Monday Notes: Talking to Myself (Kwoted)

In 2015, I published my first book called, Kwoted. It is a book of original quotes that would pop into my head during my commute between Jacksonville and Tallahassee. It is only available on Kindle, and aside from glowing reviews from my goddaughter and cousin, I’m not sure what the actual impact was.

Recently, though, it dawned on me that this book was me talking to me.

Setting and Attaining Goals

This first section is heavy on believing in oneself and ignoring everything else, something I used to have an issue with. One kwote, “Remember, you can either perpetuate the status quo or envision a new reality; the choice is yours,” was solely for me. At the time, I was doing what I thought I had to do once I attained a terminal degree…work at a university, even if it meant sacrificing my time and health driving up and down the interstate. Once I realized I could create whatever kind of life I wanted, things changed.

Likewise, this kwote, “If you share your plans with someone and they give you the worst-case scenario, then find someone else to share your plans with” is something that used to be challenging. Whether it was a family member or a friend, I noticed there were two types of responses. Either someone would find 7,999 reasons why my ideas wouldn’t work, or someone would simply say, “That’s cool.” I started spending more time talking to the “That’s cool” people. My life improved.

Relationship Perspectives

Are you surprised that I have a section about relationships in this book? My dysfunctional relationship with my father influenced some of these kwotes. “Learn when enough is enough, for you, no matter what anyone else says,” is something I had to tell myself. This stemmed from years of everyone advising that my dad is still my dad, to convince me to continue talking to a man who made little to no effort to connect with me. Like any relationship, I had to determine when to end it.

There are also a few self-love kwotes in this part because I delved deep into understanding my self-worth and self-love issues. It was imperative that I begin to heal my past to have a better future with myself, which eventually improved my relationship with my husband and others.

Konscious Life Perspectives

From 1989-2014, I’d mostly lived my life on autopilot. I’ve written before about how my marriage had turned into a checklist of achievements. Well, my life, in general was about ticking boxes: attaining college degrees, teaching at a higher level, becoming department chair, graduating from a Tier 1 institution, and on and on and on. Enough was enough. I needed to take control by thinking about what I wanted to do. Section three begins with this kwote, “Sometimes you just need a different point of view in life.” I permitted myself to stop, tap into who I really was and what I really wanted, and then proceeded from there. For me, a “different view” meant a more conscious one.

“Give yourself permission to grow in ways that you value” was definitely to me. I needed to break free from the box I’d put myself in. Was I constantly achieving so that my dead mother would be proud? Was I accomplishing things to prove my biological mother’s decision to give birth wasn’t for naught? I had to figure it out, and I had to break free from the cookie-cutter way I’d learned to live that was based on society and familial values. I had to determine my own ideals and pathways.

Opinions and Judgements

I used to be quite the judgmental person. To be fair, I spent a lot of time with a very judgmental grandmother, and as we know, our caregivers are our first teachers. Eventually, I befriended people like me—judgmental. One friend and I used to sit on the phone and judge the shit out of others, like a part-time job. I’d gotten so bad that other friends called me out on my comments.

So, in 2014, I committed to trying not to judge anyone. Kwotes emerged. “You don’t have to denigrate other people’s choices in order to validate your own” is a passive way I noticed that people judge others. My favorite is “Your view of me doesn’t matter, and neither does my view of you.” This one tends to be controversial, but I stand by it. Once you’re living consciously and confidently, how can anyone else’s opinion (which is typically based on fear) matter? It doesn’t.

Kwoted was the voice I heard when as I struggled in these four areas. Whether it was my higher self, as some believe, my inner being, God, the Universe, or a higher power, it was there, guiding me on my journey to shape the person you know and the blog you read today.

Interested in this book? Purchase here.

Otherwise, as usual, I’d love to hear any comments about the kwotes I’ve shared.


