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Friday, September 28, 2018

Cross This One Off the Bucket List

Usually when people talk about bucket lists, you think of things like jumping out of an airplane, traveling to some foreign country, maybe meeting some famous person, stuff like that. Me, I never really had much of a bucket list to speak of (I guess I'm boring), but if I did, this one thing would be at the top of the list:

Being a surrogate.

This is something that I've wanted to do for years. I'm not sure where or when the desire originated, but I just know that it's been something that I've wanted to do for a while. And not knowing how exactly to go about it, a few years ago I did what most people do when they want to know something: I turned to the internet. I scoured the web for information on surrogacy; the requirements, the restrictions, the tales of personal experiences. All of it fascinated me.

After being glued to my computer screen for hours, soaking up all this wonderful information, I was even more eager to get started on this beautiful experience. I found a couple of agencies and filled out their questionnaires, just sure I'd be getting some good news in the following couple of days.

But to my surprise, what I got was rejection. And I got it fairly quickly.

Both of the agencies shut me down cold. Said, basically, that I was too fat to be a surrogate (okay, what they said was that my weight was disproportionate to my height, but in my mind, same thing). My hopes dashed, I thought that my dream to be a surrogate would be nothing more than just that, unless I dropped twenty or so pounds.

Losing some weight wouldn't have hurt, but I just ended up resigning myself to the fact that it wasn't going to happen. I didn't know any other way to try to make it happen. So I painfully put it out of my mind for the next couple of years.

Then one day on Facebook, I'm participating in a discussion (I forget the topic) in this group I'm a part of and mentioned that I wanted to be a surrogate. This woman suggested I contact an agency in Atlanta that her employer works with (I forget her occupation). I thanked her profusely, but held on to the number for a while before actually calling; I didn't want to get face-palmed again once they found out how thick and juicy I was. I did look up the agency, though, and remember liking what I saw; it was a different vibe than the other ones I had looked at. Despite my trepidations, I was getting a good feeling.

So eventually, I sucked it up and called Tomorrow's Parents International. I immediately reached a super nice man named Marcus, and when I told him I was interested in becoming a surrogate, he eagerly welcomed me and let me know who I needed to talk to, and it was on from there. That began a 14-month process towards me getting pregnant with a very nice foreign couple's baby.

(Normally, it probably doesn't take that long. I had some issues along the way; fibroids and polyps required me to have a hysteroscopy, then I had to recover from that, and the first two couples that chose me decided to move on thanks to this. And plus, it's somewhat of a tedious process, anyway, just because of all the things that go into it. I'm kind of kicking myself for not documenting all of it along the way because there's no way I can remember every little step now).

In November 2017, I went down to Augusta, GA to get an embryo implanted. In December, it was confirmed that I was pregnant. It took on the first try, thankfully. I was so excited! I can't even tell y'all how happy I was.

Not only was I getting to experience pregnancy again, but I was getting to help someone who really wanted a child of their own but was unfortunately unable to carry. I think some people take for granted how easy it is for a lot of people to get pregnant; my son certainly wasn't planned. But for other women, it's not so easy. It either takes multiple tries and/or the intervention of science, or it doesn't happen at all. I can't even imagine the pain of a miscarriage, but this lady Marjorie* had endured several, the last one being almost fatal, so she couldn't even try anymore. I was actually honored that they chose me to help them with something so amazingly important to them.

The pregnancy wasn't the smoothest in the world; my first one was way easier than this one. My first trimester, in a word, sucked. The second one was a little better. By the third, I felt I had hit my stride, though I was put on bed rest...due to my age, I was considered high risk, and I was working two jobs. Had to chill out with that (which I did not have a problem with) and I got a lot of rest leading up to the induction this past August.

The delivery went fine, though it was considerably more painful than it was with my son, and that was with the epidural. But when I saw the look of sheer elation on the faces of Marjorie and John*, it didn't even matter. That was what I did it for; seeing that look on their faces when their baby girl was born made all those gut-wrenching contractions and months of discomfort before that worth it.

Now I've recovered and am back to work (yippee) (not), and I almost can't believe it's over. After the long, tedious process to even get pregnant, it seemed like the pregnancy just flew by. Marjorie and John have gone back home with their beautiful baby, and they send me pictures and keep me updated on how they're doing, which I appreciate.

One of the main questions I got throughout the pregnancy and after was if I regret doing all this, or if I wish I been able to keep her for myself. One, I couldn't have done that if I wanted to (no legal rights), and two, I established a few years ago that I don't want any more children. So I have no yearnings or baby fever or anything like that. I'm thrilled that I was able to fulfill this dream, for them and for myself.

Would I do it again? If physically able, absolutely! I actually plan to restart the whole fun process early next year when the required six month waiting period is up. And hopefully, the process will be a little more smooth this time.

