Friends Break Hearts, Too.

It’s weird how time changes things. Growing up, my childhood trauma and codependency lead me to establish friendships that weren’t always meant for my higher good. I’m an only girl and being an only girl had me looking for sisterhood anywhere I could find it. As a young girl, I was always looking for acceptance and validation … but that wasn’t always what I found.

I remember every connection I’ve ever had with certain individuals with whom I’ve considered to be a friend. There are so many times where I begin to miss them and take a trip down memory lane but these memories also caused me to remember the disrespect.

In the past, I’ve tolerated the highest levels of bullshit and disrespect for the sake of keeping a friend. Trust me, I had all of the excuses for these ain’t shit friends:

”They didn’t mean it.”

”They said they were sorry.”

”We’ve known each other for so long.”

Nikkie’s Thoughts said it best, “Time don’t mean shit! Time is a man made concept. You can meet someone tomorrow who has better intentions and supports you wholeheartedly more than somebody you’ve known all your life.”

I had to learn to accept this harsh reality because I was keeping too many people around straight off of longevity and the love I had for them. Things always started off good in the beginning. We’d hang out and have a good time. We’d laugh and share jokes. Hell, we’d even partake in some gossip together. Soon after, the tables turn and now you’re the topic of conversation when you aren’t around. You start noticing differences in behavior towards you when y’all are around other people. Snide comments are made about your achievements or they’re disguised in sarcastic compliments. You’re left out of certain events and outings because “they forgot” or “they didn’t think you’d want to go.” You realize you’re the one always reaching out and once you decide to no longer extend the effort, y’all no longer speak.

I can’t say how many times this has happened to me in my life. I’ve honestly lost count. I used to grieve and mourn as if I’d just ended a romantic relationship. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized not everyone you lose is a loss. These friendships had to happen and they had to end because I wasn’t holding them or myself accountable. These “friends” were only doing to me what I allowed. As I grew and matured, my tolerance for half-assed friendships lessened and my friendship circles grew smaller.

I’ve experienced my share of friendship heartbreaks, one being recent, and the impact still weighs heavy on my heart to this day. I’ve had people whose opinions I’ve valued point out unhealthy behavior and toxicity in the past that I completely ignored. When you think you know someone, you feel there’s no one who can speak about them to you. Unfortunately, true colors tend to show when situations change. I think as our stories unfold and we write our chapters, never do we think that someone we considered a friend would be written as a villain.

I recently attended a retreat called The Mending Space where I met and connected with women I had never met before. With these women, I felt safe. It was there where I learned that your true friends must provide you with a safe space. Space to be yourself, space to release without judgment, and space to be vulnerable. Friendships are a different version of love. If you can’t comfortably tell your friends you love them or receive it back, spare yourself the heartbreak.

Venture out. Build new connections. Establish healthy boundaries. Love yourself first and everyone else second. Don’t hold or carry any hate in your heart because it’s too heavy of a burden for YOU to bear. Hell, I still have love for old friends as I had loved them before. So to wrap this up, shout out to those “friends.” I still wish the best for you. I still have love for you.

 

Stay away from me though.

 

 

What makes you a good friend is not doing something that you know will intentionally hurt another person.

Secret Warfare.

I woke up this morning but I continued to lay in bed. Eyes wide open, basking in the darkness, hitting the snooze button repeatedly. I tossed and turned, fighting the urge to stay where I lay. Here we go, my feet are finally touching the floor as I sit upright at the side of my bed. Inhale, exhale. Fuck … I have to go to work today. I want to be alone. I want to stay home but I have to go to work today. I stand up … that’s progress. What will I wear today? I don’t like that because it makes me look fat. I can’t wear this because it no longer fits. Now I’m back on the bed, crying as clothes are scattered everywhere. Screw it, I’ll just wear something black. Black is slimming, isn’t it? It’s time to shower so let’s stand here under the water for about an hour and just … THINK. Let’s cry a little bit in the hopes of feeling better. Now let’s put on my smile like I put on my makeup and push through the day.

