Too Thrifty Chicks

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Breaking the Silence: Another Too Thrifty Update

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Saying goodbye to Reese and DCA.

Saying goodbye to Reese and DCA.

It is 2 a.m. and I can’t sleep. I’ve been thinking about what to say and this post just wouldn’t leave me alone so here goes nothing.

::deep breath::

This post  has been a long time coming because, frankly, I haven’t known where to start.

I’ll begin with honesty.

As you all know, Reese’s journey has taken her to Memphis where we are expecting her to do great and wonderful things like finish her dissertation, do more research and shape young and old minds. What you need to know about that is Team Too Thrifty is still on this journey together, even if we’re thousands of miles apart.

But many of you have rightly asked, “What about Ricks?”

For a long time, I didn’t know how to answer that question. I didn’t know what to say.

Life was happening, and happening in a painful way.

Ever the wise one Reese said, “I don’t believe the Universe would provide for two and not for three.” I’ll explain what she meant a little later in the post.

Bear with me for a second, please. We will get back to fashion and fun one of these days. I just need to get this one out.

The Real

This last year — the last few years really — have been incredibly hard for me. I mean grueling, faith-shaking hard.

  • There have been a lot of changes in the last three or four years
    I uprooted my life in Alabama for a job in the big city. A job where I started off great and then burned out
  • My best friend of nearly 20 years died of an asthma attack. Her death rocked my world to say the least and it is still sometimes to tender to touch with my thoughts
  • To top all that off, my mother — my rock, my biggest fan, my biggest challenger — was diagnosed with early onset dementia of the Alzheimer’s type

Yeah. If this where a blues song, and I had a dog, somewhere in here it probably would have died.

Don’t get me wrong. There were good moments. Great, life-shaping moments.

  • Making great new friends and getting to know the DMV, which I learned to love and thought I would call home
  • Reconnecting with old friends
  • Having family reach out to help with mama. So I could work, knowing she was somewhere safe
  • Meeting Reese and birthing this blog

I would even count the day I decided to quit my job as one of those very, very positive moments.

But then my grand plan for an independent career, wasn’t so grand. Freelance is hard work. Period. And being the employer, the HR department, the complaint department, the finance department and the employee, was not what I had in mind. Hell, I don’t know what I had in mind, but that sure wasn’t it.

And I began to slide.

If it hadn’t been for Reese….

Well, I don’t like to think about what might have happened if it had not been for Reese. She was my anchor, and I will always be grateful for her love and support. For her prayers.

So.

Grateful.

Last year, I probably would have benefited from some good mental health services. I was depressed and I didn’t know how to get out. Life was throwing a lot at me, and I didn’t want to do anything but let it pummel me. I didn’t want to fight back. I was tired of fighting. I was tired of trying to make it all work.

I didn’t want to die. I simply wanted to walk away — to disappear. I wanted to abandon my life as I knew it, and all the people associated with it, because it felt so damn hard.

And the one thing that had given me — us — such buoyancy was this blog. But I couldn’t bring myself to write about any of it. I couldn’t do it. I didn’t think you all would understand.

So I kept silent. Many times on the verge of breaking down.

When spring comes….

As winter started to give way to spring, my depression started to break. My outlook shifted. I didn’t want to disappear. I wanted to be intensely present for everything: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Life had been trying to get me to wake up. But I hadn’t been paying attention. It was time to stop sleep-walking and be engaged. Here.

Freelancing was still tough. I decided that it was time to go back to full-time employment. I applied for a lot of jobs. Instead of the sting of rejection — though there was some of that — it was the silence that was so stunning.

If you didn’t know, cold-submitting a resume is a pretty unpleasant experience — one that I’ve been fortunate enough to avoid for much of my journalism career. It is an employer’s market and people don’t even bother to send you a, “Thanks, but no thanks” e-mail. Trying to get into the mind of a potential employer is a feat of mental gymnastics. I like to think I got really good at revising my resume at the end.

(Yes, there is an end. Stay with me.)

I applied for a fellowship that I really wanted. I was even among the final candidates. But I didn’t get it.

I was crushed. I thought I might slide again, headlong back into depression. Reese thought I might slide too. I didn’t.

I cried. But I didn’t slide.

I put my focus on helping Reese move to Memphis and trying not to panic. I saw another job that I really wanted. A job that so many thought I might have in the bag after my interview. But the position was ultimately eliminated because of restructuring. Strike two.

And then a funny thing happened. The editor at the fellowship I had applied for passed my name along to a reporter who was in the process of leaving a news organization in New Haven, Connecticut.  I talked to the editor in New Haven by phone. He invited me up for an interview. And the rest is history.

Not really. I don’t mean to minimize. It really is amazing how so many things came together from that phone interview to the moment that I am writing this post. But that is another post for another day.

But Reese was right about the Universe. The Universe didn’t leave me out of whatever pact that we, the women of 5509, had collectively signed in our prayers and our journals.

Reese, of course, landed in Memphis, but our roommate Tasha, who you will get to meet soon, landed a job in Winston Salem, N.C.

And me? I’m so glad you asked.

Today, is my first day as a reporter for the New Haven Independent, an all digital, hyper-local, five-days-a-week news site. There are so many life lessons in my experience, some that have not even been revealed yet. As I unpack it, I will share. But today I just want to be present with this moment.  Today, I am excited and present with that excitement.

– Ricks

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Author: M. Ricks

One half of the blogging duo known as the Too Thrifty Chicks.

23 thoughts on “Breaking the Silence: Another Too Thrifty Update

  1. This makes my heart happy to read!

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  2. Wearing one’s struggle is a feat we all may struggle with. You wore it well. But more important you stayed the course, didn’t run or succumb. Life can literally break our hearts and it’s our loved ones who can hopefully help us to slide the pieces together to become whole again. Peace and blessings!

