As I scrolled my social media, it seemed that this week everyone was having some type of turmoil or upheaving in their lives. I wasn’t spared this week either. I know and I understand the signs in the sky. But, that doesn’t make what you and I are going through any less tumultuous. It does, however, give you wisdom, power, and insight. Knowing is half the battle and the other half is application of the knowledge.
The effects of nature on the human body, mental and emotional are REAL. Why do you think a brisk walk or a stroll helps the mind while benefiting the body? Why do some feel better as the sun rise or some feel worse as the night comes? It’s all connected in melatonin and water and more. I believe. God didn’t, in my humble opinion, create nature for our viewing pleasure only. The moon, the sky, the sun, the stars, the planets, etc. aren’t just there for the sustainability of mankind only. There is a reason to the movement.
I hope you’re not out there howling during full moons (lol) or turning into werewolves. I do hope you take the time to understand the “signs of the times” that are not related to the end of the world or religious propaganda. What about the signs of the times in your life? What the FULL MOON and WANING GIBBOUS is going on here?
Imagine having a misunderstanding about your appointment and being dropped by your therapist via email. It happened to me Thursday. Monday, there was drama. Tuesday, there was drama. Wednesday, there was drama. And Thursday I opened up my email to a response by my now ex-therapist, that my time slot was no longer available. Well, I imagine not if I’d been trying to contact you via phone and messages since April and your office is open with no response.
I won’t go into details because it’s not necessary to make the best of this situation. I will say I was stunned. I will say I cried. I will say he was an EXCELLENT therapist and I progressed in leaps and bounds and I was READY to keep going. After sitting at the table I went to my room and journaled. I had my cry. I felt abandoned. I felt misunderstood. I felt sad. I felt angry. It felt some of my relationships, the end was out the blue. I felt like, “I didn’t even do anything. All I did was misunderstand the conversation, was ignorant that therapist offices were still open during the quarantine and they were considered essential.” I had no idea. Seems like to me, this could have been cleared up with a conversation. I realized I had left messages saying I needed some help and he didn’t respond. I was concerned about his safety. Hell, I thought maybe he had Covid because surely I would have heard back by now. I prayed he didn’t. This is when I became angry. I called. I left messages. And he didn’t respond. I sent an email and I got a response.
Talking to a therapist friend, I was given great advice and pushed to move on. I mean, I had no choice. And when I look back, when I got still, I knew this was coming. I had thoughts that “This was going to end.” Although, I couldn’t understand why God was putting this in my spirit. I thought it was just me thinking this because things seem to happen when things are going so well. I told myself I was just being negative. But the thought or message would float to me from time to time and I would shut it down as nonsense. I was wrong.
Well, Thursday evening I had accepted that this was reality. I definitely was not going to plead my case. I sent an email thanking him for his help during my journey. I started looking for a new therapist. I left emails with several therapists Thursday night. I got responses the next morning, but it was one that stood out. I made an appointment on line to go into the office. Her reviews were good as all of the ones I chose were. So, looks like I have a new therapist, a new journey, and instead of looking at things as if I have to start all over, I decided to look at it as, I continue. It’s a new leg of the journey and my ex-therapist, as great as he is, was not equipped for this next journey. I mean, this is 2020 and the 4 energy is on it’s high. It’s a 1 energy in June. Yes, I am talking numerology, energy, and Bible. It’s in there.
I also “shopped” for a new doctor. I’ve always wanted a new doctor, but was reluctant to change. My Primary Care Physician is good. We just don’t connect. He’s very text book, very mechanical, like a robot? He is void of emotion. Also, he is now looking for patients and I suspect this is one of the reasons why. I have now learned that for me, it’s not enough for a doctor to be good, it’s important I have a connection with the doctor. We should be invested in each other to some degree.
This week has been one for the books. I survived this week. As things crumbled and my relationship with my therapist ended, I remember my mantra for this year, “FOCUS, AND FEAR NOT.” Also, what came to me was, CHANGE, AND FEAR NOT.