I made the drive to work while having several mini episodes because of traffic. I knew I should have stayed home. I walk in the building and force a decent amount of smiles and good mornings even though I don’t want to. Well damn, Jane didn’t speak … the fucks her problem? Why was my supervisor’s greeting so lackluster? Did I do something wrong? Let me check my emails. Nothing there but a few requests from my clients in need. Let me start a to-do list. “Hey Shayna, can you help me with this?”

And it begins … my cellphone goes off. “Hey, do you have a minute? I need to talk.” Sigh! Okay, I never leave a friend hanging. Let me find somewhere private to talk. 15 minutes later, I need to make my tea. I finally have some time to breathe … *tap on cubicle* “Hey Shayna, can you…?” Let’s force a smile. I knew I should have stayed home. Two hours later, is it lunch time? What’s for lunch? I need to be mindful of what I eat. I can’t gain any more weight. “Shayna, the team is having lunch together. Come on.” I don’t really want to but whatever. Another forced smile. Why can’t we just sit here in silence? Why did I choose this career path? I’d rather be traveling. Let me get back to work. *Checks phone* No messages. Where’s my fiancé? My mom is taking awhile to text back. What’s my dad doing? Probably living that retired life. Shit, my weekly report. Ugh, I need a job that pays more money. Why can’t my life be different? When is it going to be my turn? I’m so sick of this. I deserve better. No, I don’t. I never finish what I start. I’m a failure. Nothing I do is good enough. Is it 5:00 yet? *checks* THANK GOD!

Finally time to leave. Fuck, there’s traffic. I want to call someone and just … talk, but I don’t want to bother anyone. No one’s called or text to check on me either. Oh well. Traffic’s moving. I have to cook dinner, I don’t feel like cooking. Damn, I need to exercise but I’m tired. Traffic is at a standstill again. *Checks Instagram* Another Herbalife post, a SlimTea and FlatTummy tea promoter, and a new body fresh out of surgery. *Sigh* I‘m finally home. Where’s my bed? I’m exhausted. Thoughts, pease be quiet … I need to sleep.

Fiancé is home and I’m finally asked … “Are you okay?”

NO. I’M NOT OKAY. NOT AT ALL. I’M DEPRESSED. MY LIFE IS FALLING APART. NOTHING IS GOING RIGHT. I WANT TO TELL YOU. I WANT TO TELL SOMEONE BUT I DON’T WANT TO SOUND LIKE I’M COMPLAINING OR CRAZY. I REALLY NEED TO LET THIS OUT. TELL ME EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OKAY PLEASE EVEN THOUGH I KNOW IT’S NOT. WILL YOU JUST HUG ME? I JUST WANT TO TELL YOU EVERYTHING THAT’S HAPPENING TO ME BUT … *smiles*

”Yes, I’m fine. I’m just tired.”

 

 

Depression is not a choice. Depression is not always dark rooms and silence. It’s not always ignoring calls and not answering text messages. Depression is putting on a mask. Depression is forcing yourself to show up. Depression is constant. Throw a little anxiety on top and you have a beautiful clusterfuck. Depression and anxiety are not easily noticeable. You can’t see them but they are felt constantly, consistently. Having depression and anxiety can be best explained as feeling like you’re drowning but not having the motivation to swim up for air. This is why they’re called the silent killers. People are at war every single day and you would never know as some of us are high-functioning. Be kind. Be patient. Check on your friends. Check on yourself. If you’re still here, I’m proud of you and I love you.

 

#NationalSuicidePreventionWeek #February24th #ImStillHere

Turning 30 has taught me …


Distance and shutting the entire fuck up.

 

It’s been about five months into my chapter 30 and I’ve learned so much already … currently still learning and growing. Distance is one of those lessons that I learned. I’ve learned to stop asking for advice and to stop listening to other people. This way, I can’t blame anyone for my decisions and I can celebrate myself when I make positive decisions that are beneficial to me and my future. With that being said, I mind my business, hold on to my business, drink my water and talk to God, A LOT!

