CANDID MOMENT #5

When I was a toddler, i had complications with my intestines. It’s hard to explain. The best way i could explain it is they were flipped.  That strange order created pains that NO TODDLER should ever have to experience. My parents took me to the hospital and of course there was surgery. Recently I found out from my brother that when i was born, I didn’t come home right away. I remained in the hospital for a little bit before my parents finally brought me home.  I wonder if that had anything to do with my intestines issue…probably. But back to my story…LITTLE TASH

The first time i noticed the scar on my belly from my surgery, i think I was 7 years old. I didn’t think much of it. After all, it was apart me. No big deal right?

Over the years, scar tissue grew due to the surgery and that caused bowel obstruction. NOT FUN!!  I’ve since had 4 more surgeries due to bowel obstruction. I’ve been cut open in the same spot and it seemed with each surgery my scar got longer and longer.  I avoided bathing suits, crop tops,  i hesitated being naked in front of my ex-husband then boyfriend at the time…i was embarrassed by this scar.  I hid that scar for as long as I could. Eventually, i wasn’t embarrassed or ashamed of it anymore and i wore what i wanted.

However in 2014, i had my 5th surgery. It was for a hysterectomy, but the doctors had to go back in the very next day and clear out more scar tissue from my previous bowel obstruction surgery. NOT FUN! This last time, I remained in the hospital for a month and a half and i recovered at home with the aid of a home health nurse.

The shame and embarrassment came back once i caught a glimpse of my wound. I cried so hard. My home health nurse consoled me and reminded me that my scar is a reminder that God brought me through another surgery and that HE apparently has something for me to do. It took a while to let what she said to me sink in, but she was right. But you know what? Although my nurse was right? I still carried the shame of my scar. I don’t even know if shame is what it was…it was ugly to me. Yeah…it felt ugly.

TODAY! I woke up and i don’t know what got into me, but as i was preparing to run errands this morning, I put on my jogging pants and my sports bra and i was about to grab a t-shirt and i looked in the mirror and said, “NO! NO T-SHIRT! JUST GO!”  My Instagram friend @imafreespirit was partly responsible for this surge of boldness. SHOUT OUT TO YOU, SIS!!

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I went to the grocery store and you know what? I wasn’t even focused on my bare belly. I just wanted to get my groceries. LOL! You know what else? Nobody else gave a shit either! LOLOL!!

A stock boy approached me and assisted me to find an item i was looking for. I struck up conversation with a lady who visited my hometown (Ft.Lauderdale, FL) for her first real vacation. We stood there in the middle of the store laughing and talking like two old friends catching up. Another stock boy saw me going down aisle 28 and said, “Hey! You have a beautiful smile.”  Then while i was reading Vanity Fair magazine in aisle 30 about Prince Harry and Megan Markle, a couple came up to me and asked, “Do you workout?” I said, “No, but i should.” We chatted for a while and it was a nice exchange. I may have a personal trainer soon.

Today, I turned my insecurity about my scar into a bold move which in turn showed me that i’ve been worrying about nothing. AND MY SCAR IS NOT UGLY! It’s a beautiful reminder that  God still has me here for a purpose. Even though my scar was on full display this morning, all people saw was the true beauty from inside of me that pretty much eclipsed my scar. LOL!  Now that’s what’s up! And that’s what mattered!

I hope i inspired someone today…just like @imafreespirit inspired me. Follow her on Instagram. She’s pretty DOPE!

I am Tash and I FINALLY embraced my scar today…my beautiful reminder.

 

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CANDID MOMENT #4

Growing up in our home, my Mom was my seamstress, cook, confidant, protector, disciplinarian, etc. Some where around the age of 21, I can’t put my finger exactly when, but i think it was around then that things changed. There was a shift. I didn’t confide in my mom as much especially when it came to certain topics. I stopped sharing because i just felt like she didn’t HEAR me and our conversations felt more like monologue cloaked in dictatorship instead of a dialogue.

At the time when I was married and going through a tough time with my husband, I tried to give Mom the benefit of the doubt and share with her what was happening…after she pleaded with me to share what was happening since she could visibly see something was wrong. I shared and somewhere in the conversation, I felt worse for opening up to her.

