When people pleasing goes wrong

I almost gave myself a mild panic attack over absolutely nothing.

I am a perpetual people pleaser and yesterday it reached new levels.

After a conversation that pretty much ruined my evening, I slept fitfully. I woke up exhausted with a persistent knot in the pit of my stomach. The familiar feeling of dread draped over my shoulders like an unwanted hand.

It refused to budge even after I arrived in my office and prayed silently.

I felt sick all day. The knot remained but was now accompanied with lightheartedness and nausea. I was literally sick to my stomach.

I wanted to talk about it. I wanted someone to tell me what do, tell me that I was not a bad person for wanting something for me.

I prayed several times and squeezed my eyes shut as I waited for Him to respond to me. I know it doesn’t work that way but I held my breath, hoping I would hear the still small voice.

I tweeted about it and was instantly provided encouragement. I emailed a friend and her words made me feel less psychotic.

I wanted to speak to my husband about it but didn’t want to be seen as weak. I am a strong woman, I danced to Beyonce’s Grown Woman at my 30th birthday party.

That should mean something.

I didn’t feel strong. I felt like a child trying to avoid being chastised, seeing that disappointed look.

Saying no is hard but this visceral reaction my body spit out is not OK.

I don’t care about your disappointment, I care about my well-being.

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What she sees in the night

I was very young when I first watched Nightmare on Elm Street.

I was asleep in the room I shared with my younger sister when I woke up screaming from a nightmare. I always yelled for my mother, but she didn’t always come.

This time she showed up, fatigued etched in her face and she snuggled with me in my bed. Before I settled in her warmth, I searched the room and I heard my mother’s voice,

“Don’t look for him.”

I saw him anyway, illuminated in the shape of a tiny doll on the dresser. I fell sleep as fast as I could, my only defense mechanism, a prayer in my throat.

I woke up screaming again, he was pulling my feet, dragging me away from my family into his personal hell.

I opened my eyes and he was standing menacingly at the foot of my bed. I screamed so loud my father stumbled in and then he disappeared while I was left crying and flailing my arms.

Lately I haven’t been able to fall asleep without background noise.  I’m still not used to the sounds this new house makes, as it shifts and settles into the foundation. The sirens in the distance, the music blaring from passing cars at all hours, or the occasional pop pop of gunshots. Plus the two cats who dart in and out of shadows, their eyes gleaming in the darkness.

I have all the makings of a real life  horror story.

I tried sleeping with the television on and while it does lull me to sleep, I can’t stay asleep. I’ve had the fans on all summer but as it gets colder I need them less. In fact some mornings I wake up with a scratchy throat and I know the culprit but I need to sleep.

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of changing positions and I see shadowy figures or inanimate objects that seem to be floating above my head. I blink, they disappear, and I close my eyes lest I see something else.

Sometimes when I’m feeling brave, I turn the light on and they are never there.

I have heard all the stories told by cousins, stories my unwilling ears were forced to listen to. I am vulnerable in the dark to my racing heart and my betraying mind.

I am not always sure what is real and what is created with my mind.

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Overcoming my fear of public speaking

They forced me to take Speech class in high school, some nonsense about needing it to graduate.

Back then, I did not know my voice mattered. I tried to blend into the walls, so I could slip in and out unnoticed, unbothered.

Public speaking forced me in the limelight, under the watchful eyes of people who could not see past the exterior. They did not know that I could be funny and silly when I was completely at ease. Or that I loved to write stories about my dream life.  Or that I wanted big things to happen in my future.

All they saw was the tall, awkward girl who was painfully shy with the thick glasses and braces.

I saw in my usual seat, closest to the door, my heart pounding as I waited for the inevitable. I wiped my sweaty palms on my skirt and felt the first trickle of perspiration under my arms.>. Continue reading

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Black-ish and my struggle with being Haitian-ish

I watched the Season Premiere of Tracee Ellis Ross’ new show Black-ish on ABC and at first; I was not really feeling it.

It seemed a bit much. Too much obvious Black-centric jokes (grape soda, fried chicken—haven’t we heard all this before?).  I’m still getting used to  Anthony Anderson as the main character and how in 2014 a Black man can still question his bi-racial wife’s Blackness.

But.

