One of my favorite books growing up was called Alexander and the Terrible No Good Very Bad Day. Based off the title, you could probably get a gist of what this book was about. I’ve felt like Alexander these past months with one misfortune after another.
Let’s list them, shall we?
- I didn’t get the house of my current dreams
- Had a very rushed, unprepared and EXPENSIVE move from DC to Baltimore
- Baltimore is VERY new to me. Only had one friend when moving here.
- Problematic roommates already!
- 3 months of job searching with no luck
- Practically scraping the little savings I have left
- Business is moving VERY SLOW
Needing to feel a sense of security and grounding, I went to my family home for the holidays. Under 24 hours of my arrival, my mother got into a serious car accident on her way to work. Her car was completely totaled but she survived. The physical repercussions came 5 days later and she was admitted to the hospital. Doctors didn’t have a clue what was going on for a few days. Later we found out that my mother’s heart and her gall bladder was heavily bruised.
This was my mother, the matriarch of my family. I already lost my father, my uncle and my grandmother in a span of 2 years. I just wasn’t ready to lose her.
Everything that was going on in my life became irrelevant to me. My only mission was to help my mother heal, get the house in order, and keep the peace. I thought I would be a wreck. It was insane in the house filled with sadness, anger, and confusion. I thought I wouldn’t be able to handle my emotions and the stress that came along with taking care of my mom. But I surprised myself and did just fine.
Here are the lessons I learned during this chaotic time.
Take Care of Yourself Before Anyone Else
Whew! When I say all those therapy sessions, release rituals, and self care practices worked, BELIEVE ME! I’m grateful for putting in the work because I got rid of the family issues and the mental blockages that affected me before.
I took care of myself every morning by journaling, meditation, and prayer before helping my family. I carried frankincense essential oil to ground me before entering a space with chaotic energy. Those small practices resulted in me being happy, energized and ready to serve.
Don’t Take Things Seriously
One of the biggest help was not taking things seriously, a lesson I learned from the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. At times of stress (or not because sometimes families just irk you regardless), words and actions can make me feel a type of way. The old me would’ve let it fester in the center of my mind and the pit of my stomach forever. The new me either stood up for myself or went to my room and talked to God about it.
Black people tend to hold emotions during times of pain. Countless times, I was taught it was a sign of weakness. But emotions need to flow through you like water. Holding in your emotions creates a fuzzy mind, an ill body, and an unsettled spirit. If that’s not weakness, I don’t know what is.
We should allow ourselves to emote. Our emotions are valid because we are human. My sisters and I could’ve lost our mother. My stepfather could’ve lost the love of his life. My niece, her grandmother. And my mother had the scariest thing happen to her. We should be one sobbing, angry ass family! Emoting unapologetically was a huge key to putting myself in the right mind to help my family cope at this time.
Now, things in my family home are looking up. My mother is recovering very nicely and focusing on her masters. I am back in Baltimore still job searching, scraping the bottom of my savings and dealing with problematic roommates. But it doesn’t feel like a big deal this time around. I guess I’m getting better at being calm in the midst of chaos.