daily reminder: its not (just) about you, sis.

my birthday was last week. june 12th to be exact. it comes and goes every year. whether its a good one depends on which friend group decides they want to hang or not, and which friend group decides we’re turning up or i’m just gonna stay. my 22nd birthday was one for the books. i went out for three days straight (never again, but it was great back then) and i felt so loved and so grateful for all those that were around me. my 23rd birthday was quite the opposite. my husband and i were on our honeymoon. he took me to get my nails done, we ate, did all the grown up things (marriage is great y’all) and it was calm and so satisfying. there was one thing in particular that remained the same during both birthday celebrations: my depression showed up. sis was loud and ready to make a scene at any point. i call my depression “sis” because its not me. its like its an ugly step sister, maybe even an adopted sister that just ruins everyones lives around her and she carried herself over into the rest of the week. i was sure to just put it on the back-burner. i wanted my husband and i to have a great week. i didnt want any of my mental health issues to ruin our mini paradise, so i refused to give her space in my head. i lasted all week. i kept a smile on, but by friday, i was starting to get tired and it was showing, but i didn’t mention it.

when i say theres nothing worse than keeping issues with your mental health to yourself, theres nothing worse than keeping issues with your mental health to yourself. ill say it one more time: there’s nothing worse than keeping issues with your mental health to yourself. i went all week without saying anything. we came back home and got back into our normal routine quickly. H went to work every day and i decided to stay home and not spend all our hard earned money LOL. however, i started to melt. day after day my mental health grew worse and worse. i was scrying (scream crying) every day. i was extremely angry and finding myself speaking on things i had no business saying about myself. i was in a pit and it didnt feel like it was shawn. sis was so deep inside me that i was drowning, and guess what, someone around me felt it. my husband, God bless his heart, is the strongest person i know. when we were going through a time where he was struggling mentally, he was still strong and so persistent about his journey and he was ready to change. i saw a warrior grow out of my man and to this day he knows how to fight those kinds of battles, and you would think i would follow his lead…

depression is funny, yall. its true. you’re fine one second and then youre not. people arent lying when the say that. it hits when it wants, but you gotta remember something…

…it’s not just about you, sis.

i didnt know this (or maybe i did) but because i wasnt actively trying to take care of my mental health, it was impacting the person i love most in this world. but how didnt i know that? why didnt i think “man, this must be taking a toll on my husband??” because, sometimes depression turns me into a selfish person. i just needed all the attention on me. i was the one thats going through. im the one feeling all this pain and hurt. the tears were falling from MY face… and not once did i think of him.

its not just about you, sis.

yeah. a lot of times we carry mental health as something that needs to be taken care of, but often we think of it the wrong way. i know i did. something like, “well i need to get MYSELF together. i NEED this for ME. blah blah blah” but sometimes, you need help. i dont always know why im depressed. i havent paid much attention to my triggers. i wasnt trying to figure out different ways to calm myself down. i just wanted someone else to feel sorry for me and figure out the problem. well folks, he didnt. and now, i wont allow him to.

all this to say, it seriously isnt all about you, sis. pay attention to those around you and how you act when youre in that head space. its hard to hear, but combating your depression or any kind of mental health ailments may be the answer to mending your relationships: inward and outward. in order for the relationships around you to be stable and healthy, you have to be stable and healthy. you have to be willing to work with actions involved, not just words. you have to be willing to dig deep inside yourself and find the problem. you have to be willing to say you’re sorry and give space to those that need it. the battle is not solely yours.

get help, sis. i am.

prodigal.

i wanted to write this post a few days ago, but it was clear that God was saving some of these thoughts of mine until today. i went to go get my hair trimmed and straightened (i do it once a year, normally in may) mainly because i haven’t ent straightened it since i went bald last summer. my hair grows like a weed, but i wasn’t trimming and keeping up with the dead ends. my hair is natural, so i just figured it was as healthy as could be… even though i know in the back of my mind it wasn’t. as i mentioned before, i cut it off last summer in hopes of some liberation. new relationship, no man telling me “don’t cut your hair because it makes you who you are…” yeah whatever. so i shaved it. right back to the healthiest state it could ever be in. bald on the sides. a bit bald on top. it was new, black, so fresh, and so so clean. i took care of it. i made sure to always do my itty bitty twist outs, especially before church so i could give off a good impression. i deep conditioned that sucker so often i ran out of my deep conditioner every five seconds… but eventually it got old. i didn’t feel like deep conditioning it. it was too thick. too much. so, i got lazy. i would condition it every other weekend. i wouldn’t really do it. i blamed it on the “my hair doesn’t do wash n’ gos well”, but if you’ve seen my wash and gos lately… that was a lie. i stopped caring about my hair and she kinda died on me.

