During quarantine, I began to spend a ton more time with my kids. We became obsessed with making up stories to help us pass the time. Because of our big imaginations, we decided to write some of our stories down for publication later. The kids insisted that we actually publish the book. I reached out to my painter friends to help me find an illustrator. My friend Damon introduced me to William. We met virtually and began to visualize the book. After months of work, we finally published our first book.
I have always been in love with reading. It has been the one constant in my life. It has helped me live while growing up in poverty. I read constantly. I lived vicariously through the characters. Now, I decided to allow my children to be characters themselves. Our pirate adventure is the first in a series of imagination adventures. The book is available for purchase now on Amazon.
“Another man was slain today in Uptown after a violent night of protests. We here at WCTV…”
Chanda turned the television off before heading to work. It had been a long week of civil unrest after a young man was gunned down by the police. She grabbed her phone to scroll mindlessly through her social feed, to try and relieve herself of the trauma she was witnessing. She wanted to protest too. She felt overcome because she felt that by protesting, her work contract could be compromised. It was so early to be fighting these emotions. Chanda’s silent protest was working with children each day. Making sure they learn and feel safe. She grabbed her keys, lunch bag, and laptop bag, and opened the door to the garage. She briefly left the car door open to run back in the house to grab a water bottle.
Chanda came back to the car and saw a missed text message from her boss:
“We will need to meet first thing this morning. I expect everyone to be there!”
“What does he want now?” Chanda thought to herself.
The morning drive isn’t bad. Chanda lives right around the corner from the school. She drives slowly in her 2011 Toyota Forerunner. She makes sure to watch her pace, since she passes school children walking to school. She turns into the parking lot and the weight of her world settles on her chest. She looks in mirror and recites her daily mantra:
“I am here to serve, my heart is open, I will learn and grow!”
Usually I’m pretty quiet about my personal life, but since I had a minor scare this year I figured I could help my ladies. I mostly post funny memes, but deep inside I have been sitting on pins and needles since February.
I’m always down to try new products, right. I saw this add about alternatives to pads and tampons. Since I’m a health nut, I’m like YES. I want to try this! So, I did some research on the product and headed over to the “lady” aisle in Target. What’s the product, you may ask? It was the Diva Cup.
I bought it right before my next cycle came on. Day 1 was great. I put it in just right. No leaks or anything. The day went so well that I decided to promulgate its effectiveness to my girls in the group chat. Day 2 was not so great. I kept having breakthrough spills. Plus, I was at work and changing it out was a disaster. Side note: you need to take it out to pee. I’ll explain later. I am so glad I decided to wear a pantyliner.
For the rest of my cycle, I decided to go back to tampons. The Diva Cup was entirely too much of a hassle. As the days progressed, I noticed that my urine was dark. I figured it was because I am slack about drinking water at work. I’m an assistant principal and my day is insane. I never sit down and rarely remember to use the restroom. But, the next day….UGH!!
It was a Friday night and I was about to head out with my girls to a Soca party. You know how I feel about Soca parties (see previous blog post). After my shower, I had to pee like crazy. It was nothing but a drip! That’s weird, right. So, I finish and get dressed to leave the house. I get to the party and we’re drinking. I have to pee like every five minutes, but it is still a drip. I figured it was the alcohol. Then, my night took a sinister turn. I had spotting when I went to the restroom. Weird, because my cycle had gone off days prior.
So, I go home and I am worried as all get out. The next morning, I tell hubby what’s going on. He’s like, “Yo, you need to go to the minute clinic.” I decided to get my hungover tail up and run to Target. The wait was like 30 minutes. I’m sitting out there looking crazy. At the appointment, I learned that I was experiencing my very first UTI. It was so bad that she wanted me to get a full check up with my primary care physician.
