strong black woman mask – Randi B.

At about 4:00PM, I realized that I had not started dinner but most importantly, I did not have, want or had the energy to chop, diced or stand over the stove to prepare dinner before my husband got home. My go-to meal when I am in this mood is a delicious rotisserie chicken from my local grocery store and bagged salad, placed on the plate, like I did it myself (smile). It is quick, easy and always turns out great. As I parked my car and hustled inside the market, I am not sure why but I was taken aback by all of the “masked” face shoppers that I saw (I am very appreciative, that in my area – everyone is  complying with wearing a mask). For some reason, I had an overwhelming sense of sadness as I pushed my cart to gather my items that this is our “new normal”. As I walked thru the Market, I could not see any smiles on faces only a mask of what is to come.

On Friday or Saturday nights when it comes to our Family movie selection, I seem to always get beat out. My idea of a weekend movie night is a great heart wrenching romantic movie….OK, we don’t have to go as far as the Hallmark Holiday movies, which by the way, I am that Chick that watches them from November to the end of December. But my husband and daughter seem to always select a Zombie movie or some apocalyptic dooms day movie where the cast, who is is dire need of a hot shower and shampoo/condition treatment, spend the entire movie raiding the now empty super markets and fighting zombies or some alien that wants to take over our world. I say all of this to say I miss seeing smiling faces along with all the other simple things that unfortunately we took for granted like the summer concerts, eating out, travel. etc.

But what it really made me think about is the Mask that we wear daily. The mask that “I am well” when really we are screaming with every fiber that we can muster that we feel alone and sometimes it it too much to bear. We wear the mask of trying to compete with the “social media lives” of our “so called’ Facebook or Instagram friends, which by the way is shot with a lot of filters – which is just another term for masks. What about the mask of hiding dark secrets of childhood abuse, date rape, not feeling that you are enough. I am guilty of wearing a mask to my former job, smiling in the endless meetings, when really I could see myself literally walking out, throwing files on the conference table as Johnny Paycheck sings loud and clear “You can take this job and shove it” but instead I worked for a paycheck so that I could have all of those “things that is SUPPOSE to make me happy” instead of actually enjoying my life and family. The mask of “If I could only” lose weight, make more money, live in a certain neighborhood, have the right friends….that maybe, just maybe, everyone else would THINK I am enough.

It is time for us to remove all of the masks and show our faces. If you need help, call a trusted friend or a professional to seek help. Mental health is so important and especially today even with our precious children that may not understand or how to verbalize what is going on. I am not afraid to say that I get a little depressed sometimes, when I see the tally of the deaths that keep rising from Covid-19, racial unrest, unemployment and families on the breaking point of having to swallow their pride and ask for help for food and money due to the unemployment from Covid-19. The Moms and Dads that are homeschooling their kids, they are challenged with the unknown of how to ensure that their children will receive the proper education. When will this be over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let’s not even get on the topic of the upcoming Presidential elections and the postal service debacle. Sometimes I have to turn off the news – take a deep breath, pray, meditate, read a great book and listen to music to find my way back to me.

Let’s be brave and start to peel away the mask.

Don’t Be Afraid to Let Go

letting-go-hands | Ethereal Wellness Counseling

Today is a brand new day! Another opportunity to start fresh. Before I start my day, I awake with prayers and reading both inspirational and from the Bible. Today, I had a great sense of relief on the thoughts that it is OK to let go and walk away. It is always hard for a majority of people to “let go” of relationships, friendships, careers, material things etc. As, I am trying to figure our my path in our “New Existence” I realize that some of the routines of what was is a big relief to walk away from.