same thing happened to my life. my last semester of college i got a bit crazy. i promised to dissect this enigma, and this part of it was one of the most prominent pieces to understanding this story of mine. i took an easy semester because i didn’t “feel” like being challenged. i wanted to enjoy myself. i wanted my flesh to feel what the world had to offer. i drank so much to the point where if my friends and i went a day without drinking… we would find a drink. i was coping with other things as well, but liquor was my go-to. thing is, i didn’t even realize it was a problem. i thought i was just being young, wild, and free. turns out i was just finding ways to cope with my depression.

i was depressed for a long time before then, but i’m shawn. shawn doesn’t get depressed. shawn is crazy and outgoing and extroverted… the most cliché tale ever told. i would avoid going to get a true diagnosis for some other things i was dealing with (still am sorta) and just labeled myself with whatever i was feeling that day. i cant blame it all on the past relationship, but i can definitely blame it all on the past. i was stuck there and couldn’t figure out how to dig my way out. i took a page out of my biological parents books: both of my parents have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and i just knew i got the gene too… i really felt like it and still feel that way sometimes. but, i let it consume me. i let my mistakes consume me. i allowed small things like eating the wrong thing for breakfast or working out once a day instead of twice consume me. i let people talk me into being someone i wasn’t meant to be. i was far gone, and when i left, i left God too.

i’m a real big faker, or at least i was. redo the insta here and there to make it seem like life was good and i was still following scripture. change up what i said on facebook and twitter to make sure my image was still there, however, i promise you… i didn’t care. i grew up in church so i stayed out of obligation. i kept “reading” my Bible just to make sure i wasn’t gonna go to hell… to fast. i didn’t believe much that was said in church, and because of a few things that took place at my old church, it was easy for me to use that as my exit. John 10:28-30 says “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me,[a] is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” but i just knew i was the exception to the rule. i tried to end my life one night, and no one was there to save me, and in hindsight, its because God wanted to.

why did i start with the story about my hair? well, i had a pretty insightful conversation with my hairdresser (ta’ler is bomb and she really dug some things out of me today), and while she was doing my hair, we were talking about how God will always get a hold of his children whether it be on earth or in heaven. i belonged to Him the day i proclaimed His Son to be my Savior but sometimes you (you meaning me lol) make empty promises and fill the air with words you don’t mean. when i did it, i meant it, but it was hard. i knew that God wanted me back. for me to be THAT far gone, it had to be it. He was going to get me one way or another.

it wasn’t until i left my former church (which, i’m not sorry, is still one of the best decisions ive ever made) and took about two weeks to get myself together. we are called to be members of a body, naturally, i joined howard’s church and it happened immediately. after visiting the church twice, i joined the body and my life changed. i listened to the sermons, i didn’t just hear then. i got involved. i wrote things down in the note app in my phone to remind me of certain things i may have needed during the week. i cried some. i danced. i cried some more, and God got me. it doesn’t seem like it should be that easy, but it was. know why? my foundation as always been rooted in God, however, it was always on me to make sure i was in right relationship with Him. He did His part. always. i didn’t care enough to do mine.

despite my mental health issues and physical issues, God still had me. i was still blessed with a new job, a new man, a new life and didn’t realize that it was God’s way of showing me that He still loved me, His prodigal daughter. there’s a lot of believers that have this testimony, and i wish we didn’t. i wish we could be on this journey and perfect it. i sometimes i wish i perfected it long ago, but i’ve said this before and prayerfully this is the last time, i owe it all to Him and He deserves it. it’s (for real) time.

kris.

im 22 years old. for the better part of my life, i knew i wanted to help people. i had no clue where or how, but i knew i was going to impact some people. why? because i had a story, but i thought i was the only one with it.