I began to create distance in my relationships with people. I started looking for people less and started looking for me more. As selfish as it sounds, I stopped checking in with people to see how THEY were and started checking in with myself. I came to this realization when my therapist asked me how things went once I wrote and posted “Black Girl, Interrupted.” I explained the reactions I received with some pouring love in to me while others judged me. My therapist confused me by asking how I was when I thought we were talking about my blog. I looked at her funny and answered, “I’m fine.” She continued starting at me and asked me again, “How are you?” Before I could answer, she cut me off and told me to tell the truth. After a brief moment of silence, I shrugged my shoulders. She then asked me when was the last time someone asked me how I was and when was the last time I gave a genuine answer. Silence again. She said to me, “Being transparent isn’t easy, is it?” Especially when you’re screaming in a room full of people but no one acknowledges you though they hear you.” BITCH!!! This is what led me to shutting the fuck up!

Anybody watch Grace and Frankie? That’s my damn show, first off. But anyway, it wasn’t until season 5, episode 12 where I had my STFU epiphany. Shorty was at dinner, TURNT and her husband tried to shit on her good time and say, “It’s time to take you home!” Let me tell y’all … Goldie wasn’t having none of that! She slammed her hand on that dining room table and said, and I quote:

“Vince … look at me. Look at me in the windows to my soul. SHUT THE FUCK UP! Shut all the way the fuck up until you reach the top of SHUT FUCK MOUNTAIN where there are no more fuck ups to shut!”

After I finished laughing my ass off, something in my head said:

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Shut the fuck up, Shayna! You don’t have to tell everybody everything because honestly, THAT WAS ME! I was always telling my business whether it was personal, professional, family, friends, or relationships, I TOLD IT! I felt like I had nothing to hide so why not? It wasn’t until a wise woman said to me, “There are people who ask how you are because they genuinely want to know and there are people who ask how you are to see if you have anything bad to say.” Ma’am, lower your voice, you ain’t have to holler. This was very true though. I had to learn that my life was not the latest gossip, it wasn’t the tea of the day, and it wasn’t ammunition for those who had better talk shit about my life instead of sweeping around their own doorstep.

Taking this advice has helped me to listen and observe more than I spoke. I realized how much I didn’t know about others. I realized that social media was how a majority of the people in my life kept up with me so I started posting less. I realized how at peace I felt with keeping things between me and God. I also began to realize who was who. With all of these realizations, I’ve realized most of all that I’ve grown in so many ways. I’m not perfect, I fuck up and will continue to but I’m accepting of it now. I take care of me so much better now than I used to. I say no. I ignore phone calls when I don’t feel like talking and find no obligation in having to call anyone back. If it’s an emergency, call 911. I got my own shit going on, and that shit is my mental health.

I have depression and anxiety, and they are my disorders. I’d rather use “disorders” than diseases because I don’t find myself to be “sick.” But they are MINE. I find strength in claiming them because I fight these hoes every damn day, SINGLEHANDEDLY. After February 24th, I got “STRENGTH” tatted on my forearm because I beat depression that day. I went Arya Stark on its ass.

arya

There will be more days like February 24th, this I know. I find comfort in knowing that I am built for this fight. So when you come with negativity, bullshit, lies, and anything that is disturbing to my spirit … keep moving because turning 30 has taught me … I’M WAY TOO OLD FOR THIS SHIT!

smokey

Cord Cutting.

Be the type of person that people always come back to.

If this isn’t thee worst advice I’ve ever seen in my 30 years of life. This quote inspired me to write this piece and I called it cord cutting for a reason.

First off, don’t be that person! As someone who has been this person (and still working on it), I used to let people come back into my life that had no business ever getting close to me in the first place. I’d let people come back time and time again before I finally started realizing, “Well shit, why do they keep leaving me?” Then I started thinking, “Why in the hell do they feel that they can keep coming back?” BECAUSE YOU’RE STANDING THERE WITH OPEN ARMS, STUPID!