Monday Notes: Things I’m No Longer Doing in 2022

1: Persuading People to See My Point of View. A few years ago, I went to help my stepmother with her breast cancer surgery. I was happy to be able to help in any way I could, and she was grateful. However, before I left, she brought up something I’d written in my last anthology: Daddy: Reflections of Father-Daughter Relationships. In it, I described how my father used to leave the house and announce that he was “going to get laid.” I was sixteen at the time, and it seemed not only inappropriate, but also unnecessary.

She began the conversation with “Tony said that because of your mother’s condition, she wasn’t able to have sex very much, so when she died…”

For the next thirty minutes, she defended my father, his actions, and his words. And for those thirty minutes, I tried to convince her that he wasn’t quite the man she thought he was. I tried to get her to see my point of view.

But let me tell y’all something. It takes a lot of time and energy to convince someone to see your point of view, when their motive is really to defend someone else and their actions, and I’m not doing it anymore … with anyone.

2. Chasing People for Reciprocity. Maya Angelou once said, “When people show you who they are, believe them,” and I say when people show you the level of engagement they want to have in your life, act accordingly. The best example I have of this is when my sister-in-law agreed to make amends and develop a relationship.

“Do you want to Skype?” I asked.

“No,” she replied. “With the kids and everything, I don’t have time.”

“Do you want to talk on the phone?”

“I don’t really like talking on the phone. Anyway, people who talk on the phone usually just gossip,” she said.

After a bit more prompting, this is what she revealed, “Kathy, I’m good with seeing you every five years or so.”

Although my feelings were hurt by her honesty, I was grateful for her words. I used to be the type of person you had to bonk over the head with a message, and this was one of those times. She and I had two different definitions of relationship, and I didn’t need to keep trying so hard to develop the kind I was seeking, not with her or others who clearly show they’re not interested in the type of relationship I’d like to have.

3. Ignoring My Gut, Literally and Figuratively. 2021 brought my gut issues to the forefront. Digestion has been problematic since 2017, but I’d ignored it. I’d also been taught how to hold everything in, until it burst, and that didn’t serve me well. A laryngopharyngeal reflux diagnosis woke me up. It shouldn’t have taken me so long to seek treatment. But we learn what we learn when we learn it, right? I’ll write a longer post about this situation. For now, I’ll share this: I’ve learned that I don’t have to hold everything in. I can calmly speak my mind in the moment. If the other person doesn’t like what I’ve said or that I’ve said it, that’s their problem, not mine. I’ve learned that my body doesn’t like all of the foods, even though the pleasure center in my brain does. Honoring these two things has helped me pay attention physically and metaphysically to my gut.

Each of these examples are old situations, but they’ve persisted in my life throughout the years to varying degrees, with different people, and with subtleties. However, 2022 will be an intentional year of honoring these three specific points: I don’t need validation for how I feel about my experiences with people; I am grateful for current symbiotic relationships; and my gut always knows best.


What are you doing for 2022? Are resolutions your thing? Are you focusing on one word? How are you going to bring happiness into the new year?


Monday Notes: 2021 Year in Review

Sometimes, I feel as if I haven’t done anything. It might sound irrational, but it’s true. I stood in the middle of my room a few weeks ago and wondered what I’d really accomplished this year. It sounds like this: What have you done? Can’t you do more? So what you published a book? This happens frequently. I know where these “not good enough” thoughts come from, but I won’t be sharing root causes today. I mean…if you’ve been reading this blog long enough, then more than likely you can fill in the blanks.

Instead, I compiled a list. Initially, the point of the list was for me to see how ridiculous my “not good enough” thoughts were. It was supposed to be like a tangible pep talk for myself. But then I figured you may want to read one of these essays, too. So, here goes:

Stories of Sport: Critical Literacy in Media Production, Consumption, and Dissemination

The year began with a publication with my colleagues. Aside from being proud of myself for leading this project, it shows the both/and space in which I’ve begun to live. I can be both a scholar and a personal blogger. I don’t have to choose.

