Tuesday, January 31, 2023

February will be Fabulous!

January, January, January, oh what a month it was....

    It feels like it went by in the blink of an eye with everything we were hit with. Y'all know about the surgery, but life itself felt like it was hitting me a mile a minute. We are planning to move, but are still unsure of where we are moving to and at this point are probably going to end up in my parents basement.....kidding(ish). We have time to figure it out, but let's just say the clock is ticking.

    I want to start going into each month with a word or phrase of intention. What literally just popped into my head is..'February will be Fabulous.' Now, if you knew all the decisions I had to make, then you would think that is a pretty bold statement, but maybe going in with that intention will make it true. 

We will call this Fabulous February!

    My best friend and I used to have Fabulous Fridays in high school, where no matter how much money we had we would have a day of 'fabulousness.' Which usually was us getting a bite to eat and our nails and feet done. We both worked, so we would spot each other if the other was short (because we were both still very much broke). We would get polish changes instead of full pedicures if neither one of us could swing the whole thing. We forgot all our troubles for one day and just pampered ourselves. It was the epitome of balling on a budget! That is the energy I am giving February.

This year feels so uncertain, with so many big decisions right at the start. It is going to be easy to get wrapped up in that and dread the month to come, but I am going into it excited! No matter where my decisions lead me (or my pockets allow), February will be Fabulous!

Also, check out my bestie's blog here!

Saturday, January 28, 2023

A Scared Black Mama

    Before having kids, I was very out of touch with what went on with the world. I was young, free, and very unaware of what was going on around me. Deaths in the black community are not a new thing, but in my very ignorant bubble I tried to ignore it. Hard to ignore growing up in Philly, but when your parents send you to private school for most of your life it is easy to feel a little removed from it all.

    Although there were many more before her, the first death I can remember that was largely publicized was the Sandra Bland murder. From the traffic strop confrontation to her untimely death in jail, something about the story really hit home for me. She was a black women just living her life that ultimately ended up....dead

What was stopping that from being me?

    Fast forward to now, I have two black sons. Two black sons that one day can be doing nothing at all and someone can look at them as a 'threat'. How scary is that? I pretty much changed my whole life around to be able to stay home with them these past few years. It started out because of the pandemic, but eventually I just felt they were safer at home.

    Between black shootings, mass shootings, and everything else you see online, I barely want my kids stepping foot in a school. I get anxiety when they are even out of my sight for too long. Every time I seriously start looking into childcare, my mom anxiety goes through the roof and I find a reason to put it off. I saw a tweet recently, that I think might be a little bit what I am going through.

    With the recent killing of Tyre Nichols going around social media, I chose to stay off of it today. I can't stomach another video of an innocent black person dying, with no ounce of direction on how this can get better. The only question I continuously ask myself is, how can this world get better for my kids? 

This question I will continue to ask myself until I see some change in this world and I pray I do soon.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

You're never too old for a nap!

    This recovery period is my 1st "downtime" since starting Marie Management a couple years ago. Even when I went on vacation last year, I worked the last day. Imagine being in Jamaica on a hammock and whipping out your iPad to work. I hated that for me! Here we are again and I barely took a week off for this surgery and I work for myself! I literally took more time off when I worked for someone else. (Check on your entrepreneur friends, we are not okay!)

    The idea of resting and relaxing has never been an easy thing for me. Seeing my mom work tirelessly throughout the years, I think I had in my mind that this is what womanhood and motherhood looked like. Alisha Aquaye from Allure Magazine wrote, “Black women don't get enough rest, and we don't get all the types of rest that we need.” Granting ourselves permission to rest is the challenge. Even with my body forcing me to rest, I am fighting against it. I am thinking about the commitments I have coming up, the new clients I am trying to land, making it to mason’s playgroup, and a million other things. Making the fact that I still move at a snails pace…..stressful. When in actuality the only thing I should be focusing on during this period is resting, relaxing, and healing.

    As a Black women, praise is usually given based on what we are doing for others. Which is why when we are in a position where we can't do for others we feel useless. Rest does nothing but benefit us, which is why it is also the last thing on our todo list. Because of this, things like, The Nap Ministry, are born. This is an an organization that examines the power of naps. The founder, Tricia Hersey, wrote, 'My rest as a Black woman in America suffering from generational exhaustion and racial trauma always was a political refusal and social justice uprising within my body. I took to rest and naps and slowing down as a way to save my life and resist the systems telling me to do more.'