A few days later, I visited my OB. First of all, let me tell you how dope she is. She is the beautiful, tall Black girl with a very laid back personality. Can you tell how much I love her? So, she does a check up and was like, “What in the world did you do?” I explained my life and she immediately noticed the problem. The darn Diva Cup. When I went to the restroom with it in, it obstructed my urethra from expelling all of my urine. Therefore, some bacteria that would usually wash out, stayed in my system and created a bacteria feast in my bladder. She also noted that she would call with my pap results in a few days.
The dreaded call came. She explained how my pap showed signs of HPV and that she would need to take samples of my cervix for further examination. She scheduled for me to come in late February, after I came back from Colombia. Terrified, I went in and she had to snip snip. It was super uncomfortable, but not terribly painful. She explained that on a scale of 1 to 10, her concern for me was at a level 3. Apparently, this happens frequently. It can happen from using baby powder, soaps, sex, etc. The results came back a few days later and I received THEE call.
Dr. B, the coolest physician in the world, explained that I did have some precancerous sections on my cervix and that she would need to remove them. WHAT!!! She explained that she would need to do a LEEP procedure, where they burn off sections of your cervix. My eyes were the size of quarters. The problem, Covid-19. These results came in right around the time the city was shutting down to prevent the spread. So, she tentatively scheduled my operation for June 9th.
Leading up to the appointment, I was told to get my Covid-19 test done. It was simpler than I originally thought; just a swab in my nose. The Q-Tip was mad long though. That test came back negative, thankfully. They gave me this special antibacterial soap I was supposed to wash with before the procedure. So, on to my actual appointment.
Before the appointment, I was nervous AF. So nervous that I cleaned my entire kitchen, went to the gym, and had to “use” the bathroom. I guess I didn’t know what to expect. I decided to google LEEP. I learned that this was a 10 to 15 minute procedure where they literally burn off pieces of your cervix. To protect from pain, the doctor injected a local anesthesia. I could feel the pressure, but no pain. Except that one time she went a little too far over….the burn lawd!!
First of all, due to my anxiety I misread the email. My appointment was at 8:30 and I arrived at 9:30. I apologized and begged them to let me get this done today. If not, I think my nerves would have been jacked up forever! She told me to sit down and she would see what she could do. They literally called me back five minutes later.
My doctor walked in and was like, “Look, you late. I’m doing this between other appointments. If you got questions, you better tell me now because we’re getting this thing started.”
I was like, “Nah, you straight. Do what you gotta do.”
She put my grounding on, so I wouldn’t get fried by the current. Pried me open with the speculum, and heated up her tools. While it was baking, she gave me the anesthesia. During this time, she explained how the procedure would go and to let her know if I felt anything. I kid you not, I literally felt NOTHING.
When she was about to get started, she was like, “It’s mad quiet in here. We need some music.”
I was like, “I have my phone. I got a dope Pandora station I could play. But, It’s hip hop and has cussing in it.”
She was like, “That’s my favorite type!”
I turned on my Megan Thee Stallion station on Pandora. My nurse, my doctor and I jammed while she cooked my insides. The procedure literally took about 10 minutes, then she had to clean the wounds. So, overall, I was there for a total of 45 minutes. After she was done, she let me lay there a few minutes to make sure I didn’t get light headed.
When I stood up to get dressed, a red cardinal flew into the window. He tapped the window two more times. I’m big into signs. I researched what it meant. Red cardinals are seen as spiritual guides to let you know you’re ok. They are there to comfort you. They are a sign that you are on the right track and that your good deeds are about to be recognized. With all the things I have going on, I definitely appreciated that sign.
Once I stood up, I realized that I had to pee so bad. But I was scared. Would it hurt? Would it burn? Will I see crazy stuff that will make me freak out? I stood up, dressed and slowly walked down the hall to the restroom. Once again, I was over dramatic. I used that bathroom and it was barely anything that dripped out. Maybe in the future I’ll research ways to calm my anxiety. If I do, I’ll post it here.
Wear a sanity napkin in case you drip. You’ll need it for the next few days, as you will spot. You cannot use a tampon!