T.D. Jakes said it best: “When people can walk away from you, LET THEM WALK!” Myself and T.D. don’t want you to spend another second talking someone into staying with you, loving you, calling you, or caring about you. HANG UP THE PHONE!

That person left for a reason! And that person came sniffing back around because you’re not loving and respecting yourself enough to close that damn door! Stop holding on to that “What if?” factor! I’ve extended some people’s parts in my story because I was thinking, “Well, what if …” Nope, stop that! Well Shayna, I was told “if you let something go and it comes back to you, it was meant to be.” FALSE STATEMENT! Honey, you didn’t let anything go, it left you! I’m pretty sure if you let something (in this case, someone) go, you don’t want it coming back as you let it go. That’s what happens every time you allow someone access to you again after they done left you. They’re bringing nothing back but the same sadness, same stress, and same bullshit they left you with the first time.

Stop allowing yourself to play the fool more than once. Y’all know the saying, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice,shame on me!” The same person who hurt you can’t heal you. I know, I know. You love them and obviously if they keep coming back, it’s because they need you. And we all know it feels good to be needed … but what feelings are you left with when they leave? Where are they when YOU need someone?

Do not let people place a revolving door on your life! Set boundaries. Let people know what you will and will not tolerate. If certain individuals bring nothing but chaos, stress, and drama … CUT THE CORD! Learn to love people from afar. Being selfless doesn’t benefit you, just them.

Rant over. OH and before I go, let me leave you with this …

If they aren’t holding onto you as tightly as you are them, with the same tender grip and tingling anticipation, THEY can be let go.

– Melissa M. Tripp

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Black Girl, Interrupted …

The Merriam-Webster dictionary describes self-love as to “love of self” or “regard for one’s own happiness or advantage.”

“People who have more self-love tend to know what they think, feel and want. They are mindful of who they are and act on this knowledge, rather than on what others want for them. Act on what you need rather than what you want. You will love yourself more, when you take better care of your basic needs.”

How old were you when you first heard of self-love? How old were you when you actually learned how to engage in self-love? Let’s be honest, they didn’t teach us how to love ourselves in school. They didn’t teach us the concept of conceit and egotism. They taught us bullshit like “y = mx + b” because finding the slope and y intercept is sure helping me address my mental health and past traumas along with Sallie Mae who won’t stop calling my phone. (BITCH, I DON’T GOT IT!)

I decided to write this post because NO ONE TALKS ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH WITHIN OUR COMMUNITY, and if they do, they’re not being real or transparent. Well, for those that know me, I’m giving it to you straight up, no ice nor chaser, JUST TAKE THIS SHOT!

Sunday, February 24th was a monumental moment in my life for me. I was alone in my apartment when my depression got the best of me. I said “alright Shay, let’s go have this good cry,” (if you haven’t gathered what a good cry is, look up Dane Cook’s “Vicious Circle”) except this good cry was different. I cried and cried … and cried because I kept saying to myself, “I don’t want to be here anymore.” Now my dramatic ass has had these moments before but not to the extent where I actually started formulating a plan. My fellow mental health professionals know what “the plan” is and means. I even started writing the letter I’d leave behind in my head. Out of nowhere, I stopped and got up off the floor (told y’all I was dramatic, LOL). I looked in the mirror and thought, “holy shit, I’m the 2007 Brittney Spears.” I had completely and utterly lost my shit for a moment. I broke down after constantly bottling my emotions and telling everyone that asked I was okay when I wasn’t.

Not too long ago, one of my best friends told me that I was the “strong friend.” I had to agree because I am selfless. I’m the type to talk someone off a ledge while my world is collapsing beneath me. I always put others before myself. I was always the type to invest in everyone else’s happiness except my own. Then February 24th happened and I realized that in that moment, all I had was me. I looked at my phone but then realized what time it was and said, “Girl, ain’t nobody going to answer the phone.” For the first time, I had to be the strong friend for myself because when you’re up at 3am crying like Taraji in Baby Boy, all you have is you and God.