The final straw was the day I left the courthouse after signing my divorce papers. I was a complete wreck. I remember it like it was yesterday (it was 12 years ago). It was a gloomy day in July. I called my parents to tell them what happened. I ended up speaking to Mom and again…I felt worse. That was it. No more sharing. I made up in my mind that my mother will only know about the surface stuff about my life and nothing else. Not only does she not HEAR me…she didn’t SEE me. Over the last 12 years, I did not have the type of relationship with my mother like some of my friends had.

Since Daddy died, I think i told you guys i’ve been seeing Dr. Su (my therapist of 2 years). During the first few sessions, Dr. Su said, “You know…i notice that whenever you talk about your Dad, you glow up like a Christmas tree, but when you talk about your mom…your face and your entire demeanor is tense and somewhat angry. What is that about?”  After i talked with Dr. Su about a lot of the things that transpired over the years that I experienced and witnessed that I did not like, she said to me, “Okay. We’re going to work through those things together, but i need you to understand something. Your mother is grieving too. I get how much you loved your father, but you have to lighten up on your mom because she was married to him. You only saw one side, but she was married to him and her grief is probably heavier than yours. Lighten up on her.”  I rested my shoulders and took Dr. Su’s advice.

I began calling her every day to check up on her and let her know that she’s not alone even though she lives alone now. It has been two years and several months since Daddy died. Those phone calls have been out of duty with very little compassion. The conversations between Mom and I were surface (how was your day? did you eat? how’s work? did you go to church?) I promise… we would be on the phone no more than 15 minutes…TOPS!  I was fine with it, but wishing that i could have the same relationship with her like i had with Daddy. It’s hard because Daddy respected me as an adult and saw me as an adult even though I was his last child (i’m the baby of the family). My mom on the other hand, did not see me that way. It was expressed in the way she would address me and her treatment of me.  In her eyes i’m still 14 years old. I didn’t like that so i kept my distance in proximity and in phone calls.

Two weeks ago during one of our 15 minute conversations, she mentioned that she was longing to see me. She said she would be visiting my sister in Alabama for a month or so. She said, “So i’m going to see you..right?” I said, “I’ll see. My schedule has been crazy (no lie. it really has). I’ll see what my schedule looks like.”

It turns out that Labor Day weekend was the only time I could see her. So i went with a reluctant heart, but I went. I was reluctant because for as long as i could remember, when ever i visited mom…she would not hug me upon greeting me. I never understood that. I’m pretty charismatic and I’m serious and genuine about my hugs. So when people don’t hug me back for real…it bothers me…especially from people who matter to me.  I was also reluctant because if I spent more than two days around my mom…some falling out was bound to happen…and I’m really don’t here for drama.

However, I went..and it turned out to be a nice time. I surprised my mom and she was elated. She actually hugged me. It made me feel so good inside…it really did. I noticed that she also looked very little. I’m not that tall so for her to be short than me was strange. Later that evening, I went into my sister’s room where my mom usually rests and i couldn’t find her in that huge king sized bed. I had to walk up close to see her. Wow. She’s  really small…in size.

We had a bit of an emotional moment talking about Daddy. She told me that she sees him all the time. She said she doesn’t eat at the dinner table anymore because she sees him. So she eats her meals in her bedroom. She said she doesn’t go into his bathroom because she sees him. (My mom found my Dad slumped over in his bathroom the morning he died, you guys). I just listened to her and let her talk. I asked her if she’s thought about moving and she said no. She’s not going to move.  She said she focuses on the good times, but all the while i can see the sadness in her eyes.

She asked me when will i come home to visit and I said, “Mom? It’s not that I don’t want to see you. It’s just that I’m not ready to come home and NOT see Daddy on the porch or not run into him in the kitchen or in the bathroom. I’m just not ready (i teared up).”

She listened and didn’t want me to cry, but i expressed that it’s okay. I had to get it out. My Mom is a stronger person than me. I couldn’t continue to live in the place where i saw my husband die. I couldn’t.