Friday I celebrated Juneteenth. I grilled. I haven’t grilled in about 5 years and before that attempt, it was 2011 when I stopped because of Rheumatoid. I had a great time with my daughter at home Friday. Saturday, I spent time with my parents, one of my brothers, and my sister. We gave Dad his Father’s Day gift, a bench for the patio. He was surprised and pleased. My baby brother and I chatted as we headed to Home Depot to pick up the bench, look for material, pick out molding for his “man cave” he’s having built onto his house. We picked up dinner for Dad. Then as the evening began to wind down, my daughter and I hung out a little late last night. We’ve been spending more time outside in the evenings. All is well with my soul. It’s the calm of the storm.
On the menu for Juneteenth: Grilled jerk wings with a jerk seasoning I made. Crab cakes, with aioli sauce, sweet corn, chopped salad with avocado ranch dressing, and a homemade lemonade I have decided to name, Freedom Lemonade.
One time I went to the grocery store with a friend. We both needed to do some shopping and once in the store we went our separate ways. When we met up near the meat aisle, I was SHOCKED to see their basket. It was filled with junk, processed food, sodas, and juices mostly. I literally was shocked because here is a person that has health issues. No wonder when I cooked they needed to add incredible amounts of salt to their food. Even when the food was already generously seasoned. For a moment, I thought it was me. My daughter said it’s not you Mom, it’s them. They were use to what we call soul food with all of the soul, salt, and fat of the ancestors and they were conditioned to love junk food.
I get it. I get when the CDC, the health experts talk about underlying conditions are high in the minority communities. Poverty is high in the minority communities and the wages are low. There are food deserts. No one should have to travel outside of their neighborhood for food and some CANNOT! I’ve been to stores in one neighborhood where fruits and vegetables look TERRIBLE and go to the same chain in a nicer area and produce looks like it was picked that morning. Pair that with the lack of proper medical care, the disparities of care, the cost of health care, and to be honest add the MISTRUST, DISTRUST between doctors and minority patients. It’s a disaster. I have seen the doctor say “It’s not good for you to eat an entire box of ice cream” and upon leaving the doctor, the patient says stop by McDonald’s and get me a number 5, supersized, add a sundae to that. The unwillingness to take health seriously runs deep. “Those doctors don’t know what they are talking about” has been heard and passed on generation after generation. The idea that the doctors are trying to kill us, us being minorities, stem from the history of experiments done on and to minorities without their consent, knowledge, and against their will. The torture, the inhumanity, is disgusting.
My musing on health issues: Where there is a will there is a way. Where there is a will, there is an opportunity to research. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, fibromyalgia, which both lead to diabetes and a slightly elevated cholesterol reading recently. I learned from a white woman, who I took care after she had a complicated childbirth, to ADVOCATE for your health. “I am a nurse and they still would not listen to me. WE KNOW OUR BODIES. If you can, find a female doctor. At least you may have a chance of her listening to you or understanding you.” These were her words to me in my 20’s. She told several male doctors, nurses, something was wrong, something wasn’t right. They dismissed her concerns and when she went into labor, she had to be airlifted after birth. I never forgot the conversation. It was later on I also learned that when you are African American, male or female, a minority, you REALLY have to advocate for your health. We are seen as less than intelligent and assumed to be uninformed. WE can comprehend and learn just like anyone else. Obviously, there are all kinds of well educated working class minorities.
I once had a black male doctor that told me I had acid reflux. I went to the emergency room a few times with incredible pain. I remembered what this lady said to me and I began to look for another doctor. The week before I saw my new, female doctor, I went to the ER because I thought I was having a heart attack. The hospital drew blood and dismissed me. When my new doctor drew blood she rushed into my room. What hospital did you go to? She rushed out the room. She came back in. She made a phone call in the room and lost it on the people in the ER! She said the labs showed my white blood cells count was HIGH. In a week I was schedule for emergency surgery for the removal of my gallbladder. It was inflamed, swollen, and on the verge of bursting.
