Category: Adulting

Saturday Nights

Saturday Nights

It’s all supposed to be so glamorous, isn’t it? Saturday nights. Some version of me is attending a poetry reading, serving up Chucks and lips stained matte merlot. You know. Just cool. Or I’m at the club, lost in a sea of brown queer women, grinding up on my wife, and feeling free to move like I do when I’m at home. Or we’re at our friend’s house, having wine (or something harder), laughing and reveling. Soiree-ing.

Sometimes that happens. Or at least, parts of it manifest somehow someway. My lips could indeed be popping, weep-worthy, because I got it like that. And I do wear Chucks on the regular. And I am up for some good old-fashioned revelry.

But the reality right now is…quiet. Still. The cats are asleep, and the TV is on mute from when I called my parents. I’m listening to a Sampha playlist on Spotify, and it’s all really nothing special.

It’s easy to look at the Instagram accounts of people I know and wonder… Their lives look amazing and fashion-forward, Afrofuturist and free. Some people post landscapes, some people do selfies, and others offer snapshots of their goal-worthy squads.

And I know these folks have kids and bills to pay, so it’s not all laughter and beautiful moments frozen in time. I know this, and yet it’s easy to fall into the trap.

Of course, they have Saturday nights that are the stuff of legend, experiences that are the payoff of all that wishing and hoping we did as teenagers: “When I grow up…”

This is the struggle. We all have it in our heads, that we are supposed to have cool hobbies, interesting quirks, and by God, stories about our Saturday nights. Stories that confirm that we are “real” adults, stories about how we drink hard liquor, and make unfortunate decisions sometimes, and boldly have uncomfortable conversations. “Real” adults have social calendars filled with the things we never quite imagined ourselves doing, but still expected of ourselves anyway (art gallery openings?!).

All I got right now is that Sampha is giving me life. I’m happy I got a chance to see one of my closest friends today; we had a quick bite to eat and some good conversation. We didn’t go bungee-jumping, or snowboarding, or laser-tagging. We didn’t go to a burlesque show.

We had chips and salsa and Arnold Palmers.

And now I have to figure out what to cook for dinner.

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Solstice

Solstice

When I was in my 20s, I really believed that I needed to say yes to a lot of things. Just add more things, especially professionally. Stir. Get exhausted. Repeat.

Back then, I don’t think I thought carefully about what it meant to give so much away and not replenish myself. (Isn’t that what being in your 20s is all about anyway – not worrying about the consequences? LOL)

I woke up and I was in my mid-30s and I’m tired. Really, I think I was always tired, but like an exhausted kid who didn’t want to go to bed, I fought it.

I’m tired. It’s that kind of day.

This music I’m listening to is bomb, but it’s gray outside because winter. I’m wondering why I still live somewhere where winter is on some Game of Thrones type shit, but here I am.

Now that I’m this side of 30, I’m in love with “no.” The idea of refusing to do things – especially things that people expect of me or take for granted that I will do – gives me great joy. The joy that comes from relief.

The load is too heavy; I’m about that jettison life so that I can stay afloat. Or even rise above.

There are days – like today – when I’m consumed with the “no” of it all. Surely, nothing else is required of me but human decency, compassion and a place on the couch where I can drink tea and watch Jessica Jones?

Saying “yes” on these days is a Herculean feat. I’m not ashamed to say that these are the days when I’ll use the dishwasher instead of washing dishes by hand (and I’m not a fan of dishwashers). I’ll warm something up instead of cook. Hell, I will tear up some cereal. I will power through that project, if only for the pleasure of being done and clearing the mental space I need to be able to say “no” to something later.

I don’t want the music to be too crunk, or the edges to be too hard. I need my armor, which usually takes the form of a cardigan, a very stylish scarf and my favorite boots. I own too much of these items, but efforts to break out of the mold and wear some wackadoo shirt that usually looks ridic on me never ends well.

I take shortcuts on days like this. I need a lot of love and affection and kindness on these kind of days.

I don’t fight the fact anymore that during this time of year, what I crave is stillness and comfort. I can’t be bothered to get all frothed up. To other people, it probably looks like I’m lethargic. Or aloof. Maybe mean. A little distant.

But really, I am just moving at a slower pace. It’s gray, and cold, and the struggle is real. The idea of bopping around makes me feel like I’m going to break. I’m grateful that I have a partner who understands that sometimes I just can’t even; I know it’s not always easy to live with my moods.

As much as I love saying “no,” I don’t often let myself really admit these things fully. So I’m writing it down because I think I have to. I’m trying to say “yes” to just being authentic.

I’m tired, and I will not be pushing through it to some mythical land of energy and productivity and triumph.

I’m going to eat these reduced fat graham crackers instead and do my thing…very slowly.

 

Enough.

Enough.

Yesterday, I was talking to my beloved about the feeling of not being enough. Have I done enough professionally? Have I done enough community service? Have I been a good enough sister, daughter, lover, friend, mentor, teacher, etc.?

Enough, when framed that way, is a hole. It’s a frakking bottomless pit. It takes all the mistakes, all the regrets and magnifies them until they block out the victories, and the laughter, and the personal triumphs.

I talked about an opportunity I wanted to pursue that I didn’t feel like I had done enough to earn. In my mind, I scrolled through my accomplishments and found them lacking.

I thought about friends of mine who I am so proud of, not just because of what they’ve done, but because of the people they are. And yet, I compare myself to them sometimes. And yet, I don’t extend the same courtesy to myself: that it’s enough to be the person I am, regardless of accolades I have or haven’t racked up.

I am your classic overachiever, and so I believe in setting goals for myself. I think it’s definitely okay to want. As a lifelong learner, it’s always been important for me to continue to evolve.

However, it’s so easy to feel like this award or that degree or this position is going to make all the difference. That, if you just achieve this or that, suddenly, you will be enough.

This morning, I woke up with more clarity. I felt more content in my being. Maybe tomorrow or two weeks from now will find me back at square one, needing to put it all in perspective again.

But today, I’m breathing a little easier, not judging myself so harshly. Today, I’m enough.