Living Single.

I’ve been a singleton for many years now, and have lived alone for many years, as well. So let’s chat about a few of the awesome and not so awesome stuff about living single, shall we? We’re limiting this to the actual living part of living single. Let’s start with the not so great things and then close out with the positives because we want to add a bit of sunshine to 2020 Part 2, or what the calendar refers to as 2021.

The Meh.

Credit: Giphy
  • The Zippers/Buttons: So do designers make clothes assuming that all folks will have someone buttoning and zipping up for them? Apparently. I’ve nearly broken bones in several places in my attempt to Cirque du Soleil my limbs to zip up or button (those tiny buttons made not for human fingers) my dress/blouse, etc. Goodness.
  • The Groceries: Hoisting a 20-pack of water into your home is fun. Said no one living alone with virtually little to no upper body strength. I’m sure one or many of my neighbors has recorded me attempt to open my front door with said pack in my arms.
  • The what was that?: This happens when the ice maker in my freezer starts whirring and I subsequently believe that someone is trying to break down my door. Random noises when one is living solo are never not nerve-racking.
  • The Abundance: of things. So many things. I recently cleared my coffee table of all the things I had heaped upon it for the past few months. Living alone–especially now during COVID and not receiving visitors–opens the door to just setting something (or things) somewhere and forgetting about it. Not the best if you want maintain a sense of order and no clutter.
  • The Moments: when you see something interesting/intriguing/amazing on TV or during a movie and exclaim, “did you see that?” And you realize that yes, yes you did. No one else did, Square Peg.

The Awesomeness.

Credit: Giphy
  • The Silence: Sometimes I breathe in the quiet of my home and I love hearing the hush. It’s like being in my own personal library, and you know how I feel about libraries.
  • The Loud: Conversely, I can turn the up the volume however high on various devices without incurring a noise complaint. That means plenty of loud Law and Order dun dun intros.
  • The Air: One thing my siblings repeatedly laugh about is my inability to exist in a room with just one temperature. I’m either freezing or I’m sweltering. Well, in my home, we shall have whatever extremes we like. (For the record, the AC comes on here and there during the day but is definitely on during the nighttime.)
  • The Singing: Your Square Peg wanted to be a singer before she discovered her love for writing. Did you know that? I love singing and have since I was a painfully shy ‘lil Square Peg who didn’t speak in public but came home and consumed my parents with alll the songs I memorized from the classroom. As I got older and we watched shows like Star Search (many of your music favorites were discovered on SS), my dream was to go on the show and sing anything by Whitney Houston. Anywho, living alone affords me the joy of belting tunes at the highest high of my voice.
  • The Laughter: Similar to above, I cackle in my house. Sometimes for no reason at all. I’m sure you do the same in your home, single or not, but there’s a certain joy I receive when I laugh with abandon.

Like I said, a few things. In the end, even the meh stuff aren’t complaints. With all the things happening around the world these days, I am grateful just to have a roof over my head. Seeing all the storms happening the Gulf and other places is just unreal. Praying for all my friends who live in those areas.

Tell me what you like about living alone in the comments, won’t you?

Onwards.

Life…So Far…

Hey, y’all. Been a while since I updated you, dear readers, about life and what’s going on with your Square Peg.

Image credit: Giphy

Autumn 2020. Lest we refer back to the year that shall remain nameless, we’ll start there. After months of quarantine living and having way too many conversations with myself, I decided after some prayer and planning to head back to the Somewheres, VA and spend time with the fam while working from there. Fortunately, my job allowed for that, since remote work can happen from anywhere and we weren’t headed back to the office anytime soon. So, from mid-November 2020 to just this past March, I was home. Back to my people, eating regularly and my Mama’s amazing cooking, not feeling hopelessly alone. It was awesome. It was also a trip back to 1995, because my mother all the way treated me like I was 16 years old all over again. That was interesting. There were many times where I wondered if I’d end up grounded like back in the day.

Snovid-21. That’s one of the many apropos nicknames that was assigned to the Bizarre Winter Storm of 2021, which occurred in early February of this year. And if you remember, Texas got hid pretty hard. Large losses of power, beyond chilly temperatures that even surpassed Alaska on some days, flooding. And it’s that final one, that flooding, that affected my apartment.

  • Since I was still in Virginia at the time, the flooding that occurred in my apartment happened without me there:
    • My leasing office responded to my request for someone to check on my place with a reply that they didn’t have any available maintenance workers to check on my place for me. (Which would take like, two seconds.)
    • When I returned home in early March, I was greeted with mildew, black mold, and other areas of damage in my downstairs kitchen, foyer, and living/dining area.
    • After a lot of back and forth, someone finally responded to my requests for assistance. (Which means it was a bear reaching anyone for help. Which means I was beyond frustrated.)
    • Long, long, long story short: all repairs they made were in vain; I was eventually relocated to another apartment because my place became uninhabitable.

