I’m a lover, not a fighter.

My temper can get the best of me sometimes. I’m generally even keeled, but when I’m fired up? Watch out! Despite this capacity to go from zero to sixty in three seconds, I have only been in one physical altercation. I will cuss you to hell and back, but rarely do I put my hands on folks. The one exception to this rule however was this chick named Tyesha. Let me back this up and a bit and give you some of our history.

Every day after school from ages 5-8, I could be found in the neighboring suburb of mine, spending time at my grandmother’s house. My parents worked opposing shifts, so grandma was my de facto babysitter. It was a great time, really. Most of my cousins lived nearby, so we’d be hanging out together consistently. I had friends on her block, so I loved coming over that way. There were these two sisters that were close in age to me who lived down the block. Keioka (or Keosha…I’m not quite sure, tbh, coz we called her Ke-ke) and Tyesha.

They were, what Tyra would call, my frenemies. We played together if it was a necessity (i.e. none of our other friends on the block were out), but really couldn’t stand each other. They were adopted by an older woman who pretty much let them run her into the ground. There were countless incidents where my cousins and I got into it with them because…well simply put, they were assholes. They always wanted to be “zero no higher” in double dutch, but turned double-handed as all the damns. When playing hide and seek we had an explicit rule that stated that one could not run into one’s house as a hiding spot, but they always did. They had smart mouths and wrote a lot of checks that their asses couldn’t cash.

Much like now, I was a rather reserved child. I preferred observing others and silently judging their behaviors  and inserting my thoughts, feelings, and opinions when I deemed them necessary. A disciple of Rev. King, I was nonviolent, nonviolent. My cousin Dani was the scrapper in our fam. Every other day, she’d scrape this chick named Izola who lived across the street. Because of my demeanor, I am quite positive that folks thought I was a punk. But oh no! I simply preferred talking my way through matters peaceably. Until that one fateful day…

I don’t know why, but on that afternoon I was the only one of my cousins at grandma’s. I had just come from the homie Krissy’s crib after one of our faux Babysitters’ Club meetings and hanging out in front of my grandma’s house. I was getting my jump rope on (I was seriously training for Jump Rope for Heart–determined to be the victor of my elementary school that year). I noticed Tyesha skating up and down her side of the street. I ignored her mostly (as was the custom), but then she crossed over to our side of the road and began going back and forth. I’m still jumping my heart out, imagining the spoils of my victory when she starts yammering as she skates by.

I don’t know what she said initially, but it progressed into her saying something disrespectful in reference to my grandmother. Anyone who knows me knows that you don’t EVAH twist your mouth to say something off color about Rosie Lee and expect to get away with it. She skated by one more time and I went after that bitch like I was Mike Singletary & she was a QB. I took her down, snatched one of her skates off and started beating her with it. I don’t know for how long because I blanked out, really. The only thing that brought me back was hearing my grandmother shouting at me to “get off that gal and getcho tail in the house RIGHT NOW”.

I got reamed OUT. No matter how much I protested and told my grandmother I was trying to defend her honor, she was not hearing it. I could hear the disappointment in her tone as she scolded me. After that incident, I vowed not to get physical with anyone else. Because I never wanted to feel how I felt being scolded by my grandma again.

Oh…and that bitch Tyesha skated her silly ass on her side of the street only from that point on.

Celebrate All of the Victories

So, two things. One–I am still unemployed. Deux: I am unofficially living in Milwaukee. When I lost my job, my friend graciously offered me illegal* solace in their home indefinitely. So at the beginning of November, I came up and have been here (with some breaks), living. Life is very different for me right now and I am learning how to adjust.

So often I get caught up in the wrong things, stressing myself to the point of nausea. In the three months since I’ve been laid off I’ve cried like every other day. Consistently getting the dreaded “thanks, but no thanks” emails from jobs I’m applying to or potentially not getting into grad school makes me feel like an entire failure. I’m so not used to this life. I’m used to excelling in nearly every thing presented to me as a challenge.

2012 was the year of the let down. I was defeated in nearly every arena of my life: professional, personal, physical. I ended the year feeling like a failure and lacking any sort of direction in my life. Everyone has a plan for their life and despite mine taking a few detours that were unaccounted for, I assumed I’d get it back on track eventually.

Now, however? I feel like it is going off the rails at a more rapid rate than I can control. And that scares me beyond belief. The thing I have to learn though is that I cannot control everything, so I need to let go of those things that are beyond me. I have, however, made strides to take better control of the things that I can.

I hadn’t planned on staying in Milwaukee this long, really. My plan was to get away from Chicago for a few weeks, clear my head, then bite the bullet and move back in with my mom. But then I joined a gym. So I’m committed to staying here for at least one month more as I try to get the most out of this place. Today was my first real workout and I didn’t want to die. I went to spinning at 5:30 this morning, nervous as all get out. I’d tried this workout before and barely made it through the warm-up without wanting to die.

Today, though? I dunno what it was, but I made it through the entire 45 minute class. I took breaks. I felt like I wanted to die at least eighteen times, but I made it. And I have a feeling of accomplishment that rivals landing my first job. I have a long road to go (I wanna lose a LOT of weight), but this achieving small step charged me right on up. So that’s the move right now. Celebrating all of the victories, no matter how small they may seem. And knowing that bigger ones are on the horizon.




*It’s illegal because they’re not supposed to have anyone using their basement as a bedroom.