But even if something does prevent me from being a surrogate again (the most likely culprit being fibroids, which just don't seem to want to go away but thankfully weren't an issue during the pregnancy), I'm thankful I got to do it this time. And I'll never forget it.

So that part of my bucket list is officially complete.

*names changed

Saturday, June 24, 2017

My Top Five Funniest Moments as a Massage Therapist

Being a massage therapist is something that some people don't even know about me, but once upon a time, it was what I did full-time. And I absolutely loved it.

I got to pretty much set my own schedule doing something I actually enjoyed, take off when I wanted to, didn't have to worry about how many PTO (paid time off) hours I had, and I wore the same thing to work every day so I didn't have to go through the headache of picking out clothes every night.

But I needed something more consistent and stable (and with benefits for me and my son), so I ended up taking a regular 9-5. I still do massage therapy on the side, but there are times that I really miss it being my main thing.

Image result for massage therapy pictures

There were some times, though, when it wasn't so enjoyable. Other times when it produced OMG, freak-me-out, is-this-really-happening-right-now moments. Thankfully I can laugh at them now. *smile*

So here are my top five funniest moments as a massage therapist (in no particular order):

1. When a woman's skin came off in my hands

Okay, maybe not literally...

But when I was working at a wellness center, I was giving this woman a massage...everything was going fine...then I started to feel this strange friction, like something was rubbing off as I massaged. I looked down and my palms were almost completely black.

Talk about a freak-me-out moment. The room was dim and I tried to see what the heck it was on the back of her thighs that was coming off like that, but I swear to you, it looked completely normal. Thankfully she was lying prone (face-down) at the time so she had no idea what was going on. I just subtly wiped my hands on the sheets (leaving a significant stain) and continued on with the massage. Never said anything to her about what happened.

2. The guy with the breasts

One of the requirements in massage therapy school is getting a certain number of practice hours outside of class, so I hit up a lot of family and friends asking them to be my guinea pigs.

One guy I knew from back in the day agreed to let me practice on him. I went to his house and after we did the obligatory what's-been-going-on-with-you chat, I started getting set up while he went to get ready.

When he came down, my eyes were immediately drawn to his chest. Not because he had rock-hard pecs, but because he had perkier breasts than I do. It was the last thing I was expecting, and I had to fight to avert my eyes and keep my face neutral.

But my eyes kept straying back to them all on their own. I felt like some kind of perv.

3. When they treated my massage business like some kind of escort service

So when I was still doing mobile massages, this guy calls and asked me to come over and give him a two-hour session. Cool, no problem.

Got all my stuff, drove to his house, got set up...was all ready to get started. I noticed that he didn't seem to be in any hurry to get ready, though...he was still in his work clothes, sitting around making small talk with me. When he finally did get up and leave the room, presumably to get undressed, he came back fully-clothed, with drinks, and asking if I wanted some dinner.

Long story short, I never did give him that massage; all we did was talk and eat. He just didn't want to spend the evening by himself. And he still paid my fee.

4. When a client showed up to my house unannounced

This one wasn't all that funny at the time. I can kinda chuckle at it now, I guess.

When I was building my mobile massage business, I had the brilliant idea to put an ad online. Since I didn't have a storefront and the business was mobile, there was no need to list my address on the ad. But apparently, the rep used my home address in the listing without me realizing it.

So one night, I kept getting calls from some man, asking where I was located. I told him, repeatedly, that my business was mobile; I didn't have a salon or anything. He didn't seem to believe me, though, and after a while I just started ignoring his calls. I figured that was that.

Next thing I know, a cab pulls up in my driveway. The taxi driver knocks on the door and asks if this is where BodyBliss (the name of my mobile massage business) was located. I said no, this was my home. A man in the taxi called out that this was the address on the massage listing, and I recognized his voice as the one that had called me repeatedly earlier. I just said there must have been some kind of misunderstanding (the taxi driver agreed; he said he had told the guy he thought they were in the wrong place) and they left. I closed the door, literally shaking. OMG moment.

So I don't really do the mobile massage anymore...

5. When he got naked and expected me to get naked, too

I don't remember how I met him, but this male massage therapist and I were talking about being possible massage know, someone to trade massages with once a week or so. When you're a massage therapist, having a good massage partner is golden, because we're often giving massages more than we're getting them, and our bodies need them as much as anyone's.

So we agreed that I'd come over and we'd trade massages to see if we liked each other's styles and all that. There were some immediate red flags that should have sent me running right back out the door, by my relative naivete` at the time kept me there:

Red Flag #1: As soon as I walked through the door, he was commenting on how beautiful he thought I was. When I recalled this whole incident to one of my massage instructors later, he said I should have checked him on that right then...let him know that I was there strictly as massage therapist and I should be respected as such. At the time, I just thought it was a nice compliment.