There’s Strength in Softness

Life continued with one of my proudest essays. I’d been thinking about generational patterns, how we oftentimes unknowingly pass on ways of living that don’t suit our children. What are the effects of passing down generational patterns? How does it affect the child as an adult, who then becomes a parent? This was the purpose of There’s Strength in Softness.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: I’m Speaking Now: Black Women Share Their Truth in 101 Stories of Love, Courage and Hope

Shortly after, my essay Good Enough (that’s ironic, huh?) was published in the well-known Chicken Soup for the Soul (CSS) series. To be honest, I didn’t think anything about it at first, mainly because publishing my feelings about being an Affirmative Action hire in a special edition of Black women writers actually showed what I was saying (another irony). But then, a blogger friend, Shira D. tweeted “Thank you for speaking for us all.” And boy, did that shift my thinking. I really hadn’t even thought about it that way. The CSS franchise has only had a special edition of Black women writers once before, twenty-five years or so ago. Being selected as one of 101 writers is a big deal.

Pro-Choice: What Being It Actually Means

If you’ve been following me for a while, then you probably remember reading a piece I wrote a couple years ago called What it Actually Means to be Pro-Choice. It was first published by PULPMag, which not only advocates for reproductive rights, but also freedom of sexuality, in general. I was excited when my blogger friend, da-AL wanted to re-publish it this year, especially given the current conversation and actions on abortion rights.

5 Reasons Critical Media Literacy is Important in the 21st Century

I mentioned Shira D. earlier. I promised her some time ago to guest blog on Educating for Future Democracy Collaborative. Because the site is focused on democracy, and because democracy in the United States seems to be quickly waning, I thought it would be appropriate to write about the role critical media literacy can play in the twenty-first century.

2021 (the year of the ox) is my Chinese New Year!

What is Happiness?

Do you follow the hot goddess? If not, why? How can you not follow someone who is a self-proclaimed HOT goddess? Anywho, she asked me to answer one question: What is happiness? My and others’ answers can be found on her blog.

Oh, and I started another blog focused on all things menopause (and midlife). Aside from myself, several contributing authors have shared their own journeys with this global community. If I haven’t said it before, thank you to those of you who’ve written for the site in its inaugural year, and thanks to those of you who have liked, subscribed, followed, or shared something from it.

Spotlight on Menopause Advocate: K. E. Garland

Keisha over at The Real Perimeno deemed me a menopause advocate! That was surprising. But I’m here for the new title. My interview with her about Navigating the Change can be found on her site. Also, she and I will be bringing an essay contest to fruition very soon.

Lori L. Tharps invited me to be a guest on her new podcast, My Bloody Hell. After listening to a few episodes and googling who Lori is, I was more than excited. My episode aired on November 3, 2021. I can promise you a whole lot of laughing and girlfriend-type conversation about perimenopause.

Top 10 Ways Perimenopause Helped Me Get My Sh*t Together

Quite honestly, I think this was the best way to end my writing year. I went from not knowing wtf was going on with my perimenopausal body, to being able to tell you what hormone is currently affecting me and how to alleviate the shift. Tera’s invite to write a top 10 list about midlife couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.

Julia Cameron said, “the antidote for shame is self-love and self-praise,” and I agree. I used to be really good at praising myself whenever I accomplished a task. Somewhere along life’s journey, I stopped. But I’m reclaiming that practice. When you do good work, you should be proud of yourself. I should be proud of myself. In 2022, I plan to be more intentional about celebrating myself when the process is complete. I know there’s a fine line between hubris, confidence, dismissiveness, and humility. But this year, I’ll be pushing those boundaries to find my own sweet spot. Strengthening my self worth has become a priority for living a full life.

What are you working on for 2022? What are you proud of from 2021?


Monday Notes: Happy Holidays!

I’m one of those people who starts thinking about the holidays as soon as October hits. I looooove everything about the holiday season. EVERYTHING!

So, this year, I’m taking five weeks off from blog writing. I’ll still be reading yours, of course, and I may do a couple re-blogs, but I need a minute.

I need a minute to figure out how to make vegan chocolate chip cookies. If you have a recipe, then drop it in the comments for me.

I need a minute to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Best in Show.

I need a minute to play Black Uno and Taboo for the Culture with my family.

