Update on Life as I Have Known It

Hi Blog Family!

It’s been about 3 months since I blogged. Basically since I was hospitalized in March-April, I haven’t written much. I’ve had two publications come out: Writing Fire: An Anthology Celebrating the Power of Women’s Words and Berkshire Mosaic, both of which were fun pieces to write. The former celebrated a fictionalized version of my romantic life over the past twenty years of living in the U.S. and the latter contains two profiles I did on people in the Great Barrington community where I’ve lived for the past two years, as well as a profile of me done by Margot Welch. I don’t see these two as testimonials of my writing life this year because the pieces were written last summer and fall. A little voice says it doesnt matter, I should still celebrate this accomplishment.

I haven’t written mainly because re-entry to the community was a bit of a journey. I returned from the facility to lots of turmoil in the office and I felt isolated until the very end. It felt like a chunk of my life had been put on hold while others had moved on. I left the week before Spring break and came two weeks after. I was happy to have those who knew of my hospitalization be there and be a support, but work felt foreign to me. I was taken off the duty rotation schedule because the psychiatrist and social workers recommended it. This meant my colleagues had to pick up my shifts. The one in charge could have saved me a lot of face by just rearranging the schedule but instead she told them I couldn’t work and then asked who wanted to pick up my shifts, almost as though they were doing me a favor; this did not sit well with everyone. In any case, I muddled through the rest of the semester while still battling the disease. I gave my resignation because according to experts sleep, exercise and cocktails are what keep the noonday demon at bay.

What folks don’t tell you is that being hospitalized only stabilizes you for a short time. Basically for the time you are in care.  I was on my own the moment I arrived back on campus. Sure I had check-ins with my local psychiatrist and my therapist but it was nothing like meeting with my counselor and social worker everyday for a month. I had no one monitoring my meds or my sleep. I had everyone rooting for me, so I figured I owed it to them to follow instructions. My Beloved helped me stay on track, calling me each night around bedtime to make sure I took the meds. April was full of ups and downs but I persevered, and finally on May 7th (not sure what the significance was) I woke up and just like that the depression was gone! Like I had never had it to begin with. I wanted to eat, take walks, write, and of course not take my coctails. I had been keeping a mood journal for the whole time since I returned because it had been recommended so I hurriedly went through it to make sure I wasn’t swinging to the other side. I kept a close eye on this May 7th transformation even as I kept my fingers crossed and started to enjoy the sunshine and longer days.

Even though I was nervous about my next steps, I focused my attention on the end of semester and graduation events. Then came the wedding that I officiated. This took me back to Cali. I hadn’t been there for three years, since I packed up and left to go to Ghana to take care of my grandmother. Cali was every bit as exciting as it was for me when I lived there from 2008-2012. I was in love with the Bay. In love with the idea that I could work out just by walking to the train station 20 minutes each day back and forth (I dislike gyms). I love that most of my friends there are artists and they always inspired me to nurture my artist self. I had a good time but the Bay was about 50 degrees so yours truly was displeased. Especially since I had no warm clothing. I borrowed some. Thank God for friends. The Bay has gotten more expensive than when I lived there 7 years ago. Most of my friends’ apartments were about $1500 on the low end. Most were sharing spaces. When I left I knew I wanted to return but I knew I’d need a miracle to return.

While in the Bay, I also realized that somewhere between making a recovery and planning the wedding I was officiating, I had fallen in love in a different way than I had been the months prior. What a surprise to my single-independent-woman brand. I discovered that as much as I was enjoying the Bay, I missed my Beloved and couldn’t wait to get back to her. When she had been planning out her summer travel schedule I had been paying half attention. So in the middle of being in Cali I suddenly realized that when I returned home, I would only have her around for two days before she was off for a month. We spent as much time as we could with each other and then I went and saw her off. I thought I’d lose it; I was so sad. Given my history of playing it cool, I was overwhelmed by this emotion.  I cried as I drove home that night. What was becoming of me, the “Carmen” of lovers?! I hurried to therapy and confessed. She was no help: it means you are now fully and truly in love. I said: yeah but…this isn’t me, wasn’t me.  Say hello to the Kuukua in love. So anyway it’s been an excruciating month without her. I’ve broken down on the phone, but we have many thanks for the gift of the internet. It has fostered our relationship and decreased the distance considerably. So for the big reveal…

We are going to be sharing space. Being the rational being she is, she says she is providing me shelter while I transition, but we are not moving in together. We will move in together at a later date when we can both pick the place and such. This felt good to my single-independent woman who was having a mini crisis, analyzing what all this meant and how to fashion living together. I had always sworn I would never move for another. Up until March, I was also convinced that I loved my non-attachment, sexually-liberated self more than a partnership. I had a vision of a Frieda Kahlo and Diego Rivera house style living arrangement. Once I heard her explanation of what we are about to do, I seemed to simmer down a whole lot. So…I am moving to North Country as they call it. I will be closer to Canada than to the rest of the U.S. I am dreading the cold but I have faith in the warmth we can create in being together and having common goals. Oh my, I’m blushing. Ok. Enough of this.

I haven’t decided what my next steps are as far as professional work goes. For a few months I was hooked on the idea of finishing my MFA that I left behind in the Bay. The idea made it easier to deal with the idea of 6 months of snow and freeze, but I gave that up a few days ago because it didn’t seem feasible or even smart at such a transitional time with finances. I will continue to apply for work and pray that whatever my next steps are it will be revealed to me. I just know that somehow over the last three months I’ve warmed up to the idea of casting my lot with someone.

I can’t decide what the blog will become in the next few months. A lot of stuff has happened over the past three months that have affected me deeply, most recently Charleston. Some of which have made me a bit paranoid and nervous. I have been posting what others are writing about it and I think maybe for a while I will keep doing that. I have a few blog posts in me that I hope will worm their way out in the next few weeks after I transition into my new life. But in the meantime, I continue to bask in the love and care I am receiving from all angles, including my church family.

The blog will be 5 years old in July and somehow over the last few weeks I’ve been wondering what direction I want to head in next. I’ve been contibuting pieces (1 for now) to Holaafrica.org, ThisisAfrica.me and will be contributing to Queermentalhealth.org once I get settled. And I’ve been writing on and off here and there. Stay tuned for what’s next.

Thank you for following and reaching out and reading.

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