2017 – Can we talk??!!

Well here we are at the end of another year!  Always the time to reflect on what happened in the past year as we prepare to move into the new year. Some of us say “right it’s time for change” and make up new year resolutions to make those changes happen. Some of us are like “yeah ok another year, let’s see what it brings” and just go with the flow. While other’s can’t be bothered to be excited or disappointed by the change of year as the rollercoaster they are on is just going.

For myself, I do not like resolutions.  They are things we strive to do and start off on the right track but by March like 97% of anyone who had set up resolutions had stopped working on them.  It seems like a fad.  Something we do as a tradition to go with the New Year celebrations. I like instead that we make and carefully decide on making life changes and not necessarily just as a reflection for the new year ahead.  Our lives are constantly reacting to what is surrounding us and what is happening.  Are we making the right choices? The right change? Did we really think that through for ourselves or influenced by others? Are we being true to our true self?

2017 has seen me question myself in all aspects of my life and relationships.  It started just okay.  I was in a job that I was very tired of working in but continued anyways as you have to make that money and pay bills. I had no goals or target set but to make myself happy but what exactly did that entail?  I usual thought being happy centered around having family and friends plus money in my pocket to do what I wanted.  Which is really great when you think of it but when you start to really look into it you have to qualify a few things.  Because you could have family but they take more than they give. Or friends who only want to be “friends” when they are available and willing. A job that sucks the life out of you leaving you bored & depressed but yet pays you well.  So you have to look deeply within yourself to really have an understanding of what you want to be able to move forward and be happy.

So I had to look clearly and it took me a very long way through 2017 before reaching any real conclusion.  I went about my business as the year started.  While on my annual rugby trip to Wales in March with my most awesome rugby sidekick did I really start to notice that my life was on a very low-level.  It was a weekend of a lot of laughs and happy highs that I realized something had to change.  Work wasn’t agreeing to give me a sabbatical to sort my life out so I gave in my notice. When I told my friends what I did there were a lot of the right words but no true feeling behind it to make me think  all of them understood what I meant and really needed.  What I realized from those who asked the question of  “what’s next” to “well what do you think you want to do that will make you truly happy?” is there are friends who know you and are there for you through out all your ups and downs. And there are those friends who are still great to have around but who are not part of a true support system to your well-being.  So you try to decide, do I stop being friends or do I just not dwell on relying upon them so much in my life.  I decided to not be the one that always called or always messaged to say “hello” or try to set up something.  Would they notice? Would they even care?  Would I even care if they did or didn’t? You shouldn’t have to force people to be your friend as you are not going to get the best in that situation.  So no more “hey where have you been” messages or calls as someone once wrote “if they want to be with you they would be”! I do love hanging out with people because I am a social person.  But I have also learnt that I am my best friend. I can be by myself to go to the movies or dinner or shopping and be very okay! So if you don’t want to call me don’t worry babes I will be just fine with the crazy awesome sauce friends that do call (waves to cat lady!!)

My unemployed to employed to back to unemployed self is still on that grind but I now know where I want to focus on. After having all this me time (a lot of me time unfortunately), I have decided to go back to school.  Once that was decided I had the task of deciding on what the friggin hell do I study?? Took some deep thinking (AGAIN) but I put the things in a bowl that I like to do and BOOM!!  I will be following my angel(my Mother) into her line of work – Cosmetology.  My mother had tried constantly to get me into the field as she felt I had the hands and could retain the knowledge of proper care but I kept resisting for why I do not know. But no longer peoples, applications have been sent out to a few accredited schools. Me and my thinking cap are back in business  hopefully in September 2018.  All of this really came from all the awesome people I follow on Twitter. I am sure you just went what??!!! Yes I said it!!  It all started when I started following BlackGirlNerds.  The lovely Jamie was constantly RT or commenting with others who I ended up following.  Following them lead me to following others who had great insight and knowledge which helped me open my closed book.  Their shared views and comments helped me to see a different possibility for me and to not ever hold back.  They constantly filled my TL with information, meaningful dialogue, laughter, direction but most of all sisterhood.  They gave me the strength to say no to what others thought I should have done and be happy with doing what I want to do.  I will most likely post this article so I would love to thank the women who have made my TL the best in 2017 – @BlackGirlNerds, @FilmFatale_NYC, @Lexialex, @ReelTalker, @ava, @ReignOfApril, @iamlaurenp, @JoyAnnReid, @AmmaAsante and many many more great voices.

The road may have a few bumps and turns along the way but as long as I keep walking on it I will reach the sunshine on the otherside!   So I want to wish everyone a very Happy New Year.  May 2018 be all that you make it to be!!

