This Doesn’t Feel New: Anxiety

Sundays are my favorite, always has been my favorite day of the week. Last week, I awoke with #panic. I experienced a panic attack at 4:09 a.m. I haven’t had a panic attack in over 15 years. I am the best at coping, at righting my wrongs and at times the desire to perfect my surroundings will get the best of me. I have a lot going on; I believe we all do.

It is now March and this Year doesn’t feel so refreshing to me. It’s as if I’m starting over to start over. I’m beginning to get stuck in the hard parts. What is #new isn’t stagnant, its moving and it is not overwhelming. Everything is weird, good weird. I’m internally grateful. It all seems rather uncertain, better and yet undefinable. Four years ago, I was working towards my licensing and no panic attacks doing every thing “right” to make sure I achieved my goals. Perfectionism isn’t the goal yet our thoughts will force those habits to occur. Then again nor were we living in a Pandemic nor was I a working therapist. Anxiety hits us so differently and unexpectedly. I can tell you I’m thrown off of the balance I believed I had achieved. I feel guilty that I experienced a panic attack.

I’ve come a long way. I know I have. My bond with my #Sister-friendships have deepened even though there has been significant heartbreak for us all. Panic attacks are happening to the greatest of us…it is weird when we’re the strength of our families. My love shows more when I am unable to therapy those I love. (Your therapist friend cannot be your therapist.) I love in so many other ways and I’m proud of my Sister-Queens for understanding that, for being there for me in ways they may not fully comprehend.

I remain extremely busy yet I love seeing the breakthroughs. One patient, older, has scheduled a face to face session in office for next month. They live several hours away. Patient: “I just want to see you. I’m getting out more this year. Imma fix myself up and make a trip of it. This Zoom ain’t it for everything. Can I see you in office?”

I love and require the guidance I receive from those I am connected to, my Spiritual Advisor. Her: “Send me your spiritual goals. I want to pray for those same things you want.” My heart smiles. #Heartwork So I’m not so far off course yet this panic attack has me reflecting on where I am, mentally. My heart is healing, my intentions are pure, my soul is unlearning what I theorize as the Black Woman Syndrome. I surely do miss my mother.

Continue to take your moments; stop seizing the day when your Well is leaking. I take my moments when my teen daughter asks for her pictures when she was 6 years old for a school project. I take my moments when my son drops off my granddaughter so he can shoot ball and our habits become a group text about how and who is the meanest. Koda, Sir Pup continues to argue with his big self. Brutus’ voice is deeper, he’s taller and is frustrated because I purchased Cheerwine instead of 7UP.

Our struggles do not have to become so weighted that we lose the truth of who we are. Trust your give, continue to do your work. Be gentle with your soul again. Trust your Self, even through this and each time your soul is stretched. God doesn’t pile up the heaviness…we neglect to release those things to Him. Be mindful of your words. How are you treating You? #SoulImage

Intimately Worded,

~Michelle

​Take Your Moments

Happy Merry Tuesday! This is not a Christmas Post.

I’m trying to do my best in re-entering my blogging world. Life is throwing us about swiftly and profoundly in so many different ways. I continue to pull my hopeful heart together with slippery fingers. Working from home is a good thing; truly a heart’s desire. I’ve always wanted to be home with my kids. This CoVid Year allowed for that. At the end of October, I transitioned from two year employment to a new corporation. I experienced and continue to experience therapy-patient separation; a month in and there is less guilt and more certainty of my choices. You haven’t seen less of me due to life, there’s less writing when my heart overflows. Truthfully, it is a bit of fragility and intimacy— 2020 has been more than enough and then some.

I am a professional working entrepreneur. I smile as I write this, not putting myself in a box. I think as we visualize we’re more apt to find our way. I love how this new corporation gives a weekly analysis of my work habits. The analysis generates a live video and statistics of where my time is effective, productive and self-care could use more input. I love that I don’t have to have a meeting to be told to pull back. I’ve always wanted a career role or life status as to where I can be home with my children. I have that now, I’m settling within my transitions. I’m entering the kitchen more. Cooking has always been a comfort for me…it grounds me in so many different ways. Most days, I prepare lunch during my lunch hours. I love pulling vegetables out, chopping and sautéing. I love spices. Lately, I’m craving cilantro. I’m unsure of why. I think for how green it is, it’s difference among the herb family. I’ve always moved away from it until now. This link gives great insight as to why cilantro has my palette’s interest: https://tastybite.com/2016/04/5-things-you-didnt-know-about-cilantro/

When I cook, I normally cook with the home quiet. I like the chopping and the sizzling that happens. Most recently, I’m listening to music…good music, soulful music…it gives breath and breadth for me make room for thoughts o goodness and grace. Jon McReynolds has become a great favorite of my #PlayList. This song, “God is Good”—- the lyrics grab me up each time: “May your struggles keep you near the cross. And may your troubles show that you need God. And may your battles end the way they should. And may your bad days prove that God is good. And may your whole life prove that God is good.” When you make time, take a listen.