I also had to advocate for my health with a female doctor years ago at a clinic. I had no healthcare because it was too expensive and I needed that money to pay my bills and take care of my daughter (you see the choices some of us have to make!). She insisted I had diabetes. I insisted for another blood panel test and to see another specialists for rheumatoid or lupus. She told me the clinic already spent money for a test on me last year. This is when I could no longer be nice. I had photos of my swelling joints. She did not want to look. I went ballistic. I was not ashamed either. I asked her was it her money? I asked her did she not think I had any common sense or an education because I was at this FREE CLINIC with partial payment plans? Do all black people have diabetes? I KNOW MY BODY. SOMETHING IS WRONG. THIS IS NOT DIABETES. She ordered another test. I had been suffering for a year. It turned out, after seeing another specialist she referred, that I indeed had Rheumatoid Arthritis Disease, and fibromyalgia, and diabetes was a result of the Rheumatoid. She apologized that same day I lost my marbles before she ordered the tests again.
I am not a health expert. I am not a work out fanatic. I do know ORGANIC and NATURAL foods are EXPENSIVE (and I could say hospital bills are high but, that’s irrelevant to someone struggling to make ends meet). Medication is EXPENSIVE. I have had to pay for 15 pills when I needed 30. I have had my parents “charge” my medication on their credit card. I have gotten a full bottle of pills and took them every other day or every two days to make them last.
I walk. I do yoga (gentle yoga, yoga for seniors, yoga for rheumatoid, fibro, lupus, etc…it’s out there). I don’t have to have a gym membership but, I do. There are YouTube work out videos. It’s not safe in some neighborhoods to walk. I don’t really like to walk in this neighborhood because I am not comfortable. In my old neighborhood it was different. It was better. So, I go to the park in my old neighborhood. You can find work out equipment at the dollar store. You can find equipment for sale on Facebook Market. Walking in place “seems” silly but it works. I don’t walk fast. I can’t.
Eating healthier? Choose more fresh fruits and vegetables. You don’t have to fry inexpensive cuts of meats. You can ween yourself off so much sugar, salty food (I love salty and sweet) sweets, and sodas. I went from 8 lumps of sugar and 8 packs of creamer to 2-3 lumps of sugar and 2-3 creamers in my coffee. It was rough. I didn’t know how addicted I was. There are so many ways to cut back, add other choices, use coupons, and to try something new. Yes, my people, try something new. You can still have soul food without it raising your blood pressure and doubling your insulin levels.
These are some things we can somewhat control. Most of us. Not all of us. There are always EXTENUATING circumstances. I can’t do all the things I use to do and I can’t do the things others do. But I can do what I can do. I do have the power of choice. I am in no way at the weight I will be happy with, not what my doctor would be happy with. I had to figure that out, too. There are carrots and celery, ginger shots, and water in my fridge. There is birthday cake ice cream and a Pepperidge Farms lemon cake in the freezer. I rarely buy sodas because I will drink them just because they are there! I don’t have all of the answers. But, I do know things have to change in the minority communities and it starts with conversations and choices.
These little digs or shots of negativity, insults, slights, slickness, insensitivity, meanness, rudeness that come from family are like daggers. Short, sharp knives that after receiving so many can kill your spirit because they do add up and the silence of not saying anything about it can eat you alive. Either way, it gets old if you are the person being told to “let it slide” or “forgive them” or “respect your elders” or “that’s just the way they are.” At what point do we address the dagger throwers in the family and why is everyone afraid of them? We don’t want to hurt the dagger throwers feelings, but it’s okay for them to hurt other people’s feelings? It’s a logic I can’t seem to understand. We don’t want to cause any problems, but we refuse to put a stop to those causing the problems.