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It’s been 4 years …

Wow can’t even imagine that I have actually sat down to type after so many months “thinking” about it!!  Not sure what has these little fingers going but they are and that is cool to me … I think!

So looking back I noticed the last time I posted anything on here was May 20, 2013.  That was exactly 16 days before my mother passed away suddenly from cancer.  As can be expected there was no will in me to write any more after the loss of someone so dear to me.  I didn’t know how to function really without her any more in my life as she was part of every part of my life.  From the crazy phone calls to my mobile just to say hello or the constant stalking she did on Skype to speak to us her “ungrateful” kids as she liked to call us.  Wow to have her call me was something I still long for daily.  It’s hard to deal with such a death but you do somehow and especially with the help of family and amazing friends.  I had a great support from a few friends who knew just to be there and let me lead in conversation and activities letting me live life but yet grieve in my own way.  They didn’t question any of my teary eye moments of memory or try to over “comfort” me to the point that I wished to push them away.  Because as much as people think they are being helpful, it really hurts more and brings out that anger you hear about with part of the death process.  Anger was my great friend that’s for sure for about a few years and the fuel of a lot of my actions after.  It is 4 years later and I still have anger and regret but learning how to deal with it.

My biggest regret is not having been with her when she passed away.  She had retired to Cape Verde and that was where she had returned to when she landed very sick.  We were advised by family with her that she had pneumonia and had been hospitalised to get it under control.  While there we siblings decided one of us should go down and be with her.  As I was the most mobile I booked my flight to go on Tuesday afternoon.  Just so you know there are not always daily flights to some areas in Africa and this was no exception. I was booked to leave Friday and arrive Saturday.  God had other plans as in the early hours of Wednesday, after further testing the doctors told my family to have her family arrive ASAP as she would not make the week.  It was diagnosed that my mother had stomach cancer that had quietly spread throughout her body and her body was shutting down.  We could only say good-bye via the phone as there was no way any one of us children would arrive in time.  My Mother passed on Wednesday June 5th at 7PM.  Worse day of my life had come to pass and I wasn’t there to hold her hand to let her know it was ok to go and we would be ok.  The regret of not saying good-bye is hard to deal with and might never be settled but in my heart I know she knows we would have been there!!

In fact just reflecting on it I think that I am still trying to deal with her loss.  I haven’t really settled back down in a steady balance of work and life.  I am constantly not happy and trying to find my answer in something new. I have tried with new jobs, new hobbies and traveling but still that spark of being unsatisfied remained.  This will be a work in progress that will have to be worked upon.  I used to always speak to mom on a lot of my decisions in life and I think that is why I have been so lost as no one really knew me as she did.  She knew my quirks. The things that irritated me. Things that made me happy and be productive.  That sounding board is missing and in realising that I think my next step is to truly accept that and rely on my inner voice.

Make sure to always let your loved ones know how you feel!!   The picture is my absolute favourite! She and my niece had harassed me non stop that day this was her trying to make me feel better after I said I was done with the both of them!  Love you Mom always!!

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Ode to having “Good Hair”

So I won’t even go into explaining what it means when you’re told you have “good hair”. I mean the definition is different to whomever you talk to about it.  But what it really does is irritate me on how this term is a “norm” with black females.  I would love to say its a compliment being given because of some way your hair is but most times it is stated with a backlash of envy and resentment!

I have what I call crazy azz hair but have been put in that classification of having this type of hair. I have a curly look that I get by just washing my hair. I put in some conditioner brush it out and then pray! Yup pray that the curls workout somewhat without me looking like it had my finger too long in the socket! Otherwise I can blow dry it and BOOM straight hair!  And with that my hair makes people look at me with envy. I can’t tell you how many people have pulled at my hair, stroked my hair or just stared at it as if they will divine how my hair came to being.

Growing up I just went with the flow and said “thank you” and tried not to deck those who reached out and touched. Now I become upset inside. You would wonder why right because they are just being nice and making a compliment. I thought that was the way it was but when you really look at their eyes you see the truth of it. There is that tight lip smile that comes with the compliment and I wonder if inside they are thinking of taking a pair of scissors to my hair!! Why is there so much importance given to hair?? I know almost 99.9% of women think about their hair. As a black woman though the hair translates to more then just an accessory. “Good hair” puts you that much closer to being what society accepts as good! Which is what makes me so upset when its said to me. Cos you know what buddy?? I’m just me and my genes gave me this hair. No way am I even try to emulate something that is not me. So when people try to justify my hair (and you know there has got to be a clear and concise reason why I have this type of hair) “Are you mixed?” “Do you have Indian in you?” “Are you coolie?” I kindly grit my teeth and say that I am African. What African with that hair? No not possible! Newsflash it is! I am the product of two Cape Verdean parents.  I would go into how the islands were a slave depot and therefore a lot of mixing and such to create the genes we see today but why bother? They should take it at face value of who I am and not pigeon hole my looks.