According to the American Association of Suicidology, there were 44,193 suicides in 2015 alone with 5,491 of them being youth aged between 15-24. The association conducted a study in 2008 which researched the impact of low self-esteem and lack of self-love and its relation to suicidal tendencies and attempts. They defined self-love as being “beliefs about oneself and beliefs about how other people regard oneself.” It concluded that “depression, hopelessness, and low self-esteem are implications of vulnerability factors for suicide ideation” and that “these findings suggest that even in the context of depression and hopelessness, low self-esteem may add to the risk for suicide ideation.”

I say this to say, IT’S OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY! It’s okay to think ‘maybe I should find someone to talk to.’ Your friends won’t always have or know the right thing to say, and it’s not their fault. It’s not fair to put that type of pressure on your friends. You don’t know what they may be going through. I have a best friend who checks my mental state before we talk about his shit and I’m thankful for that because some days I’m like “not today, bruh.” I’ve learned to stop answering the phone when I don’t feel like talking. It’s hard giving others a feel better speech while you’re broken inside. So for my black and brown people, ain’t nothing wrong with going to therapy! If you’re going to try and get your shit together, you might as well talk to someone who doesn’t know you and won’t judge you. I’ve been through two therapists so far and I myself as a mental health professional do not like that “So how does that make you feel?” approach. Talk to me as if I’m your sister, let’s have a real conversation! This is why I love April Nichole because she honestly whipped my ass back into shape mentally. I haven’t signed up for one of her therapy sessions yet but I have listened to her podcast, “Nikkie’s Thoughts” and have gotten the READ of my life, LOL.

Love yourselves. Get out of your own way. Life isn’t a walk in the park. Hell, life is like a walk through Jurassic Park honestly but you can make it through. Just believe in yourself, be patient with yourself and trust the process!

Moore or Less …

KEEP YOUR FOOT ON THE NECK OF DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, OR WHATEVER THE WHOLE MOTHAFUCKIN’ WAY!!!

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10 years after high school and then some …

Let’s start off by saying that my high school graduation was trash. It rained and we had to cram God knows how many people into our gymnasium. Woodbridge High School is cursed, LOL. Graduation was bittersweet for me because soon after, I was on my way to Baltimore, Maryland to start precollege at Morgan State University. I entered college undecided in my major because I had no idea what I was good at or who I was as a person, to be honest. My goal then was to get into college … CHECK, now what? I thought I wanted to play basketball. I had played since I was young, made it on the Linden AAU team and then my high school freshman team just to be cut the next year. I’ll never forget damn near crying in the gymnasium with my best friend, who was also cut from the team. Being who we were though, we flipped our middle fingers and moved on.

Anyway, I started precollege and passed all my classes, of course. I had made friends and created an image for myself as the light skin girl from Jersey with long nails and every pair of Jordans (My collection of J’s back then was serious since I was a Foot Locker employee, LOL). In the midst of precollege, your girl had her first love and her first REAL heartbreak. Not the 13 year old me crying and singing Amanda Perez’s “God Send Me an Angel” heartbreak but Bernadine from Waiting To Exhale heartbreak. I had been cheated on and everyone knew about it but me. Now, if the motherfucker had a car for me to burn his clothes in, I would have! Instead, I flipped my middle finger up (I do this often in life) and carried my prideful, brokenhearted ass back to Baltimore to finish what I started. Needless to say, I continued being on and off with this man for a few more years after this incident only to continue having my heart broken time and time again. A good eggplant and love will make you do some dumb shit. Eventually, I learned that a tiger never changes its stripes and moved on. I still had my share of shitty ass relationships afterwards because loving yourself and learning your worth was no overnight process. To this day, I still have some insecurities but in no way shape or form is your girl ugly. I have a FUPA but it’s meant to keep your forehead warm, papi! My goal from high school changed from “Lose weight Shay because they like skinny bitches” to “Love yourself as you are, just live a healthier lifestyle.” I used to have this uncanny fear of rejection because a girl like me ran the Welcome Committee for the friend zone, LOL. Eventually, I let that rejection nonsense go and began to flourish. I mean, at the end of the day, there are those out there who will think I’m ugly (and I could give a shit) while there are others who would like to eat my ass with a napkin tucked in their collar (shrugs). With that being said, DO YOU AND BE YOU BOO BOO because SOMEBODY’S GONNA FUCKING FEEL IT!