I noticed during my visit, that my mom was making an effort to SEE and HEAR me. I could also tell it was frustrating because it seemed like she didn’t really know how. For example, while she was listening to my sister and I rattle on in conversation about a couple of the guys i’ve dated, career choices, hair products, etc. she would try to chime in every now and again, but then she’ll just stay quiet and observe. That’s interesting to me because I realize that I do the same thing when i’m with a circle of friends and i don’t know how to jump in conversation or i feel like i have nothing to contribute to the conversation…i stay quiet and just observe.

Oddly enough…this visit made me SEE and HEAR my mom. As much as she tells me over the phone that she’s fine…seeing her made me realize that her grief is heavy.  I felt compassion for her. So needless to say, my phone calls will now become compassionate instead being duty-driven. I love my mom and care about her well-being. I don’t want her to waste away. She’s a spit-fire underneath the sadness. Pray for my mom, guys. Pray for real. MOM AND ME

I am Tash and I have one parent left. I’m going to make the most of our time while we’re both still here on this earth. I think after the Labor Day weekend visit..it’s safe to say that my mom and I are finally SEEING and HEARING each other…at least…that’s what i think.

Candid Moment #3

They say we are our biggest and worst personal critic. I always felt like i took my personal criticisms to a whole nutha level ESPECIALLY if I’ve done something wrong and made a mistake that effected someone else. I would seclude myself from everyone and have the worst pity party. I would begin by eating poorly. Then i’d have the incident loop in my head over and over and over, I’d stay down for about 48 hours.

Over the past couple years I’ve been seeing a therapist. The work has been hard and laborious, but i’m starting to see where it’s paying off. I’ll get to that in a minute.

Today at work I had a situation come up that was my fault.  My manager forwarded and email concerning the situation and attached his note, “Let’s get together and discuss.” Upon reading that note, I immediately wanted to take a shit at my desk. I lost my appetite and mind you i was hungry as hell before i opened this email. HOWEVER, i proceeded to eat my lunch, relieve my bowels at the proper location, and then I marched myself into his office to address the incident.

My manager talked with me today and he wanted so badly to figure out why these simple mistakes keep happening. We were both frustrated because i just didn’t have a good enough explanation for him. He informed me that he had to write me up, which i understood.

I’ve been having TOO many memory lapses and just not being able to remain focused, which is soooooo not me when it comes to handling my tasks.

After my conversation with my manager regarding next steps, I went back to my desk and did the opposite of what I would typically do. I reached out to my sister circle and asked them to pray. I maintained my cheery positive attitude (which took a HUGE effort because in situations like this my attitude would be a downward spiral of self-bashing for like 48 hours).  I continued my work, checked in with my homegirl for a quick pep-talk and I ended my day in tact. It also helped  that my weekly standing appointment with my therapist was only a couple hours away.

I got home and decided to continue my good attitude by treating myself to some popcorn only to find a bug crawling threw the kernels. Instead of losing it and spiraling out of control trashing my entire nearly full canister of unpopped popcorn…I said, “EFF THAT! I’m gonna find this bug kill it and continue on.” That’s exactly what i did. It’s like i was being tested and kept passing. HA!

After my session with Dr. Su., I devised a game plan to see a neurospecialist because quite honestly you guys, it’s really bothering me the way i’ve been forgetting and doing things that don’t make sense..not just at work, but also in my personal life…too many to name right now…just trust me.  So I will make an appointment and find out what’s going on with my noggin aaaaaaand devise a plan to tighten up at work.

Here’s the thing though,  I chose NOT to go in the direction to tear myself down. I chose to stay positive and devised a plan to correct where i could. I’m so proud of myself. I’ve seen so much growth seen i’ve been in therapy.  Not just with this situation, but ALOT.  It’s hard work holding up a mirror to yourself and working through some things, but i’m really committed to being better version of myself. I still have so much work to do and i don’t have everything figured out, but I’ve come such a long way and i’m VERY proud of that. IMG_0186

Yes. We tend to be our own biggest critic, but we need to NEVER forget to be our own biggest fan. I am Tash and I turned my ‘L’ into a ‘W’ today. Therapy is paying off.