I don’t have this desire to look or be accepted because I look a certain way by closed minded individuals. I strive to make the best me there is. Sure I look at some skinny person and am like “good Lord how does she do it?” Am I envious of her figure? Heckz yeah but it’s due to me not having put my 100% into loosing weight. So you want to have my hair style then work on it dangit! 

And there are people who have now joined the new “natural” movement. That means not processing the hair and trying to use very little chemical products. One would think that people like me would then be saved as women embrace this whole new natural look of dreads and curls right??? Wrong?! I now get the question of how exactly do I get my curls to go that way?! When I kindly share my hair routine (which involves a lot of praying) they aren’t very satisfied. Makes me wonder why you even bother to harass me and ask??

I really think the real issue is just loving yourself and liking what you see when you look in that mirror. I know that as from my personal struggles this past year it was hard to do that very thing. I didn’t however not like myself due to comparing myself to someone else. I just didn’t see what I wanted to see reflected back and became bitterly disappointed.  I wish though all women regardless of race could be happy with themselves. There are women who are tall that wish they were small, women with red hair and freckles wish they were anything but and the list goes on and on. Is it easy being you?? Heckz no! You think the first time I stepped out with the mess on top of my head I was comfortable? No it was a challenge to not keep touching it and trying to fix it. Now?? I wear it proudly and my friends are not ashamed to tell me that it’s due to my hair that they can always find me in a crowd!!

So please celebrate you and think twice before commenting that someone has good hair! Why not just say you have really nice hair? Or that you love the way it (insert nice comment here) …. that is much nicer and more respectful.Image

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Coming back to blog with a story about Mom

Well it’s been ages since I’ve been on here writing.   So many reasons or should I say so many excuses as to why I couldn’t sit down to write what was on my mind? Either way I decided today to stop and get back to it. 

So where have I been since the last entry?? Well I moved yet again. I flew down from Toronto to Fort Lauderdale in March to assist with family and friends.  I decided that as much as I love my friends and family in Toronto, the combination of winter, job hunting and grumbling Dad were not good for me.  So I have landed in the land of sun – a lot of sun and unnecessary humidity – again! My stay here isn’t something I expect to be long term. I am just using it as a “finding Ana Maria” locale!

So I arrived here and not long after there was the arrival of my mother visiting from Africa. That worldwind called my mother is something you have to experience. There is no way I can translate the craziness that is known as my mother. She came to see what it was she could do to help me get out of this rut I have found myself floating in. Unfortunately in all her good efforts, I believe that she didn’t understand exactly what was wrong.  You have to understand that my mother is 70 years old, raised in Africa with a very old school mentality. Saying that I could be in a state of depression was hard for her to admit. There were the questions of whether or not I put myself in this situation due to lack of trying. “Did you do …?” “Did you try …?” Yes, yes and more yes!  When no really answer came forward to explain my last year she decided it was God’s will I have a hard year and that I need to stay strong. She stopped all the questions then and told me she loved me and always would be there for me no matter what!  Her statement of acceptance and at the same time unconditional assistance helped more then she could have imagined. She made it “OK” that I wasn’t perfect as I wanted to be. That this situation wasn’t the best but I would get through it. After that she had a fun time dragging me around while she shopped up half of Florida. Her not dwelling on it or pushing any further was what I needed. 

My mom left this past Wednesday and its scarey to admit but I miss her.  She was good constant pain in my side that I enjoyed. I mean yes she sure fustrated the hell out of me but that’s a mom’s job right? As she said she came to see for herself what was wrong with her daughter and try to help. Thank you mom for being you! Instead of asking me everytime we talk if “I’m OK” and stressing when I have a bad day, she has me working on her new project. I do believe she’s trying to distract me but l don’t mind at all.

So since she’s been gone as well I have been examining me and think a reason that I haven’t found work the past months could be because I just don’t know where I want to go in life.  I think I should apply for jobs in retail management as I was a retail manager for over 7 years. Yeah good thought because I loved the challenge and interactions I had with peers and customers but is it really me?? Then I think about well I was a nanny before, and oh I was an executive assistant maybe maybe maybe … Get it together woman you can’t work at all these jobs or apply to everything!! So I sat and thought that I really owe myself to finish my BA. So with that in mind, what do I want to study? What is it that will make me happy and excited again?

And that is the question I pose for myself for knowing where I want to go is the answer to fixing me.  I looked in the mirror for the first time in weeks and really looked at myself and actually didn’t mind what was staring back at me. Definitely a step in the right direction. (pic of mom shopping it up in London, UK)Image 

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Thank goodness for music …

On my playlist on youtube is this awesome song from Evanescene – My Immortal.  It is such an emotional song and one that could make you very sad but for some reason gives me peace.  The words are very touching and combined with her haunting voice, it is a song I can not help but enjoy over and over again!

