What My Twenties Taught Me*

It’s been a tough but good ten years. I felt it necessary to reflect and share some of the lessons I’ve learned that will “hopefully” make the journey through my thirties a lot less bumpy and possibly help somebody else along their journey too.

*This list is not comprehensive. This list also does not reflect the lessons that I’ve mastered (ha!)…I’ll always be a work in progress but I’m much better than I was 10 years ago, one year ago, and one day ago and for that, I’m grateful. Continue reading

Dori Does 2018

New year and I’m still here and if you’re reading this, you’re still here too. Congrats! I’ll be honest: the urge to wax poetic and gush with positivity has been so strong over the past week. I listened to more of Oprah’s podcast yesterday and ya girl feels optimistic af! I love a good reset and what better time to reset than on a Monday, the very first day of a new year. I’d been thinking of a good post for NYE or New Year’s Day; I would do some reflecting, recapping, re-energizing, and writing out this year’s goals then spend all day New Year’s Day cleaning and clearing out my space to start 2018 with a clean slate.

But I didn’t. Instead, I just lived.

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Time, f*cks, and a lack thereof

Back in late July 2017, Congresswoman (Auntie) Maxine Waters gave us the clapback that we never knew we needed. Auntie reminded us that we have time that we need to be out here reclaiming and we mobilized as a mighty black-ass army to spread the phrase all over the interwebs. We circulated the hashtag and created songs, t-shirts, mugs, and the like to catapult this concept into the mainstream black lexicon but did we really actually stop to reclaim our time? I didn’t. But I am now. You probably should too.

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Now, Auntie was reclaiming her time from white male mediocrity, something we all should be out here doing as much as possible. The black interwebs also offered up a slew of things we all need to reclaim our time from but in revisiting Auntie’s wisdom, I had to ask what/who was taking up a significant chunk of my time from me? There are the obvious things: work, grad school, laundry (Lordt help!). But there are also other, more insidious things that take up too much of my already limited time and something has to change.

If I was good at math, I could come up with a really fancy formula but in an effort to keep it simple: f*cks = life – time

The more f*cks you actively give to stuff, the less time you have but giving a f*ck in itself isn’t the big time zap for me. It’s all of the time-wasting thoughts, behaviors, and emotions that come with f*ck giving that actually drain me.

Ok, this is the part where I stray from my original post and get really real.

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Monday Things

Mondays optional

Today kicked my ass y’all. I got my ass dragged and then handed to me but I made it. Here’s what got me through, brain-dump style.

  • Food. Breakfast and two cups of coffee. The cold pizza I brought for lunch but didn’t eat until I was in the car on the way home from work.
  • My old neighbor lady. I gave her dog some of the treats I made for Lego this weekend. She texted me and said she loved me. (Proof that I’m not a completely terrible person, yay!)
  • Water. Y’all. Some cool crisp water will restore you. Woke me all the way up after my nap and got me to this Starbucks. For a second I thought I wasn’t gonna make it. I was in the bed under the covers and everything. 
  • A good weekend. I spent my weekend cleaning up like a madwoman. I got rid of the eyesore armchair in my living room. Switched up my decor. Popped in a new glade plug-in. It’s like I have a new apartment. It was so wonderful to come home to today. 
  • People who asked how my day was today and genuinely cared about my answer. I talk to people all day at work. Most of it is the textbook corporate America elevator talk: “How’re ya doing?” “Do anything fun this weekend?” etc. Most of it obviously shallow. But there are a few people who always make it a point to speak and ask me how I’m doing. It’s such a needed break from the chaos of the day. 
  • Starbucks. I reeeeally don’t like change and there’s something soothing about coming to a place and knowing exactly what to expect. (Well, the location I’m currently at remodeled and installed a passcode lock on the bathrooms but it’s mostly still the same. lol)
  • Me. Sometimes I get so focused on getting ish done that I don’t pause and step back to realize how not normal this all is. I’m the ish. I had to remind myself of that today. I also had to remind myself that life in it’s current iteration is temporary. I just gotta keep my head down, delight in joy wherever and whenever I can find it, and keep it moving. 
  • Goldlink. He’s dope af. Enjoy. I gotta get back to this thesis proposal. 