 

CANDID MOMENT #2

Back in 1995 – 1996, when I was dating my exhusband, we were long distance. I was in Florida. He was in Baltimore. For our entire courtship, we were long distance (I personally wouldn’t recommend that…just my opinion). 

We started discussing marriage towards the end of 1996 beginning of 1997. I was convinced that he would move to sunny South Florida and we would build our life there. Who would NOT want to live in sunny South Florida?? (ALL THAT HAS CHANGED…but I digress)

I was the girl who said, “I will never leave Florida. How will I survive without the comfort of my family and the beach? Nope. My husband will have to move here!” 

Well one night we had talk about moving. He moved to Columbus, OH and suggested that I move to Ohio. My heart sank, but after laying out the pros and cons, I reluctantly agreed and moved to Columbus, OH after we said “I do”.  

We packed up my Red Toyota Tercel and drove from Fort Lauderdale, FL to Columbus, OH. We left the day after our wedding. My heart was still in my shoes. I was so sad. 

We lived in an apartment and every place we lived as a married couple in Columbus including our first house, I never made that place a home. Never. Even after we divorced in 2005…I’ve bought my own house, lived in apartments, but I never made that place a home. 

You know how when you walk into someone’s home and you’ll see photos of family, momentos, all the little things that say a family lives there and it feels like a home? That’s what I mean. 

I never made each house or apartment a home because at the time I felt if I did that, it would mean that I’ve planted my feet in Ohio and I’d never move back to Florida. 

I’ve been divorced for 12 years now, and although I’ve lived on my own in various locations, I noticed that I subconsciously do the same thing. My places of abode don’t feel like home to me because i haven’t made it so. Weird right? No picture on walls. Nothing about the places where I lived looked like Tasha lived there. I mean it looked like somebody lived there…just not Me. 

Lately I’ve been stressed and just trying to make sense of this thing called life in my 40s. I’m a firm believer in “self-care” and I do what I can to make sure I implement “self-care”, I’m missing something though.  

I was browsing a young lady’s  Instagram page and notice that EVERYTIME I see the inside of her house it always looks like a home. Her home. When you come home from work and you feel like you’ve been beat up by the world, your house or apartment should be your home…your sanctuary. It should resemble the things that make you smile, feel at ease and at peace, the things that reflect you. This young lady’s home looks like that. 

I told her how I felt and shared with her a little bit of what I shared here with you guys and this is what she said to me,

” I, for one, have always made anywhere I lay my head my home, whether renting it or owning it. It’s your home to enjoy until the next home venture…make it your sanctuary😘”

I told her I will do just that. Plus, Atlanta is home for me right now so my place needs to look like it. I’ve got some work to do. 

I think making your place your home/sanctuary contributes to self-care. You can bring in items and things that make it hard for you to leave in the morning or excited to approach after work. Where I lay my head should reflect me and make me feel right at home. What do you think? 

My fever for moving back to Florida has been cured and I’m glad about it! 

I am Tash and I am making my apartment my sanctuary until the next home venture. Hopefully it’ll be a loft next! 

Q3. What are you reading right now? 

I’ve picked up some reading material over the last few months because I wanted to decrease my tv watching…well…it’s by default because I don’t have cable. Hey! This is a judgment-free zone. 

Anyhoo…so far I’ve read “I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual” by Luvvie Ajayi, “Headhunter” by Pablo Khan, and now I’m reading “Conduit: A Collection of Poems and Short Stories” by Jon Goode. Check them all out!! 

Recently, I caught up with the BackPackinBohemian and here’s what she’s reading …

I found a few books by one of my favorite authors, Elian Hilderbrand. She writes some really cute Summer beach read novels.”

Soooooo, tell us what you’re reading! 

Black Men, We Need To Do Better For Black Women!

A must read…

BROTHA WOLF

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Before I begin, I want to make something loud and clear. This rant was not written for the satisfaction and ego boast of the white male ego, nor is it to absolve all the things I’ve blogged about concerning racism. Hell yes, racism is a major issue, but it’s NOT the only issue. And lastly, this is not a distraction from what some of you deem are “real issues” that hark back to racism. Once again, racism is still a problem. I wholeheartedly agree. But so is misogyny, or in our case, misogynoir, and we need to stop being punk-ass cowards and confront this issue inflicted against black women partly by black men.