    This isn't a new concept, but something I am realizing is growing more and more important as we get older. An issue that we often belittle, but that ends this year. This is the year of unapologetic breaks, rest, and dirty looks at whoever tells you otherwise. We deserve rest and I think this is the year we claim it!

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Saturday, January 21, 2023

Update from Patient Zero

Now that I am finally a few days out, I think it is time to give you guys an update.

    I don't know if it's covid, all the meds, or just the fact that I've had surgery that is leaving me exhausted, but ya girl is tired! I don't think I mentioned that this was my first surgery ever, so from start to finish I had no idea what to expect. All and all, I would say things went well!

    I was definitely patient 0 the whole day. The nurses and doctors were in full PPE every time they came near me (which was to be expected), but they very sweet the whole time! I also had the luxury of being in an isolation room from start to finish, but honestly that wasn't even bad. To me, everything happened quickly seeing as I was sleep for most of it, but Anthony said it felt like it took forever. He had to wait at home for the doctors call, so I am sure it felt like years for him!

    I woke up not even knowing the surgery had happened and have been home recovering ever since! My mom and Anthony have been the dream team of taking care of me and the boys and I am on the road to healing! I can't fully walk on my leg yet, but I am able to get around with crutches. Through all my dramatics and fears, I am just happy to say I have made it on the other side of this surgery. 

    Now I can get the rest of my life in order. Because if you thought this knee was my only debacle...wishful thinking! 

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Tuesday, January 17, 2023

And then, a B**** got Covid.

Y'all at this point me and life are tussling and I am down bad.

    All I could do was laugh when the hospital administrator told me that my Covid test came back positive. If I wasn't worried before, now let's just add this to the mix! Luckily the surgery is still going forward as planned, but now I just have the luxury of going through it alone. To say I am over it, is the understatement of the year.
    I can truly only be grateful that I am still having surgery tomorrow, but this was the icing on the cake. I remember having a runny nose before my last procedure and my covid test was negative, but now I come in with no symptoms and I have it. Make it make sense! With me never having surgery before, I just really didn't feel like having to go through this without support by my side. I know it will all be okay, but if you want to talk about someone down bad, you're looking at her! I just swore that test was going to be negative!
     I found this prayer online that is giving me a lot of comfort going into tomorrow that I wanted to share. If you have a friend or family member that has surgery coming up, pass it along to them. I hope it does the same for them that it do for me.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Black Doctor me, please!

    I have always said when it comes to my experience with the healthcare system, I have gotten lucky. Before this cancer scare, I have loved all my doctors and never felt the need to question them. They made me feel safe and taken care of and this was despite their race. Call it naive, but I grew up with mindset of: The doctor knows best. Now, when you look at the statistics, that is just not the case for so many people of color. After experiencing some of those disparities myself, I realized I needed to make a change. 

    According to The CDC, Black women are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than White women and this is statistic is not changing. These are things we have talked about for years now, but what is the real solution? I remember giving birth to my boys and each delivery being very scared to die (clearly that is a theme with me.) You see too many stories where a black woman goes in for a routine procedure and doesn't make it out when the odds were stack in their favor. It is sad and scary and something that not ALL races have to deal with, which is part of the reason I wanted to start this blog in the first place.

    Now, one thing I hate about being online these days is everyone pretends they know everything. You scroll down your timeline and there's a new guru everyday regurgitating what another guru said. I am not here to act like I know anything about the right steps needed to change this health care crisis, but I have some resources I would like to share that I think can help. For me it starts with finding a black doctor!

Some statistics I have found about having a black doctor are below:

  1. Research finds having a Black doctor results in a reduction in pain and anxiety for Black patients.
  2. Black men seen by Black doctors agreed to more preventative care services than those seen by non-Black doctors.
  3. Increased screening by a more diverse doctor workforce closes the life expectancy gap between whites and blacks. 

Aka, if you're black and reading this, GET YOU A BLACK DOCTOR.

    I have already emailed a few doctors from these websites, so I have linked them below to help you find one! The last two are not racially centered, but still great resources. Hopefully these help you like they are me! 
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Friday, January 13, 2023

Benign, my new favorite B-Word!

 Y'all, I am sooooo happy to be writing in a different tone. Say my new favorite word with me..




That was my text it to all my friends and family, when I finally got the word. To be exact my tumor is a Chondromyxoid fibroma. (You can follow the link to get all the deets about that.) I am the not-so proud owner of one of the rarest bone tumors there are and for once I am actually not being dramatic when I say this. If you go to the link you will see that it accounts for less than 1% of all bone tumors. Crazy to think, but we are just going to ride on that happy wave of the tumor being benign. Next step......surgery.