Do not stick anything up your hoohaa. That includes tampons or penises.
No heavy lifting or crazy activity.
You may need ibuprofen for cramping or pain.
If you notice heavy discharge, pain, or weird smells, call your doctor!
Thanks for following me through this crazy procedure. I still have to get an additional follow-up check up in 2 weeks. If something crazy comes up, I’ll edit this post to add the findings. Have you had something crazy happen to you? Leave a note in the comments! Like and share please!
For us ladies, friendships are important. For me, travel is super important. Sometimes, I like to combine both of my passions and take my ladies on a nice field trip! We’ve become stronger friends from the cool experiences we’ve had together. Over the course of the past 4 years, I’ve experienced places and things that I will remember for the rest of my life.
My girls and I ventured down to Aruba for the Soul Beach Music Festival. Not only were we able to see comedy shows and live concerts, but we were also able to tour the island. We toured with Offroad Evolution Rental & Tours Aruba, with the owner Ian De Swart. We rode around the island on ATVs and visited the natural pool, California Lighthouse, Alto Vista Chapel, Bushiribana Gold Mills Ruins, Andicuri Beach, and Black Stone Beach. If you decide to go, make sure to pack water shoes and a bandanna for your hair.
2. New Orleans
We originally went down to New Orleans, Louisiana for the Essence Festival. Like the adventurous person I am, I also wanted to explore the city. New Orleans and the surrounding areas have so much to offer. From Bourbon Street and alligator tours to the Joseph Plantation. You will never get board. We ate some of the best beignets and seafood in the French Quarter. For us joggers, take a run down Canal Street in the early morning; otherwise it is entirely too hot outside.
3. Memphis in May
If you ever want to choose the best time to take a girls’ trip to Memphis, Tennessee, definitely go in May. The Memphis in May International Festival is a month long celebration ranging from music performances to BBQ showcases. Make sure to pack rain boot because it does pour down. However, a little shower won’t stop the show. As a bonus, take a stroll down Beale Street. There are street performers, cool shops, and tasty food options. If you’re into the nightlife, they have live outdoor parties! And great photo ops! For a more educational opportunity, be sure to visit the Memphis Civil Rights Museum, where the Lorraine Motel showcases the civil rights movement and the final days of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
4. Cartagena, Colombia
For an out of this world experience, you have to go to Cartagena. The weather is perfect, the views are phenomenal, and the people are so hospitable. The best way to experience the city is to set up a tour with the Experience The Real Cartagena tour company. You will get to not only see the city, but the beaches and the small villages outside of the city. Also, food is included…yummy. Take pictures on the graffiti tour or with the beautiful fruit ladies. The night life is off the hook with roof top parties and top DJs. Make sure to pack dresses, tanks and shorts because it is hot!
Whether you choose to stay here in the US or go abroad for Carnival, it is always a great option. Try Caribana in Toronto or Carnival in Atlanta, Miami, or Las Vegas. Either way, you could never go wrong. Between parties in the city or Jouvert, you will never get rest. So don’t count on it. The community comes together strong for the biggest party in the streets you’ve ever seen. The costumes glisten in the sun and the fiercely decorated floats are sure to dazzle you.
I look forward to many more trips with my friends. Where did you guys go? Leave your trip in the comments and be sure to share with your friends!
A few weeks ago, I strolled through Instagram looking for beach pictures. I was stuck on lock down and needed a virtual vacation. I was drawn into stand up paddle boarding. I was sucked in because of the beautiful scenery. The peace, the water, and the gorgeous natural backdrops screamed for me to try it. I scoured the internet to find a good deal. I found a great deal at Wal-mart on my Uenjoy paddleboard. My board is inflatable, which is helpful when you don’t have a rack on your car. It comes with the paddle, air pump, a fin, a repair kit, and the carrying case (super large book bag). It’s a great deal for all that comes in the package.