Music is and has been such a powerful tool throughout our history. I find that I’m using it myself to keep my part of sanity in tact.  If you ever looked at my playlists you would really question if I had multiple personalities. :0) nope I’m just someone who likes what she hears and that’s that. I don’t need to or even wish to label or put myself into a genre of music. I mean why do I have to confirm to soceity’s norm to being a stereotype?? I put myself in my own category of “I like what I like”

I think the diversity of music has actually been a saving grace for me this past year. As times got a lot on the rough side, I hardly ever left the sanctuary of my bedroom. Oh sure I crawled out eventually but otherwise there I sat on the bed with my laptop for hours on end. In one of those “aaaaghhhhh” moments, I decided I needed something to distract my mind and went to listen to music on youtube. That led me to actually signing on and creating an account.  And all my account has is play lists! Hours of music of all different types to make me happy. I have my salsa, jams, old R&B, new wave, samba, oldies, slow songs, dancehall, creole, classic and gospel. Whatever my mood is that day is what I will listen to and my head just goes to bopping along to the beat.  Each group of videos are songs that I truly like and can dance to or shout out with at the top of my so not professional voice. Crazy huh? I might think so as well, if I didn’t notice how happy I became after one of my sessions.

Music without a doubt has been a driving force for many things and has been a blessing for many people. I remember watching the opening ceremonies of the Olympics this summer watching the lead drummer. She lead a team of at least 1000 drummers but yet was deaf!!  You would never have guessed she was deaf as she pounded away on her drum set! The joy and exuberance she portrayed, as with all the other drummers, just showed you the joy they had playing.  Also the people in the stadium got to not only hear the music but feel the beat!  She is just one example of someone who embraced the love of the beat and dedicated her life to it.

So as I’ve now moved on to listening to Coldplay, I hope that I’m not the only one who understands and appreciates the power of music in one’s life. I wish everyone had their own playlists that helps them daily through life!

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In the beginning ….

Well as I sit looking at this blank screen I wonder what exactly I’m going to write about? I am not a professional writer? My grammer gets mixed up a bit but does that really matter? I mean I just want a place where I can let out all my feelings. I think a journal is too boring for that and having read a few blogs, I thought why not??

Where to start?? I guess it would be why I want to express my feelings and thoughts. This past year has probably been the worse in my life and in trying to get back on solid ground I am thinking retaining my feelings is not a smart idea.  2012 started pretty much with my company on its last leg of closing down their 11 stores in UK. I as a manager was preoccupied with assisting that process, helping my employees go forward on January 14 and my thyroid surgery on the 16th.  Life seemed ok but mentally I was in such denial.  I’m good at that, hiding my feelings. I was lost as to where to go and what to do and my brain was doing a 360 every minute it seemed.  I settled for just doing me. Trying to live life and being there for people. The negative feelings were there but I just thought it was from not finding work and that I was just over reacting to what a lot of people were going through.

Life came to a reality check when I got a wake up call in the form of my sister freaking out on the phone at me.  It started with me writing on skype that I had “made a decision”. When she asked what that could have been, I answered “that I have decided not to jump off the bridge”.  Well as someone who knows me very well, my sister had started noticing the negative and withdrawn comments coming from me. Living across the pond in Florida, she couldn’t do anything but try to read my mood through my words.  When I made that reference to suicide it freaked her out as all signs read to me possibly being that bad. I replied I was joking which I thought I was but in retrospect maybe I wasn’t. When did I get to that thought? I know that I thought how easy life would be if I wasn’t around but dismissed it. Really me thinking suicide? I’m like one of those crazy fun loving people that others find annoying. But I hadn’t been that person for awhile. I had let negativity settle permanently in my life and affect me and my self confidence.

Where did it change? Don’t know. Why didn’t I talk to someone about it? Didn’t think I had a problem. Why? Why? With no real answer but that I had to correct my thinking ASAP!  I was a bit taken aback that I could have possible been heading that way without any real thought. I have always wondered how people could commit suicide and it seems rather easily and with no real thought process. It just felt like me being gone wouldn’t have made a difference.

Well so that’s why writing is important. I have promised myself to find my self worth again and be that nutcase person. So I might write a lot, or a little, thoughtful or the ridiculious but I will be writing it with or without a lot of typos!! Ruh roh!!

So here I am!!  Wait … who am I? I’m Nitchie. A black female who’s parents are from Cape Verde. I was born in Rotterdam and have lived in Holland, Portugal, Canada and UK.

Think that’s a good start …. see you soon! Image

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