So I’m in the new place now and it’s nice to finally be in a place where I can breathe. I couldn’t sit in the living room in the old place because of the mildew and mold; who would have thought the ability to sit on one’s couch and simply relax could feel amazing, even more than before? Grateful. But in case you’re wondering, no, I’ll be finding a new place to live after time on the lease here is up. Those bullets above hardly scratch the surface of the utter frustration that occurred during March-April. Like I cannot even. I utterly underestimated the power of a home being a haven, and when that haven was gone, it was intense and difficult, to say the absolute least. Imagine all of those in the state that got hit worse than me. Goodness.

So, that’s the tea on life for now. Creatively, I’m still writing and coming up with some Frowriter branding, too. Exciting. See the IG for more info.

Bon weekend, dear readers. Onwards and upwards on this life ting…

Confessions of an Overachiever.

  1. I was always the last chosen for teams in gym class. Always isn’t an exaggeration. It would 100% be between me and a kid somehow slower than me, which was usually baffling because, yeah, I was slow, unathletic, uncoordinated, terrified, all of it.
  2. When my high school counselor gave me my Senior year final GPA, I saw the 3.0 (this is hardly a humblebrag) and where I fell in the senior class percentile–not top, not bottom, but the middle–and felt the deep twinges of disappointment.
  3. I once met a guy who asked me, three times throughout a weekend, whether we’d met before. He would look at me quizzically each time and smile unsurely, as if we hadn’t engaged in animated conversation barely an hour before, or the day before, and ask, “hey, have we met?” Before you can excuse him, keep in mind that we were part of a tour group in NYC that was sharing every moment together. So, it’s not like I went home and saw him several days later. We were always together. Yeah.
Photo by Ivan Bertolazzi on Pexels.com

From my adolescence throughout my twenties, I felt my averageness, my unmemorableness (not a word, but feel free, all yours), in the pit of my belly. I hated it. I remember vowing to my mother that in college, I’d rise above that average 3.0. I’d get on the Dean’s List, I’d snag a 4.0 and prove that I was more than some average, forgettable girl who no one wanted on their team. It mostly worked. Save for a late-stage and woeful Math credit and some other non-humanities classes that pulled the numbers down (English majors will understand), I happily found myself seeing my goals through: Dean’s List time and time again, high class standing, etc. Without a doubt, the overachieving began and flourished during those four years.

Or did the seeds begin when, as an adolescent growing into a teenager, I didn’t hear the best things coming from some family members about me? I used to condemn myself a lot (you’ll note, if you’re new to TSP, that I had to do a lot of inner work to love and respect myself; that’s why my Square Peg nature and confidence is high; I proudly march to the beat of my own drum), believing that the words some in our family used to describe me (fat, lazy, etc.) were true. My mom mentioned recently that she saw a photo of me as a teenager and I looked so sad. I didn’t respond in detail and simply said, “could be.” (I rarely discussed my lack of self-esteem and self-worth with my parents, by the way. There was a big part of me that didn’t think they’d understand. Immigrant kids may get where I’m coming from. Discussing feelings just wasn’t a thing in my household back in the day. But my mom and I had a pretty revealing conversation about all of that years ago. Freeing and cathartic.) I clearly digress. The point is perhaps those toxic descriptions of my character were forming the overachiever that would come: the obsessive need to be good, perfect, and efficient at everything in order to prove them all wrong, the unflagging desire to seem valuable.

Overachieving didn’t end in my formative years, as I mentioned. As I began my professional life in corporate America in my early 20s, it bothered me when I didn’t understand something quickly at a new job, fearing that I would seem not smart, not capable. The fear of seeming average. Adding the fact that I was a young Black woman in corporate America and undoubtedly being judged made things exponentially stressful. Those little microaggressions made their mark, believe me. (“This Square Peg, we heard you graduated college! Wow! Did you go to a four-year school?”) I constantly pushed myself to have a reputation of efficiency and silently beat myself up when I fell short of my own impossibly high standards. And some exceedingly high standards were self-made, yes, and some were absolutely not. Either way, I was emotionally toast most of the time.

