Posted in Pandemic Series

Pandemic Series (Part One–What I learned about myself)

Needless to say, this year hasn’t gone the way anyone planned. We all entered 2020 with high hopes, yet this current pandemic has turned millions of lives upside-down, and it’s made everyone adjust to a new normal.

I still remember the faint rumblings in the beginning stages. I was working as a dental assistant at the time, and truthfully I was struggling. As a recently certified graduate, I still had a lot to learn. After briefly working in orthodontics, I began working for a larger company that viewed my inexperience as a hindrance. And ultimately, it felt as if I was set up for failure. Luckily, management revealed their plans of shutting down due to the pandemic. And when I was officially furloughed in mid-march, I was strangely elated.

In the beginning, I relished the opportunity because it was a much needed break from a toxic work environment that was breaking my spirit. In fact, I believed it was a sign that I needed to take time to recharge my batteries. And it was liberating because I didn’t have the pressure of busting my back for a company that didn’t value my hard work.

Luckily it was a smooth adjustment for my family. My daughter still attended preschool (where the staff went above and beyond to keep everyone healthy). My husband maintained his work schedule by splitting his time remotely and on-site. And overall it felt amazing to spend more time together as a couple. Plus I was able to catch up on a ton of movies and tv shows while relaxing in my pajamas.

Unfortunately, there were days where I didn’t do anything productive and I became complacent. And it wasn’t long before every room in the house looked atrocious. I simply lacked motivation, and my only type of physical activity was walking back and forth to the kitchen so I could engage in mindless eating (which soon led to me becoming 40 pounds overweight). And because of these bad habits, I started to go downhill both physically and emotionally.

Even though I thought being furloughed was a blessing, it was actually a double-edged sword because I was in another toxic environment, but it was my own making. I didn’t take the time to truly reevaluate my life as a whole because I was too busy overindulging in unhealthy habits. It was obvious I was professionally unhappy. Plus I had other deep rooted issues that I refused to address. But because now I am a woman of a particular age, I knew I needed to make some changes. 

So if I learned anything while dealing with this pandemic, it’s that I need to stop my cycle of self-sabotage. I know that I want to make changes in my life, but I have to push myself out of my comfort zone. I have to accept that in order to have the life that I want, I have to do certain things that may be difficult but necessary. I have to learn how to stop repeating certain patterns and expecting different results. I need to try a new approach, and not allow my fear of failure or my impatience to hinder my progress.

And while I have a long ways to go, I feel confident that I’m on the right track because I am not rushing the process, but I am embracing the journey…

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My Wake-Up Call

What was my wake up call? 

It happened a few days ago while I was changing clothes to go run a few errands. I figured I’d just throw on a random t-shirt and a pair of jeans since I was coming straight home afterwards. Yet when the first pair of jeans didn’t fit, I heard that familiar voice inside my head that was telling me that I was a complete fat ass. Then when the second and third pair didn’t fit, my inner voice switched from name calling to contemptuous disgust. And the next thing I know, I’m trying on every single pair of pants that I own and I soon realized that NONE of them fit!

My immediate response was to throw on a pair of leggings. But let’s be honest! Leggings aren’t considered real pants. Sure, they’re comfortable and affordable. And for most women (or at least for me), they’re considered the standard go-to when we’re in a hurry. But I’ll admit that they’ve become a crutch. And as I slipped them on, I became consumed with so much dejection and hopelessness that I started to cry. Within seconds, I was balled up in my bedroom because I couldn’t remember the last time I felt content with myself. And to be honest, I’d never been truly comfortable in my own skin.

All my life, I always kept to myself because I knew I was different. I was constantly told that I was never “black” enough, or considered beautiful because I didn’t look like everyone else. Plus my family and friends were quick to point out my flaws. I was ridiculed for my chubby cheeks and my huge ass. And one of my aunt’s suggested that I needed to be mindful of my weight. ( As a teenager, I was always told to cover up my mid-drift and that certain clothes weren’t meant for me, even though I was a SIZE 6 and had a perfectly flat stomach). 

As I got older, I began embracing my blemishes, yet I couldn’t shake the feeling that my flaws were a weakness. Maybe that’s why I spent most of my 20s seeking validation from men who were not only toxic, but they intensified my anxieties. Plus I tried all types of crash diets and other fads throughout the years, which always left me unsatisfied. Yet shortly after meeting the love of my life, I soon realized that while I was flawed, I was still human.

I know it’s cliched, but no one is perfect. Everyone has their own pitfalls and shortcomings, and it’s daunting how we’re always searching for this unattainable idea of perfection. That can give us brain noise, and it becomes a vicious cycle of self-loathing. 

After sobbing for a good ten minutes, the voice inside my head demanded I wipe my tears and pull myself together. Then I mustered just enough energy to throw on an old maxi dress and raced out the door. However during that short car ride, I took full accountability for my current situation. 

Sure, it was obvious I gained a lot of weight because of the pandemic, but honestly it was more than that. I’ve always been a stickler for sweets and caffeine. Plus I was never much of an athlete because I’m naturally clumsy and I simply lose interest in physical activities rather quickly.  But the true catalyst for my impassive habits was my tumultuous relationship with food. I’m what you call a picky eater, but I’m also an emotional eater. And those are two terrible habits that are hard to break. 

Now that I’m middle-aged and with a child of my own, I am faced with my own mortality. And with everything happening in the world, it’s easy to wallow in my own insecurities. But instead of giving up on myself, I’ve decided to make my wellbeing a priority. I’ve wasted so much energy seeking approval from others. But as RuPaul states, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?” And in order to love myself, I have to practice more self-care.

I know my own perception isn’t going to evolve overnight, but I intend to push myself by taking tiny steps forward each day. And as long as I try to make even the slightest effort towards change, then one day I will reap the rewards…

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My Introduction

Who am I exactly? To the outside world, I’m a wife and mother. I’m also a newly certified dental assistant, a published author, an amateur photographer, and a proud comic book nerd. (Yet others could say I’m an occasional basket case, or simply a brooding black female with a permanent resting bitch face.)

But the truth is, it’s hard to pinpoint a true description of the real me. And yet one thing is for sure. I’m flawed and complex, and I’m aware that I’m a product of trauma, heartache, and emotional abuse. But instead of being a victim, I decided to take control of my narrative by using the hurt of my past as inspiration for a brighter future. 

Now before we go any further, I realize I’m not qualified to offer advice to anyone by any means! But I believe that by being transparent with my past experiences, I can inspire others to embrace their flaws in some way. And maybe by seeing that others have gone through similar experiences, it can provide comfort or a ray of hope.

So please be open-minded and kindhearted, and remember this site to be a judgement-free zone!!

-Yours Truly,

Daisy Kane