I need a minute to put up our five Christmas trees.

I need a minute to take a boat ride around St. Augustine to ooh and aah over everyone else’s lights.

I need a minute to watch all of my favorite Christmas movies. Maybe I’ll add some new ones this year, since Lifetime and OWN seem to be in a competition for most all-Black casted Christmas films.

I need a minute to spend time with friends turned framily.

I need a minute to drive to Myrtle Beach to spend time with actual family. Of course, I’ll be back, but until then, Happy Holidays to everyone! I hope you have a restful time however you see fit 😉

Monday Notes: Nine Days

I recently watched a film called Nine Days. Basically, a reclusive man conducts a series of interviews with human souls for a chance to be born. A large part of the process requires the souls to watch human beings live their lives via televisions screens. At one point, Will, the recluse who leads this process, asks the souls what moment stood out to them, and that’s what got me thinking.

The film is clearly about recognizing life’s value. One way to do that is to stop and enjoy the moment in the moment, kind of like mindfulness. Even the souls who “lost,” and weren’t offered an opportunity to live, were still offered an opportunity to have Will recreate a moment prior to disappearing into oblivion.

Life is a gift, and the moments of our lives should be cherished.

That’s part of the film’s message.

But it seems like it would take a lot to live in 100% appreciation of one’s life. When my daughters were six and four, for example, I couldn’t imagine stopping to enjoy or appreciate moments. Many times, I hoped all of us would make it through the day without incident. Sure, I appreciated major events, like the time my grandmother and her sister babysat, so Dwight and I could take a group of high school students to England. But what about “small” everyday moments? I don’t even remember those.

In the movie, one soul’s last moment was a recreation of standing in the sand, on the beach, while the waves crashed…in silence. I’ve been to dozens of beaches, and I was grateful for each visit, but going to the beach is like brushing my teeth. How can we stop ourselves from taking moments for granted?

Can we really learn to live in and enjoy each moment without distraction?

When I say distraction, I don’t just mean a technological device. Sometimes, the thoughts in my head are distractions when I’m supposed to be listening to a friend. I’m sure you have your own to choose from. My question is can you pause your distraction, while you fully engage in and appreciate a moment that matters to you, a matter you intentionally created in the first place?

Since watching this movie, I’ve begun reflecting on special moments from my day. This is different than journaling about gratitude. Instead, I simply think about the whole day, as if I’m one of those souls watching myself. What would I value from this day if I weren’t alive? What would I wish for if I didn’t have a body? Then, I choose a couple of moments that were important. This seems like a legitimate way to honor your own life.

What moment would you choose?

What if you were a soul looking at human beings living life? What moment would look meaningful to you? Eating a delicious meal? Hugging another body? Or what if you were the soul who didn’t “win” a life? What moment would you want to experience right before you disappeared into nothingness? Laughing with friends? Creating art? Whatever you chose, do you value those moments now? Are you fully immersed?

I’m sure many of us, at some point, live life by rote memory as if none of it is special. Yesterday could’ve been today, which could be tomorrow, especially since COVID hit. However, Nine Days really helped me conceptualize what enjoying a moment is, and I think it’s something many of us need right now. There seem to be two ways: either get in there and enjoy the moment’s imagery (smell, touch, etc.) or reflect on a moment that was important for you that day. Either way, I know this has helped me live with deeper appreciation of the life I have, and I hope it helps you, too.



*Monday Notes: Third Chakra

*woo-woo warning: this is a metaphysical conversation, and it’s a little longer than normal.


“…and do it with joy!” my mother used to add whenever I’d crumple up my face and slink off to do whatever she’d asked that interrupted my reading or daydreaming—wash the dishes, polish the wooden coffee table. Whatever the task, ‘do it with joy’ meant don’t pout, look angry, or be upset about it.

It wasn’t a request. It was a demand. And it became a running demand. Later, when she shared it with my grandmother, it became a running joke.

I never thought much of it, until a few weeks ago, when I was talking to Megan, the naturopath.