I encourage you to take your moments and to stay present within your moments. Work through what is working you. We’re graced for more. Life’s a lot more different than this new normal. Go further in love. You deserve every good thing. #BeAWholeMovement

Intimately Worded, 

Michelle 

Grace and Relationships

Photo taken: November 2020.
Live less out of habit and more out of intent.” ~Anonymous

I haven’t written about earthing my 50th birthday in August. I am not going to excuse myself by stating I am too busy. As I reflect, I have realized its all been rather intimate, personal and my experiences unearth my vulnerability and leaves my heart wide open. This shifting has been grand, wonderful, unexpected and at times the most painful.

Grand….I was able to treat myself to a mini getaway from home without travelling out of state due to CoVid. This beautiful Caribbean themed B&B, located here in Charlotte, NC: http://www.mselsies.com/ The owner was so welcoming, comforting and soulfully-bossy. Just the type of “love” I needed. I’ve never taken a getaway alone. I have always travelled as a couple and/or with my kids. All of this was new to me. I was nervously excited and my soul weary.

Wonderful.…I was nurtured, pampered, fed—my palate was amazed. I was the only guest during my stay. I was fussed over just enough yet left alone with as much space I required. My soul was cared for and some healing took place. My spiritual self required rest yet yearned for more of this. Not only was I fed well –the conversations, the prayers and wisdoms of Life were like Nature’s own medicine.

Unexpected…My core beliefs for my independence was shaken. This ability I have of taking care of myself, of knowing that I have to do this alone was a comfort for me. Although, I’ve always hoped for a love that is comparable to how I love, it did not seem to be in sight. I believe the glimpse of being loved scared me, of the the unexpected places where I sought solace, solitude and sacred rest my Michelle was uprooted.

“Michelle, you’re judgmental in your personal life and only in your personal life. You need to hear what you need to hear not what you to want to hear. Your independence has taught you to make it, to push through. You discern and that is a gift. You’ve forgotten how to be taken care of.” ~Cheryl Watkins, Ms. Elisie’s Granddaughter and Owner of the B&B. She told me this in our introduction. It hurt to hear. My initial plan for my mini-retreat was to reserve a upscale spa and my mind was changed to this intimate oasis. I don’t believe our meeting was happenstance.

I’ve been working this singleness and motherhood with grace while allowing Grace to lead me through graduate life and being a therapist. I haven’t dated in years; no one has approached me in a nurturing, chivalrous manner that would require me to date. During this time, a guy entered my life unannounced and with genuine effort. He paid for my second day at the B&B. He arranged a spa day after hearing of the difficult work day I experienced. He wanted to know if I ate, took my vitamins, was I smiling, was I protected. The more we talked and the grand gestures he carried out was healing old hard wounds. I don’t fall easily. I cannot afford it.

As I live and love within my 50th cycle love is frightening; we lose people either by choice, their actions or inactions, yet mostly consequences will pull us away from others. The extension of grace requires understanding, forgiveness for peace and growth. What I want isn’t always what it seems no matter how conscientious I am. I am learning to move forward with all that I am and that incudes: authenticity, truth, grace and love. I am doing well in my wait. I remind myself that my self-work gives tremendous value to my self-worth. #BeAWholeMovement #FreedSoul Singleness Relationships His plans

I encourage you to trust how you give, learn that rest is sacred and your ground is too. Stand your ground. #LoveGives #ShineAnyway

Intimately Worded,

Michelle

*Please note that since our meet she sends reminder texts: “How beez u?” She happies this heart of mine.

July: Healing Humanity

Our 2020 has gut punched seemingly on a weekly basis. I’m proud of how we’ve endured and persevered. WordPress sent me a congratulatory notification two days ago stating that I have been blogging for 5 years now. Wow! I am appreciative for the courage to share my thoughts in such a creative process. Thank you to all who like, follow, share and comment. I value each of you.

