyrics, but you can slide because that was before my time.

The whole process gets lonely. You start to wish for that ride or die friend that would go and do anything with you or the friend who had no issue with you just pulling up to their house. Now I know we are all getting older and your friend may be in a place where they feel lonely and need that. I also know we are all busy yada yada blah blah blah. I and others need to stop using it as an excuse to not be good friends because the world is getting uglier and I have no shame in admitting I need my friends.

I have a friend here who I go and talk with frequently while at work but we have not put in the effort to hang out outside of work and one of my closest friends is married with 3 kids, my other close friend is a guy and you know how that can be. Because of what they have going on I cannot just say, “Hey you want to go to KC today?” or “you want to come over and watch a movie?” Transitioning into the professional world especially doing so in a new state is lonely. I am an introvert who is starting to get cabin fever in a small town with not much to do. If you know me you know how much I enjoy being by myself.

How is your love life?
My best friend asked me how my love life was going recently and the conversation went something like this…

BF: How is your love life?

Me: **Searching for my love life. lol it’s non-existent. Like literally. I know I say that sometimes and I flirt with ppl here and there but there truly is nobodyyyyy

searching

BF: Are you still on tinder lol

Me: I have it on my phone but I don’t go into it. I have soul swipe as well. I do not like going into tinder because it’s just a bunch of white guys.

BF: Lmao!!! that’s why I delete it!

Me: My hope is that when I move there will be more than just white guys. Most of them look like they are in the KKK. NOT TODAY SATAN. Soul Swipe is for the chocolate lol but there is a decent one here and there. I hate the fake flexing pics and just swipe to the left.

BF: What’s a fake flexing pic?!

Moral of the story is that there is no potential in sight or around me. Not having that I decided to take more time to reflect, heal, and appreciate my growth and I am still doing those things. I know that I have wanted to date and I truly feel like I am ready for the first time in my life. One year in the middle of nowhere can have some benefits.

“I got new rules, I count em” Dua Lipa

The one friend around the corner
Do not forget your friend who is not that far away because they need a friend too. I try to check on my friend Brenna, but I do not do so as often as I could. I am using Brenna as an example because she knows what I am talking about. We have had conversations around the challenge of making adult friends and being strong women who have pushed ourselves to be where we are now. She is in a profession where the only (well not only but mainly) thing in sight is a white man and I am in an office where I am the only young professional.

Check on your people. I know I could do a better job of this. If they moved away, appreciate their determination to experience something new. Aside from my close friends and a few family members I had no attachment to Colorado, no home. I lived in Colorado most of my life and at times I want to go back but every time something says “no, not right now” and maybe that “not now” means never. Moving has been lonely and particularly challenging when you put in more effort to see people than they do to see you. I still appreciate yall when you do check up on me, but lets be real you know what my place looks like because of snapchat. Before you go getting mad now that I have called you out, I know.

Go ahead and send that, “how you doing text?” and for some who may be thinking to send that, “hey big head” text, do not because us women do not have time for your games. #NEXT

Health Care or Lack Thereof: Listening to your body

Health Care or Lack Thereof: Listening to your body

Do you ever think about the worst case scenario? I think of it more often than I should. If it does not end up being the worst case scenario that does provide some relief. It is the worrier inside of me, which is not necessarily a good thing. For a period of time, I did not have health insurance. I would tell you a secret, but I do not want it to come back and haunt me. Having no insurance means I have formed a bad habit and that is not listening to my body when it is trying to tell me what’s up.

I just came from the dentist and I finally explained everything that I was worried about instead of going for my routine cleaning and bouncing. I let them know I have been dealing with some pain in my jaw for awhile. When it first manifested the pain was so excruciating that I couldn’t do anything let alone want to and would lay there with a heating pad against my neck. Because I felt the pain so intensely in my neck I assumed it was just my neck and started going to physical therapy. By this time I was on Medicaid because I would not even think about going to physical therapy having no insurance. I wouldn’t have been at the doctor’s office, to be frank.

Moving along two bottles of muscle relaxers later and a tube of something I cannot remember or pronounce I am sure and I am here. The pain subsided and it still shows up every day, but not as intense. Eventually, the pain came back full force shortly after I moved to Maryville. I decided to go to the doctors and made sure to think about everything I was going to say and not leave until I got an answer that made sense.

Rewind, before I decided to drop in and go I asked around first. I am in a small town, majority white people, and doctors are known for not treating their underrepresented patients fairly (some I should say). I ended up getting an answer that made more sense than what the previous doctor had told me and now I needed to find a dentist. Afraid to be treated unfairly I prolonged getting treatment (serious problem). Fast forward to today I went and got my answers.

Long story short its stress. It made sense considering when it first manifested I was depressed and trying to crawl towards the Miami University in Oxford, Ohio SAHE finish line. At one point getting out of bed was an accomplishment for me.

The lesson is to listen to your body when you can. The problem is that too many of us are not able to afford the proper health care when stress manifests itself in our bodies so intensely. On top of the money, I have to spend because I am grinding/clenching my teeth way too much I am also seeing a therapist/acupuncturist. Now I know that someone does not have to see an acupuncturist, but I am thankful I am getting sort of a 2 for 1 deal.