With that said, let me say something simple and yet powerfully true. Black men can not be pro-black if they are not pro-black women. You can’t fight for black people if you leave black women out or…

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Q.2 What would be your ultimate Girls Trip?

Tonight…i promise you…EVERY. SINGLE. WOMAN. came out to see GirlsTrip tonight in theatres. I’m convinced that the Malcolm Lee and Will Packer film packed  theaters all over the country tonight. It was a GRRREAAAT film. HILARIOUS!! GO SEE IT!!

In honor of what was a complete laugh fest tonight,  I decided to ask two lovely young ladies this week’s question. Here’s what Shanikwha and Apazra had to say…

IMG_0482-2Apazra (on the ritght) “My ultimate Girls Trip would be Europe! We are at an age where we are grown. We have established our families. It’s time to travel. WE need to get out there and show our Black Girl Magic!”

Shanikwha: “I think the ultimate Girls Trip for us would be to Napa. That way I can drink again…once Apazra is done nursing her baby. We’re gonna have an amazing trip spending some time by the Bay. Do some girls stuff and just be care free! When are we going???!!!! (joyous laughter between these two)

I had video of their answers ,but WordPress wouldn’t allow me to upload without an upgrade. I’m on a tight budget right now guys. Sorry. But you can find their video response on my Instagram…@i.am.tash

As for me? My ultimate Girls Trip would be to Italy. Sipping wine from vineyards with my friends, soak up the culture, embrace the staring eyes of Italian men, run around the city like care free school girls. Hmmm… but after seeing Girls Trip tonight…New Orleans may be on that list as soon as next year for Essence Music Festival. LOL!!

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Q.1 What is your mission?

Q&A a Day is back! Only difference is it’s a Q&A a Week! First up! Malia!

(Photo Credit: Shamica West)

“My mission is to be braver. I have an issue with fear. Everything is very scary for me. It seems big and out of my reach. So I want to understand how I can see challenges or something that I am excited about and I want to overcome them as opposed to thinking of all the ways they could fall apart. 

Also my mission, when it comes to what i want to do, is to explore the artist in me even more and learn as much as I possibly can…read as much as I possibly can… so i can become more aware of who I am as an actress, as a singer, ALL of that stuff! The goal is to know what my lane is and be the BEST at what i’m doing.”

Something tells me we WILL see Malia on stage or screen REAL soon. 

So reader!!! Tell me…what is your mission?

CANDID MOMENT #1

FIRST OF ALL! I CAN’T BELIEVE THE LAST POST WAS IN DECEMBER 2016!!! UGH! WHY AM I PAYING FOR THIS PAGE AGAIN???? SMDH

No worries. I’ll be back at it consistently again. Not gonna say ‘I promise’ because we already see how that works around here. ((hard eye roll))

My social media handle, I.AM.TASH., is used on this website, my YouTube channel, Instagram and Twitter. Used to be on Facebook too, but I got off of there.

I post about EVERYTHING and EVERYONE else except, about me. You may see pics of me here and there and you may read a tweet or two from me, but do people really know who i am by those things?

Here’s what it is. I’m working on myself and in the midst of all that, i’m learning more things about myself…some things great…some not so great. It’s hard peeling back all those layers and uncovering the ugly stuff. I’m trying so hard to be the best version of myself. With the help of my therapist, it’s a lot of work.

I don’t like revealing those things to the masses. I don’t. However, after spending time with a friend at a coffee shop, we exchanged a couple of not so great experiences and had A-HA moments and encouraged each other in the process.

I have to keep reminding myself that i’m not alone in this journey. Somebody could be going through the same thing and can learn from, be inspired from, or be encouraged from my experience. OR! Depending on who reads this and responds…you might be all those things to me as well.

