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.
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.
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.
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.