Thursday, May 4, 2017

A bout of Bell's Palsy


“Are you okay?”

I’ve just completed my weeklong “shift” of hostess duties: drafting and emailing a wedding announcement for the local newspaper, ironing crisp white tablecloths and chair covers, and decorating a spacious venue, to be exact. This is in addition to pulling frequent all-nighters for a daily entertainment writer gig and defaulting to a 24-hour nanny role that I never signed up for. So after the nuptials, I sit quietly, observant near the dance floor in figurative retirement.

If I danced, I would’ve sashayed to the dance floor. But that’s not my thing. I don’t like to be watched and scrutinized, and as the tallest person on the dance floor, I’m almost guaranteed to attract more attention that I can ignore. However, being a wallflower was more noticeable, eliciting a countless “Come on!” with each motion of a curved finger elevating my blood pressure five millimeters of mercury at a time. I remain at the front table with the purses, fuming, while everyone else shimmies, shakes, shuffles, slides, and steps across the dance floor. It sways my response.

“If one more person asks me…” I say before exhaling. “Yes!”

No one else inquires about my well-being, not even the next day during brunch when my physical features literally relax.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The third house on the right


We watch the baby’s chubby thighs kick and wiggle from the metal bucket on the kitchen counter next to the sink. Although we can’t see the baby’s face, we can hear the infant giggle and coo from inside the pail.

I glace over at K and T, who stand less than 10 feet behind me by the open side door, mute, probably eager to make a hasty exit.

I look back at the baby. His feet continue to dance against the air as I grasp him by his ankles. I think I carry him upside down as I walk over to K and T, but I can’t quite recall.

“See, I told you something is wrong with this house,” I say to them.

Like something isn’t also wrong with the baby. It wasn’t always human. It was a mere doll before it was placed in the bucket. Not a Baby Alive, which mimics a real-life newborn, but a plain old, motionless, plastic toy. Yet somehow it sprung to life, begging to be comforted and cuddled.

They don’t acknowledge him or my words.

Sometimes I wish...


…I could utter an emphatic “NO;”

…my mind didn’t constantly run a marathon but rather walked an easy beach stroll;

…I’d followed my intuition;

…I didn’t give second, third, fourth, and fifth chances;

…I chucked the old notion that I’m no better than anyone else because, after all, I don’t strive to be average;

Friday, March 18, 2016

[xoNecole] Go get him! Study shows women who make the first move have better dating success


I’m sitting at the bar enjoying sushi and my second $9 cocktail when one of my friends taps the shoulder of the guy sitting next to me.

“Hi!” she says to him. “What’s your name?”

He tells her.

“Have you met my friend, Tee?” she replies, as she turns her back to us to continue conversing with the group behind us, as if she has just accomplished a major task.

It’s an awkward introduction. He’s confused and annoyed – mainly, I presume, because dude is already engrossed in a conversation with a young woman on the other side of him. So I’m initially horrified because all my friend has done is inadvertently let him know that I’m possibly 1) a relationship reject; 2) incapable of meeting men on my own; or 3) a homewrecker. Then I grow angry because I’m none of the above, and she’s placed me in a humiliating position all because I’m not flirting and mingling to her satisfaction. I’m left seething in my seat, mumbling under my breath that if I wanted to meet dude, I would’ve introduced mydamnself.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

[xoNecole] How I learned the importance of saying 'No' after being diagnosed with Bell's Palsy

Since I was a teenager, I’ve been conditioned to be independent and ambitious. Against some family members and friends’ advice, I applied to a more selective university and was accepted. Upon graduation, I relocated to urban Northern Virginia instead of returning to rural hometown Virginia. And when it came to building a finance career, I was focused on promotions and paychecks. But being a go-getter came with a whole other set of responsibilities that I had to fulfill that weren’t even my own.

In a scene from Tuesday’s “Purging and Cleansing” episode of Being Mary Jane, Kara pretty much tells MJ that she can’t be the head of everyone’s household. MJ not only takes care of her own home, but she also maintains order in her parents’ home, including supplementing her family’s financial downfalls and acting as the family spokesperson to deliver the news everyone else needs to say but no one wants to deliver.

Monday, December 7, 2015

"Being Mary Jane" in real life is destructive and emotionally exhausting

As I watch the dinner scene on Tuesday night’s Being Mary Jane unfold – the one where MJ educates her family on money management – I smirk. Here’s the family, finally happy together in one room (with the exception of PJ, who’s back in LA price-rigging on his new job), and MJ feels it’s the best time to tell her folks how to spend and save their dollars courtesy of Suze Orman.

MJ has no chill, I initially say to myself.

But I can’t get annoyed with her – this time – even when she tells her dad that he isn’t buying Niecy or anybody else a car, because something about the whole situation suddenly seems so familiar.

At 15, my mother succumbed to metastasized breast cancer and instead of me continuing to be a teenager, I immediately assumed responsibility for my family’s business affairs. I was the one to interpret the fine print on documents, balance accounts, and dispute and negotiate bill errors.

I vividly remember calling Verizon several times on my grandmother’s behalf over some Miss Cleo-typed calls a relative had placed on my grandmother’s phone. For at least three months, these charges appeared on her bill.

“But she didn’t make them, and we called about them last month, too,” I’d cry to the customer service rep. Finally someone initiated a block and authorized a credit, but it didn’t cover what I had combed through the multi-paged bills and calculated as the “fraudulent” charges, maybe because of taxes and all those additional fees.

“There’s still $27!” I say, exasperated, to the rep.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

I'm currently...


...craving steak tacos, chunky guacamole, and frozen margaritas;

...hoping to be a great (math) teacher, but the way these Praxis tests are set up...;

...loving my extended family because they're theeee absolute best;

...missing my long hair;

...praying I get accepted into the alternative-path-to-licensure program I interviewed for last week;

...reading Ruby by Cynthia Bond;

...realizing people reveal their true feelings about me by their mere actions and not by their words; if only I'd pay attention and accept that sooner and stop allowing disrespect to continue until much later;