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…

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.

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.

Unrelenting Excitement. (And Other Things.)

I think that best describes how I felt when I heard that my favorite royal Ginger, Prince Harry, had become engaged to his sweetheart, actress Meghan Markle. I won’t even link to any articles about this news; if it’s the first time you’re hearing about this engagement, we just…we have nothing to say to each other. But I will at least share my favorite photo of the couple during the engagement announcement.

harrymegs

Fresh-faced, happy, excited. Love it, love it, love it.

Needless to say, I will be throwing a royal wedding watch party for my friends and I to enjoy and squeal and point and swoon over. Because we’re 12 and we don’t care. Very few things are happening right now in the world that cause any kind of excitement and joy, so this one is it. 2018 royal wedding, here we come.

What else do we need to talk about? Are you wondering where in the world I’ve been?

I’ve been here. Well, not per se. But “here” as in around and attempting to  thrive and survive here in the Lone Star state. I’ll do a quick rundown of life so far in the land of Square Peg:

  1. About a month ago, I moved into my brand new apartment. Interestingly enough, with good planning, moving doesn’t have to feel like spikes being introduced to your flesh. Imagine that. (Thanks a lot to my sissy, who is far more organized when it comes to that kind of thing and supplied advice and links to moving articles for my reading pleasure.) The process went well. And I love my new apartment. It’s closer to town and to my friends and my place of worship: good, great, and excellent.
  2. I’ve been officially added as a paid contributor for The Maria Antoinette. Getting paid to do something I love, my dear reader. It’s surreal. Not only that, I’ve been invited to write submissions that deal with a topic I’m very passionate about: empowering women. My pieces will always deal with how a woman can look in a mirror and see her roccrown, and the journey to getting there if she doesn’t. Utterly grateful and happy.
  3. Work is good.
  4. I still love Idris.
  5. The End.

Honorable mention: I’m still working on my other writing projects. My third collection of fiction. A book of essays. Another book of essays. An actual novel. When will I accomplish all these things, you wonder? I’m wondering the same thing. Apparently I must enjoy juggling. But hopefully 2018 will lead checking those projects off my list.

C’est tout, folks. (That’s all.) Tell me what you’ve been up to.

Ma Maison et Mon Travail.

Went really French on you, didn’t I? But you’re used to that. Translated, it means my house and my job. Because, dear readers, after a month in my new surroundings, I’m happy to announce that I was recently hired at a new job and recently moved into my brand new apartment. We will pause for celebration.

Needless to say, I was anxious about these two things. Initially, I was staying with a kind, hospitable friend who allowed me to rent a room in her home while I figured out where I was going and what I was doing. My plan wasn’t to stay with her for eternity, so there was that particular anxiety. The kindness of others is always welcomed, but I also didn’t intend on overstaying my welcome. Secondly, since Idris hasn’t yet arrived with our marriage license and the key to our villa, your Square Peg needed a job.

The good things: a recruiting firm that I contacted early in the year, once I firmly decided on moving, was still quite open to helping me. Also: my car afforded me the chance, on days I wasn’t interviewing, to drive around and visit apartment complexes in the area. So after a few weeks of interviews and conversations with potential employers, and visiting an inordinate amount of complexes, and lots and lots of prayer…

Enter ma maison and mon travail. Again, let us celebrate.

Ma maison. I live in a nice, simple 1 bedroom place in a Dallas suburb. (I would be more specific, but…nope.) It’s quiet, save for a Chihuahua that occasionally has something to say, but he’s largely silent. As far as furniture, I have a bed and a very comfortable armchair. So you can imagine all the Pinterest decor boards currently overflowing with all the ideas I have for the remainders of furnishings and decorating to come. I’m a simple Square Peg: I basically want ma maison to look like Paris on a weekday. Lovely, uncomplicated, filled with croissants. Updates and photos will come.

Ma travail. It’s my third day at this new environment (a direct hire via that recruiting firm, yay), so everything is still minty and fresh and new. Nevertheless, my colleagues have been great so far and I’m acclimating well. Of course, the same Norse gods that secretly lived in my cubicle at the old OK Corral and blew icicles in the air apparently followed me here (search under “cold” to learn about my inability to stay warm; according to my mother, this is why), which resulted in purchasing a space heater and walking these halls draped in my usual scarf. But c’est la vie. I’m hopeful for this new professional path.

So here we are. Living on my own once again (it’s been twelve years since I had my very own place) and starting fresh with new employment. Onwards and upwards…

Oh, you want to celebrate again? Let’s.

306.

No, not the number of tears I’ve cried. I’m actually doing much better here in the Lone Star State! We’ll get to the specifics in tomorrow’s post, but for now, I’d like to acknowledge that number. 306 is the number of people currently following the adventures and antics of This Square Peg! It was official yesterday. That means that 306 of you stumbled on you my little nook in the Interwebs and decided that my posts about…

  • Italian villas with Idris
  • Lupita love
  • my beloved fro
  • fictioning and poetry
  • random memories
  • Pinterest rabbit holes
  • my travelista tales
  • life as a brown, African woman who found herself, accepted her uniqueness, and decorated her lips in red
  • and everything in between

…were worth clicking on the Follow button.