As for my friendships/sister circles go, I’m STILL running with the same crew from high school and college. I’ve made friends along these ten years who I now consider family. I’ve also let go of some friends as well. Since high school, I’ve learned that a friendship can be just as toxic and draining as a relationship. Instead of holding on to memories and longevity, I’ve let go and walked away with my lesson. Loving people from a distance is essential to keeping your peace. It’s a self care act that I practice heavily now as someone who’s used to be selfless. Recently, one of my best friends called me, “the strong friend,” but I realized I can’t be the strong friend if I’m not being strong for myself …

From high school to 10 years later to now, I can say I was young, naive, and dumb.I am still young and still dumb, on occasion but the Shayna I am now has a better outlook on life and knows exactly what she wants. I’ll be turning 30 on next Wednesday and you couldn’t tell high school me that I wasn’t going to be somebody’s wife and have two kids by now, LOL. Instead, I’m welcoming Chapter 30 with a different set of goals and a different mindset. Like I said in a recent IG post, “I do not apologize for how I’m about to move” because at the end of the day, who gone check me?

Being a “Yes Woman” …

I’m a people pleaser. I think it’s honestly one of my worst flaws other than my impatience. I’m a “yes woman.” I’m codependent. I tell people “yes” because it makes me think they’ll like me. I said yes because I knew it made others happy and in turn, I thought I’d be happy too. I said yes even when I knew making others happy was at my expense and I was sacrificing my own happiness and peace.

Recently, I was watching an episode of Red Table Talk with Jada Pinkett Smith and Gabrielle Union. The episode was originally about friendships but Gabrielle Union made a few statements that spoke to me. When Jada was talking about herself being a people pleaser, she asked Gabrielle how does she deal with that to which Gabrielle responded:

I SAY NO! And no used to be so terrifying because no means a boundary and if you put up boundaries, maybe people won’t come back.

This is me, scared to say no because of how others would react and how it would affect me. Scared that they would leave and I’d be alone again. See, being codependent is unhealthy and it’s even unhealthier when you’re codependent on people. I’ve had to come to the harsh realization that at some point, everyone leaves. Nothing lasts forever … or so they say. I’ve also had to realize that not everyone you lose is a loss.

During Therapy Thursday with Nikkiesthoughts, (check out her IG and podcast), I asked her about my people pleasing dilemma and boundaries. She kindly read me for filth and let me know my boundaries are for me and all I’m doing is getting in my boundary’s way. She asked me how do I feel after I say yes to someone when I didn’t really want to? What feeling do I go to sleep with at night? What feeling do I get when I look in the mirror? She advised me to surround myself only with people who would do the same for me as I would do for them. Matter of fact, be around people who would go above and beyond for you.

I realized I needed to reach a level where I only concern myself with people who believe in reciprocity. I should not concern myself with how others might take offense to me when I tell them no. My main focus should be me and my peace. I’ve come to realize that your growth tends to weed out the bad seeds you were letting sit around while they tried to steal and absorb your light. These people need to go. I’ve always tried to hang on when I needed to let go, not realizing I was only hurting myself more in the process.

It’s time for me to enter a new level where I let go of this fear of people not liking me. I’m letting go of caring and putting others before myself. These changes may anger a few but like Gabrielle Union said, “It’s difficult to take control of a healed, evolved person.”