They were able to get me in next week, which I am grateful for with how long this whole process has been. My mom is flying out to help Anthony (because I refuse to say 'my husband' every time I refer to him, there's his name.) Everything seems to be finally falling into place and the idea of a full day with no pain is ACTUALLY in my reach. I cannot WAIT.

When I think about my headspace in my last blog post all I can say is, it was rough. You could tell from the tone of it all. I went with that same energy into the appointment and had to bring my kids. I was DREADING it! I always say, they know the days I need a little extra love. Those destructive little minions were absolute angels the whole time, a true rarity. From getting them ready, to lugging them into the car, they were the good luck charms I needed that day. 

So that's my update! There's still a long road ahead with these type of tumors, but we will deal with this as we go. For now, the only other thing I can say is THANK YOU GOD!

Monday, January 9, 2023

Everyday the Sun Won't Shine, but That's Why I Love Tomorrows

    Tomorrow's the big day. The day I finally find out if I have cancer. I have to type it out just like that because that's literally what tomorrow is for me. It's not just a doctor's appointment, its finding out if I have cancer. Let's just say I am not feeling the most positive. Nothing has changed, but I don't know my optimism is drowned out by the fear of hearing that dreaded c-word. Yesterday was my crying day, but today is my "Damn, I really might have cancer" day and I am deep in my thoughts.

    I am so grateful for the support that I have going into this, but it is that support that also brings tears to my eyes. The question I keep asking myself is: Why would this happen right now, when I have so much to lose? I know it seems like a dramatic sentiment to think, but sadly that's where I am. I look at my two boys and it's hard to not cry and think about not seeing them grow up. My husband kisses me on my forehead and I think about the years of bad men that led me to him and how much more time I want to spend with him. I am down a dark rabbit hole.

    It takes me back to when I first went to the doctor's to see about my knee. I pushed it off for months until finally my husband got sick of me waking him up in the middle of the night in tears from the pain. When I finally made the appointment he asked what I was so nervous about. Even then I had fears that this was more than just a tear or pulled muscle, like many of my family and friends hoped. My exact words to him were: That there's literally a tumor there and it's caused my leg to go haywire. He shrugged it off as my dramatics, but thanks to google, it seems I was right on track. 

    The one glimmer of hope that tomorrow brings is that I am getting answers. Answers I have wanted for months and a surgery date that will finally relieve this pain. I tried to hold onto that today and that's what pulled me through. As well as these lyrics: Everyday the sun won't shine, but that's why I love tomorrows.

Pray for me y'all.

Saturday, January 7, 2023

New Year, Same Me?

    It seems like everyone online has the same sentiment about this new year and it's that we are all going into it VERY cautiously. If 2020 taught us anything, it is better for us to go in to it nervously optimistic. My friend asked me today what my New Year's Resolution was and all I could think about was the goal I set for myself for 2023. To live authentically as myself and stand more confidently in my purpose. I never invested into figuring out what my purpose was. I always went from one thing to the next, just to say that I was doing something. From 15 to 26 I went from job to job, just trying to figure out what stuck and to be honest, I didn't even care if it stuck. My only focus was that the next job made more than the last, the idea of doing something I truly loved for the rest of my life was never even a thought. Isn't that sad?

    We are so conditioned to just get a job and keep a job, but who is really asking us what our passion is? What makes you the happiest and how can you make money doing that? What industry do you really resonate with and want to learn more about? These will be the questions I ask my kids, so they don't fall down the same rabbit hole that I did. I worked at an after school program, internships, waitressed, worked in workers' comp, and countless other 'side jobs' whenever anyone offered. I just wanted to work, but it never left me as fulfilled as the work I am doing now. Everything in my life now is aligned with exactly who I am and who I have always been, and I LOVE THAT FOR ME. I just hate that it took me so long to get here.

    I have struggled with confidence issues my whole life. Constantly hiding who I really was with fear of not fitting in or just sticking out too much. (I am already tall, so to me I stood out enough!) This is the year that I stand in who I am, proudly. A little over a year ago I stepped out on faith and started Marie Management and although it hasn't always been easy, it has been so fulfilling. This business has been what I have been working towards my whole life and I didn't even realize it. The freedom, the fulfillment, THE HAPPINESS I get from it has made me want to live authentically in all areas of my life. Why keep running for what God has for me? Why keep running from the person that I already know I am?

Little Shannon would be proud. 

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