Me too.

I want to preface this by saying that some of the content within this post may be triggering.

If at any point during this post you are not able to read more or you can resonate in some way with what I am saying, I am here for you. Last week, I was in Green Dot training, which was lovely because I got to get away from the office and wear whatever I wanted. Yay! for sweats and hoodies. Anywho, I decided to participate in order to become more knowledgeable about Green Dot and power-based personal violence and Green Dot focuses on dating/domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault.

Last week, the facilitators had us share why we were there and in what ways we were connected to the work they are doing. More importantly, how were we connected to the work that we wanted to do and are doing. We remained anonymous through this activity and at different points throughout the training the facilitators read what people wrote out loud. I sat there thinking, “will they read what I wrote? I hope they do not read what I wrote, I hope they do read what I wrote.” I had a mix of thoughts as I was juggling a past situation(s) in my head. When I think about one particular situation it feels as if it was yesterday, but more time has passed than I would like to admit without me truly talking about it and other situations along the same lines.

Was I sexually assaulted? I did not like what was happening, but I was not able to bring myself to say no and I did not say yes either. “It was not the worst situation I have heard of so does that really count?” I am battling with being in this gray area and that is the very reason why I sit here in front of this computer screen telling you today. One too many people have been affected by a harmful choice that was made. Maybe as you are reading, what you wanted to keep locked away is now at the forefront of your mind. Maybe you were in an uncomfortable situation that is within the gray area that you brush any thoughts and emotions around it aside like I have. Whatever the situation I am here to tell you, I believe you. I am here to tell you that I see you and support you. I am also here to tell you there are resources. 1-800-799-7233 (National Domestic Violence Hotline), 1-800-656-4673 (National Sexual Assault Hotline), 1-800-273-8255 (Suicide Hotline).

“Why am I here? because I am still here.”

That is the first part of what I wrote down on a green piece of paper that day for the activity.

They Never Asked

Dear [Insert Name Here],
They took a part of you they did not ask for
Who did they think they were?
No, was foreign to them and if you did not have the ability to say no your body language that said “I am uncomfortable” somehow told them yes
They took a part of you they did not ask for but you are not broken
Your body is nothing less than a temple no matter how much they tried to strip you of your armor
It is not your fault
I repeat
IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT
They took a part of you they did not ask for and it may feel lonely but you are not alone
They took a part of me and I never gave them permission
Did you know you could feel lifeless while being alive?
Did you know you could scream without being heard?
I became an object
Fighting to erase their images it is a connection I could not wash off
As I write this tears start to fall and I stare blankly
A feeling all too familiar, emptiness
They took a part of me they did not ask for but I am still here
They took a part of me they did not ask for and I have yet to face what happened because… well because it is easier to keep walking around putting tape over the missing pieces
They took a part of me they did not ask for and they will never know what it is like to live with this internal battle

They took a part of me they did not ask for

       and

I know

that I am

worthy of

                                                love.

Does Fear Have a Name?

There is fear and I want to know more about it. Why do I have this fear? does this fear have a name? Is it even fear or am I truly in a place that continues to stifle my creativity. I am in the middle of nowhere and reside in a place where I do not feel motivated. How do I stay motivated when I am in a place that does not feel motivating. Is it fear that I am not good enough? I have been telling myself these exact words, “I am capable, I am confident, I am worthy and so much more.” I know that this “more” rummaging inside of me is out there. I am not sure what that looks like, but I am trying to take steps forward. I am not sure if my steps forward are steps forward but I am doing something. Maybe the steps forward are steps I just do not know they are yet. I know I have more control than I think I have. How much control is it? Am I getting in my own way?

#QuestionsThatNeedAnswers …only I can answer them for myself.

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

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

Potential mediocrity meets the wandering mind: One-way stop

Have you ever felt like you are sitting in a place of complacency? Have you felt like changing your trajectory, but the steps to walk that way are unclear?

Maya Angelou said, “nothing will work unless you do.” So here you are trying to figure out what you want to accomplish next and looking for your next challenge to grow while climbing to leave a place where you feel mediocre. Maybe most of your connections are in one area and you are trying to figure out how to build a wider network.

What might get you the most is that you feel that you do not have anyone to talk to about where you would like to go next. Knowing that your journey is your own you still juggle the concept of time in your mind. Am I where I am supposed to be?

You want more for yourself and realize you have internalized messages that told you, who you are and how far you will go. Doubt at this point may have set in. Although doubt may have set in you use your mental power to combat those messages while letting yourself know that you can. Because you cannot spell “can’t” without “can” am I right? maybe not enough cans in one sentence.

As you continue your journey you come to a stop sign down a one-way road. Forward is where you want to be and behind you is where you are at. Thus, you are met with the inevitable notion of experience. Do you have enough? Do you have more than enough? You are expected to have this and if you do not you must teach yourself or be taught. You might ask, “why am I not able to jump right in? Sorry, it does not work that way and people have become too lazy with more trust in technology. Yes, we want people to have experience with something such as being a surgeon or do you want to hop on the hospital bed with someone wanting to “try it out”? My immediate guess is your answer is, no.