This year has had me in such a weird place that writing seems foreign to me. I haven’t been neglectful in writing—there just doesn’t seem to be an easy flow of writing to where readers will be empathetic to comprehend my soul pieces. I hope that makes sense. The political disconnect (truthfully it has always been there), CoVid19 continues, Systemic Racism (woundedly, it remains), Police Murders of Black Lives (#GeorgeFloyd) was not the first and the revolutionary resurgence of Black Movement. #BlackLivesMatter

#Spiritual Wellness…I made major moves this week. I’m doing a lot more focusing on the things I want and requesting those things that I require. I expected some push back on this one request and I didn’t receive it. In a talk w/ a colleague, “Michelle I’m not sure why you expected push back. You are the most sought out therapist here. Look at your location. Every location I visit you’re the only therapist that remains booked. Yeah. No, you’re not going to get any push back.” 

I looked at her strangely. I didn’t get the big head. I became even more humbled. There are times I have no clue where I am in all this. Oftentimes, I miss me. This week was a Monday’s Monday–every day of the week: I listened to a patient apologize yet defend their idea of “All Lives Matter while Black Lives do not matter.” (Actual words: “Black Lives do not matter.”) The more they talked to their Black Female Therapist, the more racist they sounded. I wrote three individuals out of work—mental health has become an issue for the majority; I was threatened “jokingly” while in session and I reported my first case of child abuse to DSS.

 This ‘work” just doesn’t leave me yet it doesn’t become a part of me either. It all causes me to pause and reflect. I move into gratefulness. I think who I am and how I am leads me toward the moments of difficulty, gives me strength and causes me to recognize where my strength comes from. I think if  I had the ability to shake it or become numb I wouldn’t be who I am as a therapist. I believe serving as a therapist has to be one of the most difficult things I had to do…and become. We’re always becoming, evolving; trying to be better than yesterday. This role as therapist is difficult while being purposefully rewarding; so many pieces of me are required. 

In my personal reflection, I notice how we neglect ourselves to make ourselves available for other people. One previous Saturday, I woke up unsure if I was getting sick or if I was just worn out–mentally and physically. I was more apt to believe in the first option, that I was getting sick. In wearing these masks my face has begun to breakout, coupled w/ stress I think it’s natural to assume illness. I needed to rest and reset. I’m going to find my space in this. I’m committed to finding my space in this. I continue to make room everyday as well as set new boundaries. I am selfish with my peace.

I pray that in our moments —those moments that we find difficult to get up that we move towards our wholeness. As we continue to be whole there is no stopping point of movement, of increase. We gain ground. Continue to gain ground. In your grounding: you may have to Reground, Reframe, Reset, Process, Breathe…Love Anyway. 

Intimately Worded,

Michelle

Facing Our Monsters

January has been the most difficult concerning my therapeutic life. It was a rough month. This hurt; this stuff hurts. Its not all due to the therapeutic experiences alone yet hearing certain isolated stories of pain caused me to look at some pockets of pain in my life. We are not just facing traumas…to work in a mental health profession, with #mental illness is upsetting, its great, its wonderful, its inspiring, motivating, its painful.

Its painful to see the things we have to see; its hurtful, soul wrenching and heartbreaking to hear the horrific things people go through and the things they want to do…its haunting. What I have learned this year, what I am learning this year: its not that I need to do more or that I need to be more intentional: I need someone.

I’ve set my life up to the point of wanting someone but never will I need someone…that I will ever need someone and that is hard for me to come to terms with. Those are the monsters I’m talking about. The emotional, self- protective modes we come up with because everything becomes very hard, very difficult to deal with. We imagine that no one could possibly understand our journey. So when the monsters show up we don’t know what to do. We stop learning how to let those things go. We don’t know how to process those things. We forget how to not be afraid.

Yet, it amazes me how the Universe flows towards us and never against us. Its great to have someone to ask about your day. Of course, I do not share particular travesties with those that call and check on me…there’s a responsibility in what we leave with people, what we hand over to them. My children surrounded me during this past week. My eldest popped in for a weekend visit, my granddaughter wanted to spend the weekend and she loves her Umi. My heart healed with having all my children under one roof. Monday I sent them a group text:

“Being a therapist has been icky these last few weeks. I don’t tell y’all all of it because it’s ugly very ugly at times. This weekend was what I needed and by far one of the greatest moments of being your mother. I’m so proud of each of you. Being with you does my soul & heart well. You are what I need…always what I wanted and you’re always loved. Your Mom. ” They are what I need.

“Spiritual progress is like detoxification.”

We have to face the monsters. The monsters show up whether we want them to or not; whether we’re ready or not. We have a base, we have home plate—a foundation. It’s not for you to just be okay, it’s for you to be better. Trust your growth process. Understand the experiences for what they are, understand your humanity, understand your heart for whenever the monsters show up its not as scary. For they come, they show their ugliest. Life is difficult…yet we are given the strength to face the monsters. Learn to be gentler with yourself. Love is reciprocal…allow the greater to #evolve.