I decided to try it right away. While I was out paddling for the first time, I felt inspired by the beauty I encountered. I also wished I had more friends to go out with me. I understand that everyone likely will not want to be out on water, with only a board holding you up. I also wished I had a go pro camera to document the beauty. A cell phone doesn’t begin to capture the color and the lines of the wide open lake and tree line. Until then, I’ll document it in words.
Obstacles: My first time out, I tripped over the rocks. I walked my board down to the water line and laid my board out on the water. McDowell Park has a beautiful lake that I wanted to try out. I had to laugh at myself when I nearly fell in the water. But I persevered. I refuse to let obstacles stop me from achieving my goals, in the water or in life. I regained my balance and crawled on top of my board.
Balance: My stomach did flips. I had already tripped, so I was nervous I would fall off the board in front of all of the fisherman on the lake. I steadied my board and climbed on carefully. I sat on my knees until I felt steady. I didn’t feel courageous enough to try and stand all the way up. In life, take baby steps until you feel more confident. However, you gotta keep pushing and trying.
Slow Down: I almost got caught in a fishing line. There is a pier at the edge of the lake. There was this guy fishing on the pier. When I first got on my board, I was kneeling and decided to take off in the water, like I was in a kayak. I twirled in circles and started towards his fishing line. He freaked out, I freaked out. I nearly fell off my board. I slowly creeped back to the water line and decided to try it all over again. It’s perfectly fine to start over, in life and on your board.
Relax and Enjoy the Ride: Once I started over, I began to figure out what worked for me. I got off the board at the water line and caught my breath. I had to steady my nerves. There were people staring, but I refused to give up. I crawled back on my board, and sat down. I remembered all the techniques I learned from Youtube and began to paddle. I was able to navigate around the fishing line and wave at the bystanders.
I learned a lot that day. First, I learned that I want to paddle every river and lake in the world! I have been researching places like crazy. I’m addicted. Second, I was able to use that time to reflect on how I want to be as a person in my everyday life…serene. Finally, I hope many more people decide to try new things. Don’t be scared! You got this!
March 13th, I came back home from Charleston, South Carolina. I was down there for a recruitment trip, as a representative of my school district. The career fair was sparse with applicants. There were more schools there than potential employees. The hum was in the air, but I did not realize what the hum meant.
When we arrived, the college explained that we were to follow the “no-touch” mandate. We could not shake hands, fist bump or hug any of the students. HUH?!?! They also handed us a large hand sanitizer, accompanied by a tiny one in our gift bags.
When I arrived back home, I did not realize that I would not be leaving my house again until mid-May. That Friday night, I received a call from my principal that said we are no longer allowed in the school building. He also indicated that school would be closed until further noticed. This sent shock vibes through me. Maybe I didn’t have 20/20 vision because I did not see this coming.
After being home for a week and realizing that I would have to cancel my upcoming trips, due to Corona, I entered into a deep depression. I remember it so vividly. One Sunday morning, I came downstairs and saw my family moving around like usual. My kids were watching cartoons in the living room and my husband was cooking breakfast. I stood at the bottom of the steps and couldn’t move. My husband turned and saw me, rushed over and began to squeeze me with the biggest bear hug imaginable. That’s when it happened. I CRIED! Not a little bit. Big alligator tears. Crying that makes your chest heave. Crying where snot drips out of your nose and rolls into your mouth. Nasty, ugly crying.
He held me and then proceed to lay with me on the couch. We laid there for at least an hour. I could hear the kids mumbling in the background and him gently explaining what was happening. I am forever grateful to him for that moment. I realize now that I needed that moment to happen for my breakthrough. Once you hit the bottom, you have no choice, but to go up. His love in that moment rescued me and helped me gain my strength. After this breakdown, I became the creative I am right now.
The Corona Cry put things into perspective for me. I realized that I needed to add structure back into my life and develop a new normal. Since creating structure, my creativity, self love, stability, and happiness have come back into my life.