Once you look past all that, I think Black-ish is onto something and because I love Tracee Ellis Ross, I will continue to watch. Just like, I watched her show with Malcolm Jamal Warner, Reed between the Lines before it disappeared.

I also realized I can actually relate because even though I grew up in a majority Black neighborhood, I was raised by Haitian parents.>. Continue reading

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Book Review: Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat

Image courtesy of amazon.com

 

Set in the fictional town of Ville Rose, the story opens on the morning of Claire Limye Lanme Faustin’s seventh birthday, also the anniversary of the death of her mother. This is also the same morning a local fisherman dies at sea, reminding the townspeople how thin the line between life and death really is.

Dressed in her customary pink muslin birthday dress, Claire and her father visit her late mother’s grave, their annual tradition, only this year Claire feels something different in the air.

Since the death of Claire’s mother, Nozias Faustin was well aware of his inability and lack of connections to properly raise a girl child into the world. He told his daughter countless times he was leaving pou cheche lavi (look for a better life) and to give her better opportunities than he had.>. Continue reading

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Back to the basics…

Skinny Black Girl posted something today that resonated with me.

I am not new to this blogging thing. After I was engaged in 2008, I started a blog on Blogger detailing the details of planning a wedding while a fulltime graduate student. I did not do it to gain followers and I was surprised when I amassed a few loyals. Around the same time, I joined the now defunct PNN site because they posted an advertisement for a writing opportunity and our interviews were our posts. PNN quickly became a tight knit community, rather than a hostile group of competitors. We posted daily, commented on each other’s posts etc. I cross-posted a few times and shared my wedding journey with my new friends. We even organized a small meet up in Philadelphia and I met these dynamic, encouraging women in the flesh. I am proud to say, we are all still cyber friends today.

When I started blogging at cakeandeggs, I did it initially because I wanted to build an audience. I wanted to throw my voice in the mix because my ultimate goal was to be a published author. I thought I could be transparent and write instead of going to therapy.>. Continue reading

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Lets play the “10 Books” game

I never participate in challenges on Facebook but I actually saw something similar on Writers Digest and thought I would try to compile a list of the ten books that have impacted me in some way.

It was actually really hard to make list. Every time I picked a book, another title popped in my head. I have to say that this is not an all-encompassing list. These are just the ten books I chose today, this month, this year. As you can see, I snuck in a few more titles.

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay-I literally just finished this book. I am going to save my thoughts for the upcoming book review

Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill- I love historical fiction and this particular one was done really well, in my humble opinion. This was an accurate portrayal of slavery; it as heartbreaking and at times difficult to read. Read my review. Continue reading

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What about Janay Rice and other domestic violence victims?

I could go on and on about my disappointment with the NFL for the way they initially handled the whole Ray Rice debacle. I could go on for days about my disgust with Ray Rice’s actions.
As I passionately discussed the day’s events with my husband, he said something that made me squirm uncomfortably in my seat.
“At the end of the day, what does this solve? What about other victims of domestic violence?”

He’s absolutely right.
Underneath the rubble that is now Rice’s career, lays the most importance piece to this story, what about Janay Rice?

What about the women who face domestic violence daily behind closed the doors, stories not splashed on the media? Continue reading

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You are a Boy

 

The other day my husband told me a story of a young Black mother with two young kids in tow. The youngest, maybe two years old, started crying. She turned to him and screamed,

“Stop being a bitch, you’re a boy!”

This is the edited version. I actually left out a few curse words.

When I first heard this, I was appalled and furious.

How dare she speak to a two year old this way? He is two, a mere baby!  Babies cry for various reasons, fear, pain, hunger, etc.

Then my self-righteous anger turned into sorrow because I remembered Ferguson and Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride, and the countless others. Continue reading

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My Beloved Summer

 

Hello September.

Wow, I feel like I just a lost a game of hide and seek with Summer. Like, where’d she go?

Just when I finally started to enjoy Summer, she left me, until next year.  (I know technically we still have a bit of summer left, but it all seems to go downhill after Labor Day.)

We moved into our new place Memorial Day weekend and my days have been filled with our version of HGTV Renovation as well as learning a few hard to swallow  lessons on the joys of home ownership.

Prior to moving into our new place, I was convinced that I absolutely could not live anywhere that needed home renovations. Although this place is far from a fixer upper, we have had to tweak some things to make it “our own.” Continue reading

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