What do you do when happiness doesn’t come with an on switch?

200e5416826c56efbb4e4fbe84e629a0--rain-and-coffee-coffee-or-teaIt’s a rainy, blah-y Sunday and despite all of my efforts, I’m in a rut that I can’t get out of. Today, I attribute this rut mostly to a slight case of SADs and this cold I’ve been trying my hardest to fend off all week but I can’t deny that there’s been an underlying, unceasing, unhappy hum to life lately and I’ve finally figured out why.
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Saturday Mornings and Stuff

I woke up early today and had my mind set on going in to work to try to get a head start on the upcoming week. Tell me why I was half way there and turned my car around?! I just couldn’t muster up the will to go in today. Not after the week I had. Not after the week I’m going into. I’ll make it in tomorrow. I just need one day this week completely void of work so I took myself on a coffee date to write instead. Wonder what else I’ll be doing today? More after the jump.

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I have returned.

I’m back in all of my hot messed glory. I’m still doing this life thing. Some days it feels like I’m barely doing anything, other days I feel like I’m doing everything, but I’m still here doing…things.

This past week has been nothing short of struggletastic. Life has a way of throwing you (ME) curveballs, major curveballs, before you (I) can even get off the bench and onto the mound. And I for sure got knocked down but not out.

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But the good news is I had a therapy appointment already scheduled for this week so now all I have to do is make it to Thursday. Easy, right?

So without much pomp, circumstance, or fanfare I’ve decided to start blogging again – mainly as a way for me to get out and sort through my own life stuff but also to help others sort through their own. I’m trying this whole vulnerability thing that everybody talks about (I’m looking at you, Brené Brown) so what better way to be vulnerable than on the interwebs, right? A few Sunday Things popping off after the jump.

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The Hell that is your Late Twenties

I’m 27 and, honestly, I can’t figure out how I got here.  I feel like 21 was a year or two ago, probably because  much of the past six years have been a mix of blah, blech, and bitch please. I’ve developed a theory to explain the sharp decline from the pinnacle of my twenties (21) to now (27). It’s not groundbreaking, probably not even original, but I feel like it’s at least worth reading so yeah, click through.

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Anxiety, Egocentricity, and Leadership

Although I have yet to seek a legit diagnosis, I’m pretty sure that I have anxiety. For me, maneuvering social situations can be extremely stressful. I sweat. My heart beats fast. I feel winded and short of breath. Sometimes my hands or legs shake. While all of this is happening, I worry that people can sense my anxiety through these physical manifestations of stress.

Then there’s a barrage of thoughts about how I’m perceived. What am I saying? Am I saying the right words? Did I pronounce that word right? Am I explaining something clearly or do I sound confused, confusing, and dumb? How is the tone of my voice? Am I talking loud enough? What do I talk about next? How do I end the conversation? So many thoughts. All about myself. All at the same time.

As you can probably imagine, all of this makes it hard for me to be in the moment and be fully present in most social interactions. Some days are better than others and it’s not as bad with familiar people or in familiar situations. The more I struggle with my anxiety the more I find tricks and workarounds that help me manage it but some days I consider seeking medication (which I would only do after diagnosis and under the consultation of a doctor).

As a leader and future mental healthcare professional the most burdensome aspect of my anxiety is how it involves so much of my mental energy to be focused on myself. Many times I find this at odds with my ability to be empathetic. I believe one of my strengths and innate gifts is my ability to connect with people in a way that allows me to deeply understand who they are and their perspective but this is extremely difficult to do when I’m focused on all of my own flaws. There’s also a burden of guilt that comes with feeling that I am neglecting those that I’m leading and helping because I’m so focused on myself. Above all of this it’s really exhausting. Mentally. Not only does it prevent me from giving my attention to others but it physically drains me in a way that can make me feel too tired to be there for those who may need me.

In all that I do, be it leadership, ministry, or mental healthcare, self-care – maintaining my own health and happiness – is of the utmost importance. Which is why I’m addressing this problem first here on my blog, second with my therapist, and possibly third with medication. I really can’t afford to let my mental health issues affect my ability to fulfill my purpose and I want to give my very best to those who I lead and help, and most importantly, to myself.