I’d love to say that presently being a grown woman who’s way more self-aware and happy with herself and who understands how adolescent trauma and insecurities can lead to traits like overachieving means I’m no longer an overachiever. That wouldn’t be accurate. I work on it constantly. (This new job brought it out like crazy.) I talk about it with a trusted friend, too. I pray about it. The high that comes from being known as dependable and efficient, especially in a professional space, is the same as the low that comes when you criticize yourself unfairly because of natural imperfections. I went through that this week and I was able to express myself to said dear friend who reminded me of a few things I hope to remind you of, if this is something you go through:

  • You did a great job and you do a great job.
  • No one is 100% amazing at everything.
  • See the areas you need to improve on and realistically find ways to make improvements, remembering that you may still fall short and that’s okay!
  • Is it really a necessary improvement or camouflaging as a normal thing that will happen and out of your control? Try to see the difference.
  • Speaking of differences, there’s a significant one between overachieving/perfectionism and simply being a hard worker. The lines can blur and it helps to understand this.
  • Read this.
Photo by Matheus Bertelli on Pexels.com

Oh, and therapy! 2021 may be the year when I hang out with a professional. Being self-aware doesn’t replace doing some good internal work with someone who’s licensed.

Be good to yourself, okay? I’m certainly trying to.

The 2020 Win.

Believe me, I hate to go back to that weird year, but I promised to discuss this awesome development in ’20 and never got around to it, so here we are.

Here are five awesome things about my promotion at work:

  1. Honestly, I’d been praying for and working towards being back in a field where I could apply both my academic and professional training for a while. My previous position, though welcomed because I’m always grateful to just be working, didn’t really allow for that. But this new position does.
  2. It’s really interesting work. Nope, I’m not sharing my new title because it’s the interwebs and work and interwebs stuff requires a level of privacy, IMO.
  3. It’s challenging. And while challenges can be challenging, I’m also very accepting of them in this regard.
  4. I’ve been able to work remotely since March of last year. A blessing during this panoramic! (Not a gaffe; I’ve become a fan of calling the pandemic everything that starts with a ‘P.’ Blame TikTok.)
  5. I really like the folks I’m working with.

It would have been nice to celebrate with friends and enjoy dinner and a night out on the town, but I did that for myself and enjoyed it in the safety of my living room. A win is a win is a win. Thankful and grateful.

Blogtober #31: Blogtobereflections.

The final day of our little Blogtober 2020 that could. Some thoughts:

1. I gained some new followers to This Square Peg during Blogtober. That’s incredibly awesome. Thank you for joining this ‘lil corner of the interwebs.

2. Blogging regularly is doable. Back in the day, I felt like I had to log onto my computer, come up with a lofty idea, etc. Now, I have my phone in hand and literally access this app and start typing. Sometimes with no idea in mind, sometimes just wanting to chat. At the end of the day, I love the authenticity of that, just chatting with you, dear reader. That happened a lot this month.

Chill blogging, no stress

3. Fall really is the best season and October is perfect for Blogtober. My mind electrifies during this time of year. I found myself looking forward to posting and blogging and meeting the challenge.

Thanks for your support, for reading, for commenting, for liking, for following.

Happy Autumn! 🍁🍁🍁🍁

Blogtober #16: How it started/How It’s Going.

Started on the left, Going on the right

This is the latest trend I’ve been seeing on social media, the how it started and how it’s going challenge. I don’t do the trend thing, by and large, but this one I like. Seeing your growth, seeing your changes. I’m all about that self-assessment life.

Your Square Peg was about 8 years old on the left. Newly arrived to the US, about to start school, grinning for her Dad’s camera. On the right, still here, missing Dad but hopeful for the future, still grinning. I’ve come a long way. Happy to be here.

Bon Friyay.

Quarantine Check-In.

Quarantine Life. It’s been a thing. Here’s a round-up.

apple devices books business coffee
Photo by Serpstat on Pexels.com

Professional Life. I’ve been working from home since mid-March. It was initially a huge adjustment for me; I’ve worked remotely before, many times, but in a space where it’s happening 8 hours a day, 7 days a week–there were a lot of tough moments. Structurally, I’m one of those folks that doesn’t mind being in an office. I learn a lot when it comes to nonverbal cues and in-person conversation in general, so I think I struggled with not being in an active people space when it came to the day-to-day. Doing everything from behind a screen–from working on projects to discussions with colleagues–wasn’t always easy. But with time, it’s gotten better. And boy, am I thankful to even have a job with everything that’s going on and an option to do it from home. So yes, continuing to gratefully take things one day at a time.