I’d divulged that I am tired of my job, and I have a nagging suspicion it is time to go. But as of now, I don’t know where to go, so I just do my job.

“Sounds like you may be having issues with your third and fifth chakras,” she suggested.

The fifth chakra is associated with your throat: communication, speaking, etc. I immediately shot that down. “I’ve been speaking my truth. I write. I blog. I’m an author. I freelance,” I told her, while the phlegm that accompanies my cough began building up in my throat.

“Hmmm,” she said. “What about the third? Were you raised in a house where you were made to do things you didn’t want to?” she asked.

“I was,” I said. And then I told her about the ‘do it with joy’ story.

“Sounds a lot like going to a job you don’t like but smiling about it anyway.”

She sent me away with a lot of information, and some of it included affirmations for strengthening my third chakra, which is focused on the stomach area, and subsequently, self-esteem, personal power, and courage.


I’ve reflected on this for a month or so. What does it mean? Is her assessment valid? Is this something I should consider? I decided what Megan said is very useful, and here’s how.

When I graduated with a PhD in 2010, all family and friends saw was KG with a doctorate. However, during that time, I still suffered with the low self-worth and self-esteem that had affected my marriage. Now, it just shifted over to how I looked for jobs, and subsequently, how I dealt with academic rejection.

I received my first position a month before the semester started. Typically, candidates are vetted and offered jobs way before that. The applicant needs time to move, and the institution needs time to prepare for their arrival. I knew this because the process was explained in the first five campus interviews I’d had. By the time I was hired, my (career) self-esteem was waning.

Two years later, I attained my second job in academia, again, a month before the semester started, but the issue was it wasn’t tenure track; I consciously took a job I was overqualified for. At this point, my (career) self-esteem tanked. Why can’t I secure the job for which I’m qualified? Why won’t they pick me?

Three years later, a colleague DMd me and asked if I wanted a job. It was at a community college, which I already had a judgment about, but I said yes for varied reasons. However, accepting this job reinforced what I’d already been thinking: I’m not good enough for these high-level positions. I have no personal power in this area. When it comes to attaining academic jobs, I’m not in charge of shit! So, why even try? Before I developed a gratitude practice or learned to look at a situation from a different perspective, I simply gave up ya’ll!

But I also never resolved these beliefs about jobs in academia, which were tied to my self-esteem and third chakra. Today, I am still sitting in a job I’m overqualified for, as if I have no power to change my circumstances.


So, what happens to emotional energy if you don’t deal with or talk about the situation? People like Louise Hay, believe it stays with you and becomes stuck in the body, eventually creating disease associated with that energy center. Last year, my good, blogging friend, Dr. Dinardo also showed me how anxiety shows up and can stay in your body.

And I agree.

For me, emotions have always developed in my stomach area: excitement and nervousness feel like trapped butterflies; sadness feels like a rollercoaster ride, right before you take that big dive into the unknown; anger feels as if someone has gathered all my internal organs, tied them in a knot, attached them to an anchor, and left them in my belly as a tangled mess to sort out. These are probably common for others, but for me, they’re also constant.

Over the years, I’ve begun jogging before I speak at conferences or practicing yoga before doing something that may be triggering. Exercising helps move energy. Exercising helps me to become unstuck.

The problem occurs when exercise is not an option, which is more frequent, like when I talk to my grandmother.

The other day we had a conversation, where she couldn’t figure out why she was crying. For some reason, she couldn’t connect it to the fact that her last living sister has been diagnosed with dementia and is now in an uncontrollable situation.

“I never cry,” she said with pride. “I never understood why people cry, like at funerals and stuff.”

“Maybe because they’re sad,” I suggested.

“Because they’re sad?” she questioned. “Sad?” she repeated. “Well, you know what they say about that?” she asked me.

“What?”

“You’re sad? You better scratch your butt and be glad!” and then she laughed.

Not only was this phrase not funny to me, but it also sounded like ‘do it with joy’ remixed. Suddenly, my belly started flopping and sinking, and freezing at once. Normally, I wouldn’t say anything (insert lack of personal power with Grannie here). But I’ve been forcing myself to speak up, no matter what, even if it’s uncomfortable.