  • Working for someone else or a company that doesn’t really respect all of your talents with the deserved financial rewards. I worked in Sales in an Industry that you given a Million Dollar per quarter sales goal for “some one else / company” and receive a bonus check of a fraction of that and I mean a very low fraction. If I could do this successfully for a company – I could do this for myself and not be subject to hours and days away from my Family.
  • Friends or what you wished and hoped to be friends but when you take some time away you realize that true friendship does not go hand in hand with negativity, bashing others and competition….I am happy to run away from them and focus on my true friendships and family.
  • I truly believe that more entrepreneurs are going to be born out of this situation and work from home opportunities. Studies are in that we as a people have been just as or more productive working from the comfort of our homes and spending more time with our families.
  • Stronger Families – although at times you may find yourself thinking “I have spent more time with Family to hold me over for a few years”. I get so much pleasure seeing my neighbors on a random weekday having picnics on the front lawn, neighborhood ride thru birthday parties and graduations. Yep, we are the neighborhood crew that decorate our cars to celebrate 8 year old birthdays and our graduating seniors. I have actually meet more neighbors and had enjoyable “social distance” conversations from the lawns….by the way, I have been in my neighborhood almost 2 years and while working so much did not know anyone by name. I also LOVE my husband more and more each day…it is hard to explain but with me working so much, I must admit, I did not come home daily and cook, do his laundry and all the small things that our Mothers did for our Dads. Now do not get me wrong..I am that modern, college educated, six-figure making Woman and proud of it. But, I also remember as a little girl, my Mother would come home each and every day to prepare my Daddy’s dinner, pack his lunch for the following day, and just took care of my Daddy and her seven kids….yes! I said seven, I a come from a big Southern Family. I love that my husband did not even flinch when I told him I was laid off due to Covid-19 and not sure when I would go back to work. I am very grateful for him and for this – he deserves to be taken care of.
  • Material items – I realize that I do not need another article of clothing or makeup, to be very honest, in my quest to organize and purge I am somewhat embarrassed that I have so many clothes, of course, I chalk it up to being in Sales and always entertaining clients and traveling for work….I have an excuse for my online shopping. I have not had on a pair of heels since March and for some reason my Senior Sales wardrobe is now comfy work out clothes (to be more specific – I have a set of 4 comfy selections that I really love and will turn the washing machine on to just wear my favorites). We eat-in and make some creative meals that we sit at the dinner table and enjoy “together” actually having conversations with each other. My husband is still working as an Engineer and within a few months without our travel (which I miss so much we had to reluctantly walk away from our Hawaii trip among others this year) and not eating out – we may just pay our house off in another 1 – 2 years. WHAT!!!??? THAT IS INSANE that we spend that much money.
  • Compassion – my prayer is America and all other nations have compassion for all of the Mothers, Fathers, Grandparents, brothers, sisters and children that we have had to say a distant good-bye to due to Covid-19. To the many families that are facing hardship due to the lost of wages, the parents that are working so hard to home school their children with no to little guidance. I hope that we empathize and help our fellow man more.

Letting go can be scary but sometimes necessary.

Stepping Out

Monday, March 16, 2020 was a normal day, at least I thought it would be.   Alarm going off at 5:15AM, snooze until 5:30AM…not sure why I don’t just change the darn alarm until 5:30AM but I always have this grand idea that I am going to wake up to do yoga (Ok, I don’t actually do yoga but I watch it online with high hopes that I can get smaller without doing a lot of cardio).  I grab a cup of coffee cuddle up in the “She Room” and read my online Bible to get me prepared for whatever the day has in store for me.  I get dressed, listening to my inspirational Pandora station, makeup and business suit and jump into my car for my 50-minute drive to the city.

This morning I have a Breakfast meeting with a Client, we will call her Gloria, that I really need to secure to get closer to my enormous Sales Goals.  On a separate note, the world as we know it has quietly been changing in the past few weeks by COVID-19.  I have had client’s cancelling their contracts and by watching the News – either the world is ending, or I woke up in one of my husband’s horrible movies that he is always watching.  My Breakfast meeting went very well, I felt good about my chances of securing this account. We had great chemistry, we discussed business but also COVID-19, our Faith, Family and what will be the fate of our wonderful, not without blemishes, world as we know it.   I finished my meeting went back to my office to prepare a nice note and send some follow-up responses to Gloria before I could press send on my laptop the General Manager came into my office, which he rarely ever crosses my office threshold. and said “Tricia, I am sorry – we are going to have to let you go.”  In my head, I am trying to decipher if he is joking or being serious, unfortunately when he mentions that the Director of Human Resources would be by shortly it sunk in that I was the next casualty of the economic downfall that the US was suddenly in and I was truly being furloughed.

I have not been without a job since I was 16 years old since my first job at Wendy’s.  I am a mature (we will talk about age later) woman without a job!!!!! This is real, what the heck am I going to do.   But, after calling my husband and finishing out my day at the office, yes, I worked until 5:45PM and drove my 50 minutes back to the burbs.  Waking up the next morning, I thought how could this happen to me and by the time I had my coffee, watched the news and received messages from my industry colleagues…I realized that I was not the only one in this sinking boat.   The upside down of my world in just a matter of short days made me think about what my next steps in life would be.  I have a gentle calmness about me that I draw from my relationship with God so I am not worried about bills or losing my home, thank goodness for my husband and recent desire to save.  But, what if I actually Stepped out and did some of those things that I always wanted to do, afraid to do, didn’t think that anyone would listen if I tried to do them.  What if I STEP OUT.