And I thank you.

A thousand bowls of Jollof rice at your collective feet thank you.

Abundant e-kisses thank you.

When I returned to the blogging world with This Square Peg, it was my intent to speak on the wonders of embracing all the different nuances that make me who I am. Numbers, followers, readers–these would all be great, but I just wanted to tell my story via this blog. But what would be a blog without numbers, followers, readers? Still a blog, but certainly icing on this particular cake.  Thank you, dear readers, faithful commenters (you know who you are), and family members/friends who give This Square Peg so much love.

Gratitude Friday: The Friend Zone

A gratitude Friday has been long overdue, no?

Referring to the title above, it’s not the friend zone that we all know and shudder over. My friend zone is filled with good, delightful, loving, supportive and wonderful friends, and I’m so grateful for each and every one of them. Early in life, I understood the power of friendship. My childhood best friend, Charlotte, was pretty much everything to me. (So everything that if you see the name Charlotte in my fiction time and time again, it’s no mistake.) Even at that young age, the idea of having someone so close to me and so beloved, other than my siblings, was understood.AustenFriends

What I’m exceedingly grateful for when it comes to friends:

  1. For painful truths and lessons learned when a friendship reveals itself to be not as cohesive as I believed. It’s important to me to know the true fabric of my relationships. It stinks, but it’s just important to know.
  2. For times when I meet people and we are immediately drawn to each other, something that happened recently. It caught me off sweetly off guard. I look forward to the journey.
  3. For best friends. I mean, there’s nothing more to say. All right, there is: a best friend just kind of makes everything amazing to me. I don’t know how or why. I spent time with my bestie last week and loved/appreciated every minute of it.
  4. For seeing how friendships were so important to my parents. As an adolescent, I watched my parents open their home to people they had known and loved for years. I don’t doubt that this had a lasting impression on me.
  5. For 4AM. A bunch of us talking, laughing, contemplating, shedding a few tears, and encouraging one another till the wee hours of the morning. Never has wrecking my sleep cycle felt so awesome.

Happy Gratitude Friday.

What are you grateful for? Other than it being Friday (thank goodness)?

 

Gratitude Friday: A Thank You.

On this much belated Gratitude Friday, I was inspired by the words of actress Gabourey Sidibe during the Gloria Awards (honoring Gloria Steinem), as tweeted by the awesome Awesomely Luvvie:

“I’m grateful to…my 5th grade class because if they hadn’t made me cry, I wouldn’t be able to cry on cue now.”

I was moved by that profound and powerful statement for various reasons. Mostly, however, what stood out for me was that she was able to look back at that moment in her adolescence and communicate both the pain of the past and the fact that it hadn’t wrecked her. And this made her grateful. But I wasn’t just moved by her words. Those words also incited a memory for me. An indelible, powerful memory of what my 6th, not 5th, grade class gave me one afternoon.

We were in the chorus room, sitting cross-legged on that nubby brown carpet as we waited for our chorus teacher to come back. The next thing I knew, I heard the following chant: “Fish lips, fish lips, look at those fish lips.” I looked up, wondering who the voice belonged to and what in the world they were talking about. There, laughing, was the boy who had bullied me since I joined this new school. And he was pointing at me. The other kids soon followed suit, repeating the sing-songy chant and pointing and laughing. Those who weren’t part of it simply looked away uncomfortably. I remember feeling confusion (I look like a fish?), pain, embarrassment, even laughing a little to lessen the blow. That didn’t work though–the chanting and laughter continued until our teacher returned to the classroom.

It’s amazing, the blueprints that are created in seconds, in tiny moments. That moment in time created quite a few. For one thing, an interesting habit reared its head as I got older: covering my mouth when I laughed. Later, it became disdain when I looked at myself, my lips, in the mirror. Later still, it transformed into wondering if people were looking at them when I spoke. It wasn’t until I reached 30 (we will discuss the wonder of 30 in another post) that I looked in the mirror one day and was fully, exhale-y, and absolutely satisfied with these lips, this face, and everything in between.

daily-gratitude

 

 

 

 

 

So, like Gabby, I’m grateful to my 6th grade class because:

  • I wouldn’t appreciate these lips that look like my grandmother’s and my father’s if you hadn’t put them on blast.
  • I wouldn’t decorate them in the rubiest of Ruby Woo lipstick by MAC if I hadn’t come to appreciate the fullness of the shape you felt the need to highlight.
  • I wouldn’t be as grateful for this soul-searching journey that I was forced to go on if you hadn’t forced me to take that ride in the first place on that painful afternoon.
  • I don’t blame my old bully or those other kids for what happened anymore. I don’t blame the ones who looked away in discomfort. From what I could tell through those words and other statements she made, Gabourey Sidibe has reached the peak of her self-acceptance journey. And she’s not the only one.