one woman kind of forced this story out of me. she didnt do it in an aggressive way, but she asked me questions. she picked my brain. she waited for my responses. she listened to me. despite some of the issues i had (the ones that made me feel like i was too far gone), she did something different in regard to those issues. she held them gently and treated them like a glass menagerie. she put them in her pocket, most times the one by her heart, and left them there for me to come back to when i was ready. she invested in me. she impacted my life. growing up, i had plenty of people that were impactful, but not like this. krissy was my 10th grade English teacher. her “job” was to make sure i passed a big test at the end of the year (which btw, i was the ONLY kid that failed that thing out of all the years of her being a teacher LOL), learn to write, etc. however, krissy took it much further. she taught me how to think, and i dont mean think to answer a few TDQ’s correctly. i mean, she taught me how to think critically. she taught me how to think for myself. she is still teaching me how to think for myself. sometimes she yelled at me. threatened to push me down the steps when she was pregnant with her son (really my baby brother), so on and so forth. she moved my seat right to the front of the classroom and gave me dirty looks every time i would part my lips to let a sound out. she got on me every time she saw me. she was pretty mean to me (;)) but why? i needed it. i needed structure. i needed to be pulled in quickly before i lost myself because of myself. 15/16 year old me didnt know what she was doing, but 22 year old me knows now. i needed her kind of love.

when krissy finally took the fragile glass out of her pocket to give back to me, i knew she felt i was somewhat ready to deal with some things on my own and i did. it got easier because she taught me how to be independent in more ways than one. did i listen? not necessarily, but she knew i wouldn’t. she knew me so well. she knows her kid SO well.

she told me, like every kid, i had a story. i didn’t think it was important. i used it to make excuses sometimes, but it was hard not to. life was hard. i had a wall up and didn’t know how to handle my emotions or issues. thankfully her love and patience permeated through all of that. the story might come in a different post, but just know i never thought i would need it. like i said in the very beginning… i knew i wanted to impact people, i just didn’t know how…

so i became a teacher. partially because of her, but mostly because that’s one of the easiest ways to impact lives. there’s one life in particular i can’t seem to let go of.

samantha, the young girl in the picture, is that life. i am krissy and samantha is me. three weeks ago, i had to leave sam’s school and go to a new one with all new kids and a completly different atmosphere, but there wasnt a day that went by where i wasnt thinking about her. when i left, sam had a hard time. she was crying every day (still does), leaving class because i wasnt there, so on and so forth. her lifeline left her, and i didnt realize how impactful that would be but how couldnt i? when i left high school, i lost my mind… or i thought i was going to. i wouldnt see krissy every day. i didnt think i would be able to function, but i did because of what she taught me, and the way she taught me to use my story. sam has a story. a painful story at that, and although she thinks all is lost, i know its not. i gave sam my number and she reaches out to me often. she keeps me updated with school. she cries to me. she vents to me. she laughs with me, and shes a little sassy with me. i see so much of young shawna in her, and thats why im making this post. i went through what i went through for many reasons out of my control, but knowing and seeing why i needed to experience all of that provides clarity in the enigma. sam needs me the same way i needed krissy. sam needs someone to invest in her the way krissy invested in me. she needs love. she needs an outlet. she needs structure. that ten year old is one of the most beautiful people i have ever met, and if i knew what i needed to be preparing for, i would have started long ago.

so kris, my girl, i love you and am so thankful that you decided to invest because now look at me. i hope im making you proud, and i promise, all your years of hard work on this hard head/heart was not in vain.

…but, first comes love.

praise be to the One who placed this one back in my life. in 2016, i finally got to meet the man that was just a friend on facebook. we ran in the same circles for years, but we didn’t think we knew each other… we just knew each other. i saw that he attended the same college and immediately went on a search for him. to be completely honest, i was intrigued by how mysterious he was. he seemed like he kept his business to himself and didn’t care to be the “it” guy (the complete opposite of me) and i wanted to know more. the search was solely to figure out if i actually knew him and he knew me. the academic link at school was the meeting place. he was working and i was pretending like i needed a tutor. i couldn’t find another reason to just “pass by.” we exchanged our “hello” to one another and that was it. another day at school rolled in and he walked into my spanish class. this guy was so quiet and introverted that he had to have been there all year, but there was no reason for us to communicate. his headphones were his go to and everyone else was mine. time went by and we exchanged laughs over random things people would say in our class, and then it was over. summer came. fall came again and we were in yet another class together. as any “friend” would (and i use that term loosely), we talked a little, exchanged psn handles, and talked nothing but basketball and writing. there’s a lapse in my mind about what went on after that, but there was a day i remember.