“Well, that’s not very nice, Grannie,” is all I could muster.

“Huh? It’s not nice?”

“No. That’s not a very nice saying.”

We eventually ended the conversation. My belly wasn’t flopping, and I felt good about expressing my opinion (which is associated with the throat chakra).


Of course, I’ll continue to take my probiotic and finish my elimination diet to re-set my gut; however, I think there is something to acknowledging how we hold energy in our bodies, which is oftentimes associated with a specific chakra. This is the first time I’ve publicly acknowledged how my self-esteem was tied to my inability to find a job aligned with my qualifications. That’s a start. I’ll continue with re-building my (career) self-esteem in small ways and also with using my voice with specific people, even when it’s wobbly or when my belly plummets. While I’m powerful behind this keyboard, it’s also important to me to have a well-rounded sense of personal power in all areas.

Looking forward to hearing what you think.


Monday Notes: The Relationship I Have with My Body

“When is the last time you felt good about your body?” the naturopath asked me.

I thought about it for a few seconds, then I said, “I think I’m going to cry.”

“That’s okay,” she and my husband affirmed.

I knew it was okay to cry. But I was taken off guard by own emotions. When I really stopped to think about it, I didn’t know.

It wasn’t in the past year, when out of the blue, I developed a rash that took up my entire forearm. It’s healed now, but it looks like a faint trail of bacteria.

Last year is also when perimenopause seemed to have ramped up and took a hold of my physical being. It’s also when I decided to get a crown on my front tooth, instead of a cap. Since December, I’ve worried everyday about my crown falling off when I eat or when I sleep and grind my teeth, leaving a gaping hole in my mouth.

So, no. I didn’t feel good about my body last year.

What about ten years ago? Nope. That’s when I started gaining a pound a year, even though I worked out four times a week and ate mostly healthy foods. My primary care physician didn’t seem too worried about it, so I figured I didn’t need to be either. Still, I didn’t feel good about my body. I felt fat.

What about twenty years ago? Definitely not. That’s when I had to deliver my second child as a C-section. I wrote about this experience recently, but I want to reiterate that there’s no way anyone can prepare you for your body being sliced open and sewed back together in what seems to be a lackadaisical way.

What about twenty-six years ago? Almost. I almost thought I was okay. It was a year before my wedding. I was talking to my grandmother, and she mentioned that I was fat.

“You’re supposed to wait until you’re married and have kids before you get fat,” were her exact words.

I was 125 pounds.

The next week, I began eating 1200 calorie meals and doing aerobics five times a week. By the time I stood at the altar, I was 100 pounds and a size one, something I’ve never been in my life before or after that date.

What about thirty years ago? YES! The last time I felt good about my body was thirty flipping years ago when I was an eighteen-year-old high school senior. I was petite. I was cute. Curves were curving in all the right spaces. Skin was tight and bright. All of the things were where they were supposed to be.


It’s amazing what can be revealed by just one question.

I’ve never thought of myself as having issues with body image, not really. But as I sit here and reflect on how long it took me to come up with a real answer (30 minutes) and what it took for me to figure out an answer (blog), I admit I have. If I didn’t, I would’ve been able to answer that question much quicker or at least three weeks ago, while I was actually at the doctor’s office.

So, today, I have questions, instead of answers:

  • When is the last time you felt good about your body?
  • If you already feel good about your body, how do you maintain that feeling?

Until then, I’ll be offline, staring in the mirror, saying some affirmations or something.

Monday Notes: Award-Winning Blog

A lot of times, I do things based on how I feel in the moment. I attribute this to a strong sense of intuition.

This year, my gut led me to judge the Florida Writers Association’s (FWA’s) Royal Palms Literary Awards (RPLA). I had done it before, but it was a long time ago. I felt it was time for some writerly service.

When I read the guidelines, I saw there was a new category: blogging. “What?” I thought. “I have a blog. Will this be a conflict of interest?” I decided it wouldn’t be. FWA is hella professional; they use rubrics and very careful directions, so I made a firm decision to go for it.

