Friday, June 28, 2024

At a loss for coherent words: How I almost quit writing...for good.

I shapeshifted into every type of writer until I couldn't write no mo'.

I have so much to say but nothing to say at all. 

Or maybe I can’t fully articulate what it is that’s really on my mind, at least not coherently.

Some days I feel I have way too much mental clutter that I need to parse and piece thoughts back together into their respective stories. It’s almost like one of those pros and cons lists where this idea goes here, that idea goes there, yet in my case, they remain fragmented. It explains why I’ve written off and on – mainly off – for nearly a decade.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Lost one


Generally svelte and stealth,
untouchable and untamed,
inaccessible and incognito.

Predator to prey.

Captured, caged and choked by fog and false mercy,
but eager to escape

back to clarity and anonymity.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

A bout of Bell's palsy

Pink Daisy by Tattyan on Unsplash

“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 I exhale. “Yes!”

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

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 and 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.