Another issue is that the medical industry needs to pay more attention to who they hire as nurses, doctors, etcetera and talk about how they can be more inclusive. I will add that we need to advocate for more underrepresented students that want to go into this field instead of bringing them down. It is not easy and we can do better at providing resources and supporting them. I know the conversation is happening somewhere, but more conversations and action need to take place. We have to pay the most for healthcare in the United States yet we have the shitiest healthcare (excuse my language).

In all of this just listen to your body when it is talking to you. Take the day off if you are able, go to bed earlier, workout, read, write, take yourself out (I do this all the time #IDATEMYSELF).

Love your body and be kind to it too.

P.S. my worst case scenario was that I would have to get braces as an adult and braces are expensive or that they were going to have to do something crazy to my jaw. Nope, just stress and a much less expensive but still expensive dentist bill.

**I do not have any rights to the picture used for this post.

SAHEcation: Orlando, Florida Edition

The other day I was enjoying the nice humid 91degree weather with a 40% chance of rain in Orlando, Florida. Palm trees, lake, and a strange bird was in my view that I have yet to identify. Nothing says vacay like 14 dollars and 57 cents left in your bank account. Why was May such a rough month financially? I guess I can say goodbye to my budget that went to sh*t. So I may or may not have been lucky to be there, but I am thankful. Because my recent need to get away for my mental health I have found my vacation fund depleted. For another round of, “where did my money go?” I will blame it on the fact that I live in the middle of nowhere and it was challenging to find rides to my various destinations this week and next week that I have found myself “ripped off.”

Where was I going with this?

Oh yeah.

Is there another version of “I got hoes in different area codes” that I could apply to my friends? Wait, they are not my hoes we just come from many places across the United Sates hence my desire to use area codes. Shoutout to Ludacris because that is essentially my life.

I enjoy traveling which is why it is a line item under “Savings” in my budget. I had the opportunity to see a friend who I have not had the chance to sit next to in over a year. His car got towed in the process, haha, talk about Hello! he is not mad so I feel like I can freely tell you all about this experience and laugh about it.

Grad school has provided me with more than an education. It has provided me with a great group of friends doing amazing work. I almost cried when I arrived when everyone got up to hug me and offered me a smile while shouting my name. I had a rough week and I want them to know I appreciated that moment more than I can express with words.

I know traveling provides you with a certain social capital that not everyone has the privilege of obtaining. At any rate, Florida is in the books, Colorado is next, and then Washington. Two new states in two weeks =)

“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind” Seneca

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram: @TheeKWard

It’s Lit: Professionalism microscope with a dash of sin

I do not know about you, but I like to have 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 drinks, before I know it I could be drinking a whole bottle of wine or tequila *wink. I am only kidding on the bottle of tequila, but whatever floats your boat as long as you are safe and within your limit.

I am 25 going on 26 and I am currently walking on a thin tightrope. Tightropes seem to be thin anyway, but I will leave the “thin” just for your wondrous imagination. I have moved into the full-time professional world and if you ask me, what is professionalism anyway? In many aspects, it tries to put you in a box and as you walk towards the box you hear a faint voice in the distance saying “assimilation… conformity” Who wants that? not to mention the classism among other things that come into play when talking about professionalism.

Moving into the professional world as someone who is young you may feel the watchful eye behind your back. Yes, we should all be great examples and we all want to live too and or just have a drink when we want to have a drink. Just because people do not see everything I do that does not mean I am better than the next person. I can be described as someone who has “no chill” and yes I am very much an introvert and rule follower. What is life without breaking some rules? just a life without breaking rules and therefore you do not get the opportunity to see how much they bend.

Breaking rules do not necessarily mean breaking the law or doing anything that could potentially get you arrested. That last sentence alone could have me go on a rant about the justice system, but not the time or place. Sometimes you have to break the rules to get to where you want to be or break your own rules so you can live beyond your comfort zone.

By saying I occasionally get drunk, have been high before, not a virgin, known to curse up a storm or whatever else you feel may be “unholy” or “taboo” is letting you know that I have indulged in things that some see as sin or unprofessional.

But again, what is professionalism anyway…

Yesterday I was told “No”

“I choose to be happy”
One of the many affirmation cards that sit on my desk. If I have learned anything in the past year it is this, it is okay to be patient until you get what you want. In other words, wait for the right fuel (I wonder how many times I have said this to myself and in my post already, I need a constant reminder). Coincidentally, as I lift the next card up it states, “It is ok for me to have everything I WANT.”

Yesterday I was told “No”
A normal response this time last year would be some feelings of discouragement. However, this time around I was happy, weirdly happy. Maybe it is not weird at all. I know that if I was told yes I would have continued a process where I was settling. A door was closed and I know that something better for me is waiting behind another door; as cliche as it sounds.

Moving to Missouri has been particularly challenging. Not the moving part, but what I have experienced while here. Despite the mental exhaustion and dragging myself out of bed each day, I do not think I made the wrong choice by any means. After a few hard conversations, I know a new chapter awaits.

My life is currently similar to the cursor I see on my screen. It is waiting for me to write my next chapter and the difference this time is that there is no script. The only guidelines are what I need to be happy, thriving, and my definition of successful.

Therefore, I leave you with this…

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us” supposedly said by someone named Joseph Campbell