Posts Tagged ‘life’

Haikuesday 12.06.06

December 6, 2016 Leave a comment

I hum to myself

during the fight to stay calm.

Then I remain free.



Haikuesday 08.02.16

August 2, 2016 Leave a comment

On or off the mat,

buddies are important

for one’s well-being.

Psychological safety blankets.

May 21, 2016 2 comments

About five years ago, I flew down from Philadelphia to Miami for my cousin’s wedding. He and his now-wife/then-girlfriend asked me to be a bridesmaid. I’d never been a bridesmaid before, but I was pumped to accept the role because I love those guys. I arrived in Miami the day of the rehearsal dinner, the night before the wedding. I don’t remember how or why, but I missed the rehearsal. Don’t worry, I was reassured by my cousin and his mom. Apparently, two of the groomsmen were still en route from Philadelphia. They, too, missed the rehearsal. When they finally arrived, we learned they didn’t have tuxes. This was all just the start of the folly leading up to the actual wedding, which was fun and gorgeous and unforgettable. Getting there was rough though. I remember cuddling on the couch with my cousin’s mom the day of the wedding, asking her how her poor son was managing. She told me that my presence along with his other girl cousins from Philadelphia meant a lot to him. “You guys,” she said, “are his psychological safety blanket.”

That phrase, “psychological safety blanket,” has stuck with me. To me, it means any person whose simple presence offers reassurance and comfort whenever you’re feeling awkward or anxious or about to lose it in a public or semi-public situation. I have a few of those at judo and jiu jitsu. If I’ve had a rough day and I’m feeling fragile, if one of my team psychological safety blankets are at practice, I can make it through. Even if they don’t know anything is wrong with me that day, their familiarity and easy nature will keep me steady.

Lately at work, I’ve felt awkward and anxious and like I’m about it lose it pretty frequently. Now that I’m in a management role, I feel alone a lot. I’m no longer on an interdisciplinary team. I no longer share an office with someone else in the social work department. It’s just me. When I was a team social worker, the other professionals on my team felt like a tiny family. We worked through tough situations together and celebrated together. We supported one another. It was nice. Now it’s gone. I’m team-less.

This week was difficult for me. My family is going through some stuff, which weighed heavy in the back of my mind and made everything going on at work seem either trivial or impossible. I was distracted all week. I wanted to cry in every meeting I sat through. One day, I had four meetings, so that was an especially strenuous exercise in containment. Yesterday, my dad reached out to me with more bad news. That was it. I was done. I paced around my office, door closed, alone. Was I going to cry? Yes. Do I want to cry? No. What do I do? What do I do? I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be alone. What do I do?

My gut told me a I needed a psychological safety blanket. Go to the safety blanket. But I’m at work. Who helps keep me steady at work? After mere seconds of deliberating, I dabbed my eyes with a tissue and sped down to the second floor, down the hall towards the Rehab department and into the office of my former teammate, our Occupational Therapist.

When were worked directly together, we were a dynamic duo. We got stuff done. Nothing was too hard; we’d handle anything. I loved it. I liked her from the start. Calm, empathetic, motivated, creative, efficient–the ideal teammate. More than that, we clicked on a personal level. We can talk about a ton of stuff outside the realm of geriatric community health. She’s a little older than I am, married with a family, so I like to hear her perspective on life and relationships.  Her influence on me is so good. She knows life is a mess with so many hard things, but she doesn’t take it out on other people. She is mindful and self-aware, patient and giving, prioritizing her loved ones and her own sanity. Plus, she is silly and fun.

So into the OT’s office I ran. Unwittingly, she wrapped me up in that little psychological safety blanket right away with her familiar smile. I told her a little about what was going on, let myself cry for a moment, and she gave me a big hug. Then we just chatted a little, about her family, about the weekend, about silly things on the internet. She told me to go home early. I said I would, and we separated as co-workers came to her office to address actual work stuff. I went back upstairs to my office. I started replying to emails. Maybe I’ll stay. I looked around my office. I was alone again, surrounded by bare white walls and beige filing cabinets. Nope. Time to go home.

When I got to my apartment and sunk into my couch, I felt relieved. I didn’t cry again, probably because I didn’t have to fight so hard to stay composed. At 5:00, my phone rang, and it was the OT. “Are you home?” she asked. Yes. “Good. I said to myself, ‘yeah, she’s going to back up to her office and she’ll probably stay.'” She knows me well. Not this time, I told her. We talked for a moment. She wanted to make sure I was going to do something fun tonight and not be home alone. I assured her I was going to practice and my friends would be there. She approved of that plan. We hung up.

I am team-less at work, but I’m not blanket-less.



Haikuesday 05.10.16

It is a small thrill

to strike a match and behold

fire in your hand.


Haikuesday 05.03.16

Let’s not think too much,

and let the unknown come forth

with our arms open.

Categories: Poetry, Uncategorized Tags: , ,

I’m living it.

April 23, 2016 Leave a comment

I think my life started at 28 years old. That was when things started to change. That’s when I started to see what was possible. It’s not that I didn’t have good experiences before I was 28. I got to travel to other countries. I lived in different states. I got to go away to the college of my choice and study exactly what I wanted. I had good friends. It was nice. However, some things seemed fuzzy. Like my entire future. I didn’t have a sense of what I wanted for myself. I knew I didn’t want to be a nomad. Adventure grew less important. I still wanted challenge and risk, but with that I wanted purpose and stability. I wanted my brain to work hard and my bank account to reflect what my brain could do.

When I was 28, I was not happy. I was not even content. I was uncomfortable and antsy. I felt like a wolf with nothing to hunt. I had all this skill, all this potential, all this drive, but nothing to do with it. Then I made the decision to pursue my Master’s degree in social work. Then I found judo again. Then I ended my seven year relationship.

Those three acts made me feel new. All were terrifying and difficult and brought a sense of uncertainty, but they were necessary. At 28, I had the unshakeable feeling that this leg of my journey had to be done with me alone, ready to take my turn on the high dive. I wanted to be self-propelled.

Although I ended that relationship, I was never alone. I don’t think you can live a good life alone. I know that I need my family. I need my friends for fun, comfort, and sanity. I need the people in my life to inspire and motivate me. I like having my local heroes.

I’m 34 now. I’ll be 35 in November. I have some feelings about 35 which I didn’t expect to have, but I like where I’m at. The past six years have been rocket-fueled. I’ve had a series of intense, non-stop changes since July of 2014. With every good thing that’s happened, every new opportunity, every new personal connection, there has been something equally stressful and discouraging to keep me in check. I feel uncomfortable sometimes and I still get antsy, but I have focus now. No blurry vision about the future. No drifting. I know what I want to do. I know who I want by my side. This isn’t the life that happened to me. It’s the life that I chose. I’m glad I’m living it.

Haikuesday 04.19.16

April 19, 2016 Leave a comment

There is emptiness,

but you can replenish it

with a commitment.

Categories: poetry, Uncategorized Tags: , ,