When I read that entries could be singular or a series, again, I was a bit excited. “I’ve done many series,” I thought. But which would be appropriate?

It was between Corona Chronicles and Mental Health Matters. I based my decision on stats. Both series were released during 2020, but Mental Health Matters was pretty successful in terms of readership.

Entries were limited by word count, so I had to decide which part of the series I’d submit. Again, I based it on stats, not on which ones I personally liked. According to WordPress, the following were hits:

So, I got all of my materials together and emailed them.

Months later, I was quite surprised to learn I was a semi-finalist.

Then, over the weekend, during the virtual ceremony, I was again surprised to learn I’d actually won. FWA awarded me first place in the blogging category!

But guess what? I wasn’t as excited as I was the first time I won a writing award, and here’s why:

  • I’m a different person. I’ve learned not to rely on awards to make me feel good about myself. Sure, I’m happy, but I’m not ecstatic. The first time I won was 2016, and I was still developing my identity outside of external rewards, so it was still exciting because I was associating it with my self-worth. Today, I know awards and compliments are not connected to how great of a person I am.
  • Awards mean something in the writer community. This second award gives me credence in the writer world. I can add this to my CV when publishers ask for it. I can include it in my bio. It means something because other people believe it means something. I get that and use it accordingly.
  • Comments on my blog are the real reward. And they are no match for any award. The other day, I legit teared up at a blogger’s words because it was so authentic. This has happened before. Anytime someone tells me they understand what I’ve said, or a story resonates with their experience, or I’ve helped them feel heard and less alone, I feel a sense of purpose and deep satisfaction. That’s something a state award can’t give me.

So, yes. I’m appreciative and proud of myself for having won another award for writing, specifically for something I literally do for free just for authenticity and connection. However, I do know that it is not the end-all be-all for my talent. What truly matters is how I’m impacting the world with my words. And for that I’m truly grateful.



Monday Notes: 3 Ways Unresolved Trauma Showed Up In My 25-Year Marriage

Dwight and I met in 1993, four years after my mother died and three years after my father agreed to give up his parental rights. We married three years later. I’ve spent the last seven years deconstructing how these events (and others) impacted how I’ve functioned in relationship. Now, I’m ready to share some of it with you.

#1: I married out of fear. When I married Dwight, I legitimately believed no one else in the world was going to love me. NO ONE! Given my history of abandonment by all primary caregivers (i.e., biological and adoptive parents), this is not strange. I had a sense that if my parents couldn’t even stick around, then why would anyone else? I (unconsciously) thought that if this man, who I perceived as perfect, wanted to marry me, then I’d better say yes and speed to my “happily ever after.” This isn’t to say I didn’t love him. It’s just that I had a feeling that this was my last chance ever at being loved. I entered our marriage as a scared little girl, and I maintained that fear for at least eighteen years.

#2: I thought being married could replace the love I should’ve had for myself. My husband once said, “I love you more than you love yourself.” That’s deep. I didn’t even know what he was talking about. It sounded ridiculous. But he was right. My self-worth was so low that I (unconsciously) thought marrying him would solve my abandonment issues. I thought marriage could save me from that bottom-of-the-barrel feeling. Life doesn’t work that way, though. If you feel sad and dejected, once you get married, then you’ll just feel sad and dejected with a partner alongside you. And even though misery loves company, the company doesn’t love misery, especially when he didn’t ask for it. The only way to improve self-worth is to acknowledge your importance sans external validation. Worth doesn’t have to be earned. Self-worth is a birthright.

#3: I thought being married meant melding identities. I wrote about this here, but it’s worth reiterating. When Dwight and I were first in relationship, I was already dealing with the common identity issues associated with being an adoptee. I’d dissolved this already shaky sense of self and replaced it with his likes and desires. I thought I had to be someone else to maintain my husband’s love. This is unhealthy. It’s important for two people to have a clear sense of who they are and what they like prior to becoming a union. And afterwards, it’s just as important to maintain separate identities. At this point, I remind people that my husband and I are not Bobbsey twins; we do not do everything together. If you see me out and about by myself, it’s because that’s what I preferred at the time. Our separate actions have nothing to do with the love we share or the years we have.