Goals: have a more thoughtful workspace. Right now, I’m at my dining table with my desktop and laptop. It’s not the most ergonomically sound or practical space, but it works. I’ve been perusing Pinterest, naturally, to make some changes. We shall see.

african american woman performing in darkness
Photo by Fillipe Gomes on Pexels.com

Personal Life. It’s been tough. Life pre-pandemic wasn’t easy for this singleton who longs for her Person and struggles with deep loneliness, so I’m sure you can imagine (or perhaps you can’t, and that’s okay; what words and sharing and hopefully empathy are for) that life during a pandemic and being on quarantine has been pretty hard for me. But there are always lessons. For one thing, I’ve learned–even more than before–that my peace of mind is priceless. I protect it fiercely. Which means the abundance of noise–social media, news stories, on and on–has become too loud for me, at times. So, I intentionally shut off and shut down. I need to. Another thing: videoconferencing is…interesting. Who would have thought that living in an age of so much connection would almost make all that connection so exhausting? Perhaps it’s because the power of choice isn’t there; pre-lockdown, we could choose however we wanted to connect. Now: it’s all on video and that’s it. Managing it. But I also say no a lot to invitations via video, all for the purpose of decompression. Overall, prayer has been key for me. Communicating my frustrations to a close, trusted, understanding friend or two really helps, as well. But I won’t sugarcoat it: the one day at a time sometimes has to be handling things one hour at a time.

Goals: I’ve been longing for a dog forever, y’all. Always put it on the back burner because, to me, it wouldn’t be fair to leave a dog home all day while I was at work. But now that I’ll be home for a while…seriously considering it and researching my readiness. I’ll keep you posted.

close up view of an old typewriter
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

Creative Life. I’ve been writing, actually. Working on my latest project, for one thing, and also managed to squeeze in a pandemic-inspired sci-fi short story that I’m pretty proud of. When all of this began, I didn’t even bother to wonder if a creative surge would come; after years and years of living this creative writing life, I recognize that, eventually, the ideas and desire to write will come. And as the pandemic days continued, they did. Ideas came. Stories came. Desire came. We’ll see how it goes.

Goals: finishing that project mentioned above. What’s it all about? Mum’s the word for now. Just know that I’m enjoying every bit of its creation. You’ll be the first to hear when it’s complete.

So, yes, that’s life for me so far. Hope you’re making it wherever you are.

quotes

In Review…

I can honestly say that 2019 was a tough one. I struggled a lot this year, and I can openly changingsay that it took a whiiiiile for me to get back to a sense of solid ground. And let’s be real: there will be ups and downs in life anyway. Hills and valleys. Light and dark. And although I wasn’t living in a dreamworld that life, my life, was all roses, this year presented a tunnel of darkness and deep emotions that seemed really hard to navigate. Here are some lessons I learned and am continuing to learn on this journey we call life:

  1. Speak. Even if it’s one person that holds your confidences, who helps you wipe your tears, who assures you that you’ll make it through that tunnel: say something. Let them know you’re barely holding on. I’ve been blessed with that person, and also others who intuitively hold me a bit tighter when we see each other. Those folks may not know the details of what I’m going through, but can sense that I need them. Even in an embrace.
  2. Exchange. My constant goal is to pay it forward. Be the person I needed when I was down. Be there for others as they were and are there for me.
  3. Write. Although I didn’t do a lot of fiction writing this year, I wrote a lot of my feelings down. I needed to work my way through them. Here’s to catharsis.
  4. Hope. It’s not the easiest thing to hold to the heart, hope. Especially when disappointment seems to reign and push you into deep negativity. My bestie and I were discussing this recently and she asked, with all the efforts I’m making to look ahead and not behind, whether I have any hope left. “A little,” I said. “Hold on to that,” she replied. I intend on doing just that.

A brief year-end review. I plan on doing another one as we drift closer to 2020. But I need to say the following: I’m so grateful to my awesome God, my wonderful family, and my dear friends who helped me to remember the light waiting at the end of this weird, endless tunnel I found myself traversing. If nothing else, with everything I witnessed this year, there was something incredible in there: the divine. 

How was your 2019 (so far)? I’d love to hear about it.

the hours.

virginiawoolfHonestly, sometimes the hardest part of my life is the inertia of the day-to-day. The routine. The same ole. When you add to all of that the desire to share my days with another person…everything is compounded. Don’t get me wrong; I’m pretty sure inertia sets in with another person in the next room, too. No rose-colored glasses here. But it’s still a feeling, it’s my feeling, and it’s not easy. But for the purposes of chasing down positivity: there are plenty of people who aren’t here. So opening my eyes to another day, however drowning in the same ole, is an enormous blessing.

I plan on also chasing down some of the things that brighten my days, things I haven’t done in a while because the emotional and physical energy was thoroughly absent. Museum afternoons. Exploring new cities and places. Getting back to me, one step, one day, at a time.