OKAY!  Here we gooooo…I am the youngest of many children. You know how parents these days allow their children to voice their opinion or express what they’re thinking? Yeah…that wasn’t the set up in my household. If there was an issue…you rarely got a chance to explain your side. When there was clearly an elephant in the room, nobody addressed it. We didn’t sit down as a family and discuss what the issue was and then come to a resolve or solution to the problem. Elephants would continue to roam around in our home.

So for years of ignoring elephants…all it created was built up resentment, cliques, people not talking to each other…FOR YEARS. To this very day, there is no sense of unity in my family. Nope.

I’ve successfully learned to shove stuff under the rug, not address anything that bothers me, close people out, and move through life like nothing ever happened. Just so you know, i’m sitting on a rug with a MOUNTAIN of stuff. I recognize it and i don’t like it. I can’t continue this way and i’m doing my best NOT to continue this cycle. It’s not easy though.

Yesterday a friend contact me about hanging out later that evening. We’ve been communicating back and forth for weeks now, but we haven’t had a chance to link up and do something fun in the city because…life. He reached out and asked what i was doing and i told him my itinerary for the day. He said maybe we could link up later that evening. I got irritated because i figured if he wanted to link up later that evening, he would have a plan or an idea of what he’d like to do, but he didn’t have a plan.

When i responded to him, i came off irritated and he picked up on it immediately aaaaaaaand he called me out on it. When he called me out on it, at first i was going to do what i know how to do which is sweep it under my rug that i’m already sitting on and keep it moving. This time i said to myself…NO. TELL HIM. So i told him I was irritated and why.

We were able to dissect the issue, listen to each other, it took a little back and forth (which i don’t like by the way) and we figured it out. By the end of the conversation, we were laughing again. We didn’t get a chance to link up last night, but their was a conflict and there was a resolve.

I’m trying y’all. I’m trying. Speaking up has always been hard for me. Always. Telling people how I feel and why i feel a certain way has always been hard for me because it was something that I wasn’t encouraged to do in my family when i was growing up. The adults in my family said whatever the hell they wanted to say with zero apologies and you would receive it…like it or not. But me? Nah.

How do you undo what has been engrained in you for 40 something years? One layer at a time…that’s how. ((sigh)) I.Am.Tash…and i have a hard time speaking up, but i’m working on it.

Thank you, 2016 and Goodbye!

As i’m sitting on my living room sofa, grateful for the year that i’ve had, I’m thinking about so much. I’m thankful to the Most High God for EVERYTHING…including the not-so-great moments, which really weren’t that bad actually.

For me personally, 2016 was good. I got a chance to work on a few productions, which allowed me to meet some really cool people. I had a part time job that kept me afloat and allowed for free time to be apart of those productions. Imagine the look on my face when one of my friends went to a movie premiere and texted me a screenshot of my name in the credits!img_8622

I also stepped out of my comfort zone and served the community, which is what I wanted to do. I became an active member of my church family and even though we are a very small group…MAN…we made and continue to make great strides and impact in our community. If you are ever in the Atlanta area, come check out Building Communities First…formerly known as Buckhead Community Fellowship.

 

I also worked for a casting and production company called WSA Casting…that’s Winsome Sinclair and Associates. Winsome Sinclair is one of the most sought after Casting Directors on the East coast. Google her or check her IMDb. She’s the real deal. I wore so many hats working there and had a blast doing it. One of the things i mostly enjoyed was being the Showrunner for their weekly inter web show called “Actors Scope”. I even designed the Actors Scope logo. I am very proud of that.

I also revamped my YouTube channel, “I.Am.Tash” by highlighting black owned businesses. My YouTube channel has been on a snooze because I got a full time job at CBS. So having the time and energy to incorporate that creative element has been a little  difficult, but I will start it up again. Bare with me.

At the end of 2015, I attended a vision board party. To my surprise…nearly EVERYTHING on my vision board came to fruition. So I decided to host my own 2017 vision board party to cap off 2016. Me and a couple friends got together to map the greatness that will be 2017 for us. We had a blast.

No one can predict the future, but I do know what I want 2017 to look like for me…and that’s more adventures, new discoveries,  and lessons to shape me into a better version of myself . Here’s to a magnificent 2017. Happy New Year, everyone!dsc00093