There is a difference between how my personal issues affected our marriage and how much I love Dwight. One has nothing to do with the other. When we first met, there was an undeniable sense that we were supposed to be together. We both felt and still feel it; it’s kind of like a magnetic pull. It’s just that when you don’t resolve trauma prior to marrying, then you end up resolving it while you’re married. It’s not an impossible feat, but there will be negative consequences for one or both people.

Seek therapy. Get to know yourself. Then, commit. In an ideal world, that’s how healthy relationships would be created and maintained. But I also know we’re far from living in an idyllic society. And if we each waited for perfect wholeness in ourselves or another being, we’d probably remain by ourselves forever. Sounds contradictory, right? It is. Ultimately, I’d advise new couples to do their best to be healthy versions of themselves, while holding space for the one another to grow. That’s what we ended up doing, and we’ve been married for twenty-five years.



Post-script: I’ve got 3 more ways, but I gotta leave material for the memoir 💁🏽‍♀️

*Monday Notes: Doctors and Meds

In 1999, I delivered my first baby. Back then, it was almost a given that you would have an epidural. But I decided otherwise. I went in knowing this wasn’t what I wanted. The nurses almost seemed to mock me as the day wore on. Eventually, I did ask for one because the pain was unbearable; however, it was too late. All I could have was a small amount of Demerol. But you know what? Our daughter was the only baby in the unit wide awake. That’s because when mothers take drugs, then babies are drugged…and it makes them sleepy. Since then, I’ve always wondered why doctors in the United States are so quick to offer medication and why we’re so quick to take them.

Fast forward to a few years ago. My gynecologist told me I was perimenopausal, and then she off-handedly said, “I can put you on a birth control pill.”

For the life of me, I couldn’t understand why I would need to take birth control in my forties. It made no sense, and she didn’t explain it. After research, I now understand it was because menopause is a hormonal situation that may require replacement hormones for balance. However, I’ve also learned that there are other ways to manage hormones other than popping a pill.

Fast, fast forward to a couple weeks ago. I visited an ear, nose, and throat specialist for a recurring cough I’ve had. He diagnosed me with laryngopharyngeal acid reflux, asked me if I drank alcohol or coffee, then quickly wrote a script. When I read the side effects, one of them, though rare, is lupus. Lupus? In addition to this, it’s not good for people with low white blood cell counts, which I also have.

“Is there something else I can do…something more natural?” I asked the physician’s assistant.

The answer was another prescription, with 40 possible side effects. That’s when I decided I would do what I always do: read and research on my own and talk to my friends to see what they knew.

Like most illnesses, this type of reflux can also be repaired with a specific diet. One of my friends revealed that she was prescribed medication for her acid reflux, too. And the meds were only supposed to be used for months, but her doctor had her on them for years! She changed her diet, figured out her triggers, and removed the meds from her life. Another friend suggested an Ayurvedic diet. When I confirmed my dosha and read about the types of foods I should eat, they perfectly aligned with what I’d read about non-acidic foods. It is totally possible to shift my diet and reflux.

Part of my point here is that US doctors seem to be on a different page than I am. Their purpose doesn’t seem to be to get to the root causes of issues or even to heal them. It seems they’re paid to prescribe medications for as long as humanly possible, no matter the side effects, even if there are alternative, simpler solutions.

My other point is, as patients, we should be a bit more discerning about what medications we allow in our bodies. I know there are times when there really is no choice in the matter. For example, my youngest daughter had to be delivered via C-section. There was no way I could opt out of an epidural; it was mandatory for that type of operation. But if your illness isn’t extreme or chronic, then I think it’s worth taking a second look at alternative options.


*I’m a Dr. but not that kind of doctor. This is my opinion. Seek advice from your physician if you’re having medical issues.