I’m learning to process so that I can progress and man does that hurt. It becomes easier to trust the Darkness when that’s all we see and hear. Our monsters become bigger when we operate from places of patterns—comfortable patterns that we’ve band aided. There’s Light wherever we are even when we have become the glimpse, a fraction, the source of the Light.

Psalm18:28-29: “You , O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into Light. With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.”

Intimately Worded,

Michelle

Christmas Ornaments: Nostalgia and All the Feels

#AfterChristmas: This picture of my favorite Christmas ornaments contains over 25 years of awesome memories. Each one was either created by my children, gifted to me or purchased for my children to have.

The monogram balls are for my Autumn, now 16 and for my Bru, now 13. The handmade gingerbread man created by my Darius at age 5…he is now 27 years old. The gingerbread has been broken and glued so many times. I love it the most because of its durability to withstand moves from home to home, sticky and clumsy baby fingers, its ability to hold so much with so little. The clear ball w/ the angel in the center also has been repaired and glued so many different times; its creator is my oldest, Damien, now 30 years old. The Christmas Tree painting was completed by my daughter at 11 years old. She doesn’t like it, stating its so elementary. I absolutely love it.  She has grown into a phenomenal artist. You have to check out her 2008 Snowman. You see her picture?! She was 5 years old. The heart shaped cream-colored ornament was gifted to me by my deceased Mother-in-Law. She wasn’t always the greatest to me yet each Christmas I share w/ her grandchildren her unique style for different things.

Life has this way of not going or coming together as we planned. Each year with hanging the ornaments and decorating our home for the Holidays, I remember. I believe that 20 years of memories, of babies becoming adults, of our children adulting while we’re doing our best to adult as well brings transformation, details a life of grace. As we transition, transform, develop, build and grow…we learn how to be the repairer after we break…we learn to represent the greatest traits after brokenness. Continue to heal, continue to live so that love remains. Life has a way of undoing what we hold sacred. I’ll keep our Christmas up after the New Year comes in, its so much more than tradition. Honor what makes you You.

This year, my #struggle deepened, and my purpose got greater. I continue to wish you love and peace. If you are a giver, make room to receive. It comes back to you, always. I pray that all your experiences this year have led you to a closer relationship with Our Creator. My hope is that you know without any shadow of doubt that you are loved and with His love you can conquer and soar…He equips is to do great things. December 31 symbolizes more of our wants…not the ending. Grow, heal, love, #forgive, plan, accomplish. Do your work. Do what is required of you. Believe in better. Happy New Year! Continued blessings and miracles to you and yours. #MakeRoom #GraceForMore

Intimately Worded, 

Michelle 

Attention: What Sustains?

I am currently on vacation. I purposely took a week off from work and planned a 5 day stay at the Beach. My two teens are with me and as teenish as they are, I am often left alone. The Ocean wore them out and I find myself drawn to check my phone and emails—wanting someone to want me, need me. I have never had a problem being alone. I prefer it…I prefer quiet. My levels of growth and healed segments of my life are increased and reveled in when I am alone. Yet, last night as all was quiet except the therapeutic roaring of the ocean, I was unable to write, unable to read. I surmised that it has only been 24 hours in which the phone did not have my attention. In all honesty, I worked yesterday, remotely. So, in not writing, nor reading I am focusing on the best way to help all patients… I am strategically casing while on vacation. Seriously.

        An Undeniable Bond
#myBrutus and #PrincessMonster
An Undeniable Bond
#myTeens

Okay, let’s talk: Attention, what does it mean to you and why has it become a phenome to accept deeper connections through social media and not human contact? We text more than we call. We scroll more than we touch. We deviate more than we plan and grow. I sit here and I people watch…rarely does anyone make direct eye contact. One female is walking for exercise while on her phone. A model is having her pics taken by a photographer…I digress. My plan for vacationing was to write, to read and to relax. I was only able to do that for a full 24 hours before my attention was diverted to everything but my personal goals.

I think with each phase of life our desire for attention levels out and begins differently. I ask not to be self-critical nor to minimize the affect how Life and why God has impacted my journey just so. I analyze, I overthink, I reflect…I ponder, as I become this great individual that I’ve pursued for the longest time.

  • What type of attention are you seeking?
  • What parts of you need that type of validation and why?
  • Why aren’t you able to write, Writer?
  • What are those fears that keep you searching?