Whoever you are or wherever you are you get what you put out in the universe. Maybe it is not asking if you are where you are supposed to be, but making a statement that you are going where you need and or want to be. Maybe instead of complacency you are transitioning and want to be set when you may just be getting started. However, do not settle for mediocrity. Do not settle for the person society wants you to be either. Find yourself and find purpose through reflection. On your way do not forget to be present and enjoy where you are!

Be the one who turns the one-way into a four-way (all-way) and does not turn back

 

 

Relationships or lack there of: It is you, not me.

Relationships or lack there of: It is you, not me.

It is you, not me. I thought I was the reason why things were not working out with the guys I was trying to pursue. After awhile I would get to a place where I recognized it was not, but the continuous heartache did/does not change.

I still hold myself accountable to some degree. I do hold on hoping for something and I realized this is mostly not my fault. 

There was a guy I met at a wedding and as much as I was attracted to him I was interested in where he was going. Not to figure out if I would be able to be on that journey with him but learn from him as some part of me was questioning myself. As much as I pitched being a friend he was not having it. To me he is a creative which pulled me in. Fast forward (this did not last long) he said, “it is not like the feeling is not mutual. I recently got out of a relationship and you do not deserve to be the butt of someone’s baggage, you deserve more” I may have sent one more text to him after that and that was it. Mind you this was a year ago. 

Have you ever met someone you immediately decide to admire from afar? That was him.

Moving on to now I did not realize how much that message would help me. I kept trying to figure out why it seems like I keep stretching myself and getting left in the dust as I mentioned. I know, I KNOW I have something to offer. It was not about me holding on, it was about being dragged along with false hope. I could not step outside and see the situations for what they were. My point is if we can be adults and be honest then I have no issue turning the other way. 

Recently aka yesterday another guy I was talking to mentioned he is getting involved with someone, and I was thankful he decided to basically say “hey I am going this way.” Great!

At this point, I have sent a few messages to the past trying to get over pain that was still there. One of those conversations went better than I could have imagined but I was not surprised. This person and I were always able to stop whatever we were doing and have a conversation. Whenever I wanted to have a conversation it was when and where? Not that things stop for me all the time and I do not like lingering on issues and being ignored. However, I know everyone does not operate the same. 

That night I was writing in my journal debating whether to ignore the call when I saw his name. Just sending the message and being done would not have been enough for me and I know that deep down. He knew that deep down. I NEED ANSWERS lol. More than ever I recognize how important it is to lean into pain and not ignore it. None of that “I could care less, onto the next one” type of talk because that’s not me. In my opinion I need to give myself time to heal. 

Last week I started walking down that path and coming face to face with anything I need to deal with. It is not like I do not engage in healing and I recognize I always need to dig deeper. 

Everyday and always I need not forget that I am magic *hair flip

Know that you are a QUEEN and nothing else.

Does your effort match your dreams?

Does your effort match your dreams?

Does your effort match your dreams? Take a moment to sit with this question…

I was asked this question over the weekend, more like yesterday. The reality is that my effort does not currently match my dreams. I do not want to say I am comfortable because I have not been out of graduate school for a year yet.
I may have spoke about this in my first post, but majority of my life I have been in survival mode. I am not saying this is an excuse I am saying I now have the time to figure out who I am. Over the past couple years I have engaged in a lot of self-reflection stemming from my experiences growing up and how I show up in the world. The difference now is that I am looking at things that I have always loved to do and researching how I can make those things a reality for myself. 

Totally related and or unrelated depending on your perspective but I was in RESPOND Mental health training last week and a couple people came up to me inquiring about the same thing. They both asked if I had a counseling background. One of them was a counselor and mentioned (in so many words) that I have this way about me that says “counselor.”

Once upon a time, I wanted to be a counselor. Throughout the majority of my undergrad I was planning to get my masters in counseling and go from there. I have heard similar comments before so I at least know it was sincere. I no longer have plans to be a counselor and I asked myself, “does skill=purpose?” 

Naturally we have some skill, something we are good at that we can develop, and in other areas we need to work twice as hard to develop a skill. I am assuming Steph Curry had some game when he started ballin’ and then continued to develop that. He or someone else recognized his abilities and chose to beleive in him and he chose to beleive in himself. Thus, did he see that skill as his purpose? I guess I should ask if he sees basketball as his purpose in the first place. Likewise, I have a skill and or skills that a say “counselor” and I do not necessarily know if that is my purpose.

Back to my point about survival mode. I have been in survival mode majority of my life which did not allow me the opportunity to sit with myself, be with myself, and figure out what I would like to do with my life. Yes I had a goal and I had a passion for where I am at right now and something else is trying to send a message. 

I hope to use the next few months to dig deep and listen to what I am trying to tell myself. Listen to yourself and ask if your dreams match your effort. Don’t have “champagne dreams with beer effort.” 

More importantly do not let your need to stay afloat prevent you from getting to know who you are.