I am a big party girl! I work hard, but I play hard too. When my Ziggy Marley concert got postponed on March 13th, I did not think I would make it. However, a new world opened up online. Many DJs began to host virtual parties. From DJ D Nice to DJ Beverly Bond, we were rocking. You can either watch it on your phone or play it on your TV. Swizz Beatz and Timbaland introduced us to the Verzuz Battles. My favorite was Erykah Badu and Jill Scott, of course. However, we did get a good laugh from Teddy Riley with the sound errors.
I am a self-proclaimed gym rat. Pre-covid 19, I worked out every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning at 5:45 am. I would go in for an hour and burn all of my troubles away. I am 100% sure that the gym closure led to my depression. So, I had to create an alternative. I began to walk each morning at 7:45 am and did twenty minutes of floor exercises afterwards. Floor exercises ranged consisted of yoga, sit ups, planking, squats, and lunging. Exercising releases endorphins, which helps you feel less pain and develop happy feelings.
What do you want to achieve? I used this time to find my passion and gain new skills. I created this website (yes, I know it’s mediocre) and began writing books. I have written children books and self help books. Spending time with my children helped me explore art projects and outdoor time. We planted a garden. I didn’t realize how much I needed this time.
4. Speak to Your Loved Ones
The unknowns of this disease left me emotionally paralyzed. I had to process how to spend time with friends and family, but not visit them. Before the pandemic, I visited my mom once a week and had ladies night with my girls once a month. I frequently traveled to visit friends who lived out of town. We developed a few solutions. The House Party app lets you play games with friends. Zoom allowed me to have ladies’ night virtually, while sipping our wine. To see my parents, I drove over and eyed them from the driveway. I had to make sure they were ok. We would chat through a window…lol.
5. Travel the World
A month before the quarantine, I had just come back from Cartagena, Colombia. Since Covid-19, I had to cancel three trips: Caribana in Toronto, Carnival in Atlanta, and spring break in New Orleans. This, too, contributed to my Corona Cry. One day, my daughter came up with a brillian idea, virtual travel. We went on Youtube and virtually visited Amsterdam, Canada, Italy, and New York.
6. Create a Schedule
The first few weeks were rough because I could not find my balance. Each weekday, I would wake up at 5:30 am to go to the gym. Afterwards, return home to freshen up and get the kids ready for school. Then, we went to school/work for a full day. Returned home around 6 and cooked dinner. Baths and bed by 8:30 pm. Finally, quality time with hubby. I am very schedule based, so the down time messed me up. After a few weeks, I finally got a working routine: morning walk (7 am), online work (8am to 12pm), lunch, down time, dinner/ baths (7pm) and family time until bed. Having segmented times helped me cope.
Find the funny in anything. According to helpguide.org, “Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hope, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert. It also helps you release anger and forgive sooner” (Nov. 2019). I began to make more jokes with my family. We watched comedy specials and live stand-ups. I also learned to make teacher memes…lol
Life post-Corona will be different. In learning to cope with our current situation, we will also have to create a new normal, once things open back up. Try to incorporate things that bring you joy. Get rid of things that hold you back. Follow your dreams. We only have one life and you should live each day like it is your last.
How did you survive the quarantine? Leave your comments below and share this with a friend!
I grew up in Orangeburg, South Carolina and attended College of Charleston. While there, I earned a degree in education, and later a Master’s degree in education from Capella University. After graduation, I moved to Charlotte and taught in South Carolina for 6 years. While teaching , I earned my second degree in Administration from University of South Carolina. Currently, I am an assistant principal and author.
I began writing as an outlet. It provides relief and entertainment. I prefer children’s books, but I occasionally write academic pieces as I prepare for professional development presentations.
Why do this?
I am an educator and see the need for children to develop an imagination.
My children inspire me with new stories daily. I appreciate them for that.
I would love to be a part of your literary circle. Feel free to reach out to me for the following opportunities.