in his spring semester of his final year of undergrad, we were in the same creative writing class and spanish class (again. i was over it) and finally got to talk deeply about the one thing we cared about most: writing. mister writer king himself was the best in the class, and i’m not just saying that. our classmates ranted and raved over his writing, as did i. he would share his close to home stories, i would write my comments, and i guess one sparked enough interest. in that same time period, i started writing poetry. i didn’t think i was any good, but my friend did. he was invested in that part of the enigma, and i was interested in his interest. we constantly exchanged our writing, and found different ways to challenge each other. i was hard on him and he was just as hard if not harder on me. i truly believe the way in which we were candid with each other through our writing is what sparked a lifelong friendship. time went on and we became the best of friends, and that was it. he was living his life, and i was living my life. we laughed a lot together. critiqued artists, and he even got me to change one of my favorites to his. all this to say, this was my favorite friendship. the one all my friends knew was different but i didn’t. the one that felt oddly comfortable from the very beginning without understanding why. the one i needed. the one i longed for…

…but where does this all fit in?

i decided to start this post with the story of our friendship because we were just that. this acceptance post is not for me, but for you. howard and i were the best of friends and that’s all we knew how to be. God connected us through pain, terrible terrible pain, and kept us there. as most know, i was in the arms of someone else. someone that i thought would be forever, but those thoughts stemmed from insecurity, guilt, and depression. i was wrong and God tried to show me that. however, as respectful as he is, Howard was a friend to me. he talked to me through some of my deepest depressive episodes and kept me accountable of not only what would came out of my mouth, but what came from my heart. no line stepped over and no boundary crossed. we didn’t see each other that way, and it was the first time i think i was completely content with a friendship. not to discredit any of my other friendships at the time or any other relationship, but i wasn’t trying to be more for him or with him. no one even knew we were friends. no one even knew how close we were.

when i was in the process of making a new life for myself, he would remind me of what kind of woman i wanted to be. he would remind me of how strong i was, how i didn’t need to stay in something because of time or out of obligation. but that there was a much bigger and better plan for me IF i had truly known and felt it in my heart. if i was sure and really sure it was time to get out of that part of my life.

i graduated from the same college. i was planning on moving out for the summer and living my absolute best life. i did not want baggage. i got rid of all of it with a blink of an eye. was it messy? yes. did i go about it the right way? probably not. i was 22 (ha, i’m almost 23 now… so old) but what 22 year old really has it together. i wish i would have tied much better knots in the loose ends. i wish i would have been clear about my intentions. i wish i would have spoken up sooner. but thank God for His grace and mercy, and thank God for Howard. i prayed. i asked God what to do. i prayed some more. i got rid of some extremely bad habits. i stopped trying to cope, and then one day, he looked at me and said we should try this, and if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. so we did. my heart has known. my mind might have known too. i have loved him more than i can explain ever since then and i am more than thrilled to do life with my best friend, my absolute soulmate. i’m so in love with us, and i’m in love with our union. it hasn’t always been easy, but it’s always been worth it. it’s the Lord’s doing, and it’s marvelous in our eyes.

i believe in you.

new. it’s all new.

 

it’s been awhile, folks. i’m kind of beating myself up over the fact that i haven’t kept up with my lovechild, but i think i’m ready to consistently write again. i decided to update unapologetic she and use it as not only a site for my poems, but for my thoughts. i do want to warn you, i have a problem with rambling. because i don’t know how to condense my thoughts, especially the deepest most sacred ones, these will be long. bear with me, however, simply because it’s acceptance time. by that i mean, its time to start this processing of open and honest understanding. it’s time to accept my mistakes and learn from them. it’s time to accept the all the good things that have happened, and things that will happen. this is the time where i will explain things that i’ve been ambiguous about for everyone, but more importantly, for myself. it’s a “i’m a writer and can’t express myself correctly out-loud” thing. it’s a “wow, life changed real quick real fast thing.” most importantly, it’s an easy way for me to reflect, accept, and move through this enigmatic mind of mine.

it’s taken me a few years after birthing “unapologetic she” to truly accept how these things can coexist, but my prayer and hope is that i can stay consistent because sometimes thats hard for me, but even this post is giving me life and energy… and some sort of good feeling while writing this.

thank you to the faithful few.

she is back.

It’s coming

With a heavy heart

Comes a soft mind

And the open

Opportunity to be

Vulnerable in ways

You never could

Have imagined

And in this very

Moment

My heart feels like

It’s sinking

And my thoughts

Are clouded with

Draining memories

But thank God

He is bigger than

Them all and I can

Carry on.

//soul-tied

Yes,

At the time I knew

What love felt like

Because I set the standard.

Low or not,

I felt something strong

Pull me closer toward

My distorted expectation

Of what love should be

Because I was not taught

Anything different

From early on.

Then I let go of

That standard

And real love crushed

Even exceeded any

Expectation I had

And I loved it.

I became addicted to it:

Now,

My soul is tied

To it.

My soul is tied

To his.