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  3. What a great blog post. So happy for all of your growth, life lessons and new journey. The rest is in fact history in the making for you. Thank you for sharing your journey Ricks!

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  4. Ladies, you make my heart happy. Reese has long been one of my favorite people on the planet, so, if you are her friend you are my friend. I enjoyed reading about the adventures of your life journeys. I think, I was most pleased with the authenticity of what you shared. We need to know that although our journeys are not always easy, we are not alone and that there will always be light at some point. You may see it at the end of a seemly dark tunnel, or it may be in middle of the darkness as gleamers of hope. Or, in your case at the beginning of a wonderful new adventure. The light, the love of God, will forever be there when we open ourselves to receive it. Being a woman is not easy, but we are getting better and better. I have been married for 42 (soon 43) years. I love my spouse dearly! However, it is my female friends who help to keep me sane. Our sisters need to hear from you two. Thank you for sharing. God bless you and keep you.

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    • Mama Handy, thank you for this comment. I think what we hope to do is share a whole spectrum of experience. We are two quirky, intelligent, beautiful brown women who have experienced a lot together and separately. I think we hope that our experiences touch others in a myriad of ways.

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  5. Congrats on your new job and the progress that you have made along your journey. Thanks for sharing…it really touched me…I can relate, seriously!!!

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  6. Thanks for sharing! Congrats on your new job. There’s power revealing your truth. Peace and Love!!

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  7. Congrats! What an amazing story! I’m so proud of you and I wish you all the best!

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  8. This is a wonderful, enlightening, uplifting post. Congratulations and continued blessings. May they flow abundantly. Keep writing, keep sharing, keep believing….then keep receiving.

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  9. I don’t know that I am a good writer BUT I do know how to speak from my heart. It is sometimes a hard and true place I try to live in. My yoga community has offered me much love and helped me understand how to speak the truth fast! Ya’ll are awesome and brave to put this “out there”. I am a fan!

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  10. What an inspiring post. Thank you for sharing and being so open and honest about your hardships, it’s refreshing to see someone who is willing to share not only the joys but hardships of life. You and Reese are wonderful and I’m so glad that this blog got started!

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  11. Pingback: When Less is More: Thoughts on a Minimalist Life Pt. 1 | Too Thrifty Chicks

  12. Thanks for sharing your story, Markeshia. Having suffered depression for many decades in the past, I can relate to that aspect of your story. The cure for me was 1) finally getting diagnosed with a life-long neurological disorder that was creating havoc 2) getting outside of myself and realizing that one’s “purpose” in life is found through others. Purpose ultimately is what gives life meaning (cf. ‘Man’s search for Meaning’, Viktor Frankl: 1946 but still a classic, especially the first half).
    Welcome to New Haven! This is a seasonal thing, but one “outside of myself” activity that I find very fulfilling is the Community Greenspace program: http://environment.yale.edu/uri/programs/ “My” group was THE most productive group this past summer! (but I don’t know if we can keep that up unless another neighbor eventually takes the reigns: I’m starting to get too old for this…). See our pics here: http://seeclickfix.com/issues/1100813 Scroll down and you can see our facebook media-set photo albums for each week. (I’m not in any of the pics—because I was the photographer!—but these are my neighbors and that’s my ‘hood!)
    Re. the New Haven Independent: due to budget constraints—which affect all news media, since “news” is now free on the internet—I’ve watched the investigative-reporting aspects of the “Indy” do a slow slide. So here’s an >Outrageously Biased Suggestion<. I’m a huge fan of govt. term limits, the lack of which has caused the federal govt to become increasingly partisan and therefore dysfunctional. Both Dems and GOP have to “manufacture” crises and issues so they can stonewall each other. But the REAL endgame is for incumbents of both parties to stay in office as long as possible. Why? Because if you check the annual financial disclosures of reps & senators they’re becoming a millionaires’ club.
    I run a blog in which I attack Rep. Rosa DeLauro incessantly, because I consider her one of the most egregious examples of why we need term limits. (So, of course, I go after partisan issues as one way of showing her as a fraud. However, if I lived in a “red state” with a rep who had been in office more than 3 terms, I’d rip into him/her the same way.)
    BUT HERE is a NON-partisan story-idea for you to pursue: my most popular post involves DeLauro’s long-time campaign money-laundering (thousands of hits!). The post includes a lot of my snarky, sarcastic humor which, of course, would not be appropriate in a news article. HOWEVER, the post supplies anyone—including an investigative reporter—with the resources to create an UNbiased article: e.g. FEC link, OpenSecrets links, Legistorm links, etc. (You’re going to need a GOOD calculator to add up all the $Millions you’ll find in those links…)
    So here’s my snarky post: http://rosadelauroexposed.wordpress.com/money-trail/
    I’d be interested to know if you’ll be interested in making a NON-snarky, unbiased article with the resources therein. (If so, your NEXT challenge would be getting the idea approved by your editor. But who knows? Maybe Paul Bass finally has become just as disgusted with “The System" as I am…)
    Chris Schaefer, New Haven CT

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  13. Somehow I missed this post…my job keeps me busy. But thanks for sharing!!!!! I have a friend who is going through the same thing and I have shared your story with her in hopes that it will encourage her. Life is HARD…but it gets BETTER. Thanks for holding on…for being faithful…for US!!! If we see just one person make it…then there is HOPE for the rest of us. Love Yous!!!!

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  14. Pingback: Food For Thought: Talk Budgets To Me Pt. 2 | Too Thrifty Chicks

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