I think my own diversion to attention seeking is due to my having to work all the time for any and everything I’ve wanted. I’ve been placed in Life-Roles when I had no clue, no voice in how things should be, yet I continue to do right by those that are in my life. I know that the way my life is set up I am required to go, do and be. Rarely, am I given the opportunity to focus on myself…to breathe –to understand where I am. At times, restoration is scary, fearful and quite intimidating. I love how my phase is unfolding as I am writing this…. God does exactly what He wants for His love is greater for us than any plans we’ve wished and prayed for. He never stops listening. Cosmically, this is the calmest the Ocean has been since we arrived.

“Taking time to do nothing often brings everything into perspective.” ~Doe Zantamata

Therapeutic Reflections
#NoObstacles

I encourage you to re-evaluate your actions and analyze your why…soon the reveal or revelation you seek will hit you in the most deserving way possible…your needs not theirs. Keep with what sustains you…even if it seems to have blurred. I am a therapist’s therapist and an awesome mother. I believe the remainder will fall into place; its impossible to thrive in lack.

Intimately Worded,

Michelle

©

Graced For More

Committing to writing has always been an adventurous discipline for me. Forgive me for not posting as quickly as my experiences occur. I am ever so grateful for the way Life is treating me and faithfully attuned to how God stands in the gaps of my unknowing.

August, my birthday month has been revolutionary! My 49th year began with decisions, doubts and quiet fear. Those things I kept to myself, internalizing the eternal. My last post I detailed my journey in participating in #31DaysOfPrayer; which generated a great deal of evolving. The Spiritual growth process is unusual and unique, rather intimate. My spiritual life has been enlightening, very different than assumed. We’re all given foundations, taught standards and one or several events will set us on a meta trajectory with our own beliefs changing and/or becoming more.

I gifted myself a spa treatment. I’ve never had one before and expected service like that of a standard massage treatment. My time there was/is unequivocally a required life-essential. The care I received increased my strength in becoming better in my love of self—acknowledging the existence of how I’ve allowed abuse, sadness and humanness cause a permanence of take-aways.

The outside doesn’t appear as much to look at yet the facility is tranquil once you enter. How do you treat yourself? Is the first question prompted within the waiting area. I was greeted with warmth, kindness and served Watermelon Basil Water. #fancy I chose the Summer Scrub Treatment followed by a facial treatment. Yes, I still have acne!! Which blows my mind for I never had acne issues as a teen or during pregnancy.

I’m directed to this beautiful room where water is running slowly in a copper tin tub. The room is soft, full of earthy colors: browns, creamy white and greenery. I’ve yet to relax. There’s a great deal of anxiety even with expecting this type of care.

The process was gentle. The care exceptional. I’ve never been cared for in such a manner. #Sisters, we serve everyone. We are nurturers. It’s what we do, how we are. As I explained to my eldest: “My first 7 years I cannot remember but no one has ever washed me. Ever. I’ve taken care of others, washed and massaged them. No one has ever cared for me in such a way. It solidified that I want to be wealthy with life. I want to be able to do those type things for myself.”

Him: “It must be hard for you. To know that you were never loved in that manner. I mean I can’t remember but I know that I was cared for in that way because you tell me. Grandma told me. I know I was loved, am loved. But to know that you were not. Man, Momma. You should be able to do that at least 2x a year.”


My attendant requested permission to wash my stomach…4 babies, 6 surgeries, numerous stretch marks, c-sect scar, weight gain…I cried, silently. Every negative thing, thought, image was lifted away from me. How shameful I’ve treated myself. It’s all connected—our mental, physical, spiritual and emotional health. Soul-neglecting has to be our greatest betrayal of self. How unknowingly cruel we are, can be.

As I returned back into my work week, I experienced some soreness, tenderness when I moved. Not painful but just enough to remember the experience as it transpired. We’re not here to just touch others’ lives, to serve others. Be mindful of how you’re representing your soul. We’re not created to take in everything and hold on to it. How are you treating yourself?

Don’t confuse self-care with maintenance, those things we do to maintain a “finished” look. I am uncomfortable yet grounded…forging and purged…leveling up. I’m unsettled in settling. That makes my soul smile. {Ecclesiastes 3}

#BeAWholeMovement

“Trust me when I say, You’re capable of anything imaginable.” ~Anonymous

Intimately Worded,

Michelle

siSTARS on Motherhood

A new platform! I am so excited about this collaboration. I wanted my intro to this Trio– I am a part of to be grander and greater. Yet, I cannot think of gifting you our #Us in such a phenomenol way. Take time to watch the video….we are authentic and so raw in our love. Totally unbiased. I think it is a very powerful introduction to my SiStars and a great way to reflect and be encouraged this Mother’s Day weekend. Also follow Doc @kwoted.wordpress.com and Lady G @seekthebestblog.com.