Red Flag #2: He wasted no time getting naked. Before I had even put my stuff down, he was as naked as a raw chicken, drawing the curtains. Now, massage clients wanting to get naked is nothing new and no big deal. But they're always under a sheet...I never actually see their full-on nakedness right out in the open. But dude was just walking around hanging free like it was the most natural thing in the world.

Red Flag #3: When he was giving me my massage, he insisted I remove my bra. His reasoning was that he wanted to be able to access my entire back, and he never tried anything or touched me inappropriately, but still. That kind of thing is supposed to be up to the person getting the massage...a therapist isn't supposed to insist they remove anything they're not comfortable with (heck, I've had to massage people through jeans and t-shirts before).

Red Flag #4: The sexual-sounding moaning. If you're a fan of the shows Modern Family or Friends, you might remember episodes where Claire and Monica (respectively) were doing a lot of loud moaning and talking as they were getting massaged, as if someone was sexually pleasuring them or something. Well, that was this dude. When I was massaging him (insert another red flag here, because he didn't want to use a sheet), and I was massaging his upper inner thigh as he requested (red flag...remember, he's naked) he started doing all this moaning and writhing, as if I was giving him some kind of happy ending. If you had been listening from another room, you would swear there was some fellatio going on. Definitely an Is-this-really-happening-right-now moments.

As soon as we were done, I got my stuff and got the heck out of there. Needless to say, we didn't become massage partners after that.

After doing massage in several places for several years, there are more stories I could share, but these are definitely the top five. Fun stuff, huh? LOL

I even wrote a novel about a massage therapist, but that one isn't out yet. There are several other books on my site, though, for your enjoyment. Take a look-see here.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

How Playing Sims Helps My Fiction Writing

I don't really mess with many video games; back in the day I pretty much stuck to Pac-Man and Centipede. Then later on, Super Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt.

Several years ago, I started playing Sims. And I got hooked on it.

In case you don't know what I'm talking about, Sims is a simulation game where you create the people, build (or buy) their houses, get them jobs, and pretty much control everything they do.

I've probably been playing that for about 14 years now, at least. The original, Sims 2, and Sims 3. There's Sims 4 now, but I haven't played that yet because I'm so in love with Sims 3. (Well, that, and because buying a bunch of new games really isn't in the budget right now).

                                                      The Sims 3 wallpaper - The Sims 3 Wallpaper (6549689) - Fanpop

Anyway, I can play this game for hours on end, for multiple days in a row. This is part of the reason why I had to limit myself and only play on certain days. It's kind of considered a reward at the end of a long week.

I'm sure people probably think that the hours and hours I spend on this game is a waste of time. And once upon a time, I might've agreed with that. But now, I no longer see it that way.

It goes without saying that in order to write fiction, (which I do), imagination is pretty necessary. One thing I've noticed is that as I'm creating these neighborhoods and these families and all of their actions, my imagination kicks into overdrive. I get to creating all kinds of backstories about where they came from and why they do what they do, and it just makes it all the more addicting for me.

It almost becomes like a soap opera.

I'll give each character motivations that exist only in my mind...create characters for a sole purpose...incite rivalries or bonds that last as long as their little Sim lives do.

One of the awesome things about the Sims 3 is that time doesn't stand still for the other households in the neighborhood while you're playing the household of the moment. They go on living without you controlling them. And I become so invested in everything that I actually take it a little personally when something doesn't go quite the way I want it to (like when a couple that I've married off splits up behind my back).

One time, three of my characters died in a meteor crash. I could have exited out, not saved it, and gone back to how it was before that, doing my best to try to avoid that same fate happening again. But I thought it would make for better storylines (in my head) if I let it be. And I got to play with an emotion that's not terribly prevalent in the Sims: grief.

(I tell you, that one actually hurt a little bit. It's amazing how ensconced I get in this. But one of the widows became a cougar after that!).

Not only is this game entertaining for me, it's also inspiring. As I'm creating all of these elaborate scenarios and storylines for these Sims, ideas for my books start to spring forward.

It could be anything, big or small. In Take One for the Team, the character Raven was named after one of my Sims. And she was a chef, which is one of the Sims professions.

The idea for a new series began to play out in my head one day when I was playing. I'm actually going to start a new neighborhood, create the characters I have in mind, and see how some things play out. (Yes, seriously).

It's like having my own little simulated minions on screen in front of me, keeping that idea mill churning.

Playing Sims could also spark an idea that's not directly from the game, but the game served as a springboard for it. (Remember, I've used a wonderful trampoline analogy for this here.)

See there? You never know where inspiration could come from.

So, while I know I can't spend hours and hours and hours playing Sims on multiple days like I used to, it's not totally pointless when I do play it. Call it research, if you want.

 And hey, whatever works, works.

You can see how Raven turned out in Take One for the Team by ordering your copy here. Kindle or paperback. Take your pick.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

My PMS Wears Brass Knuckles

Brace yourself; this might be a semi-TMI post.

I tried to tell you up front.

All right, you're still here. So basically, for whoever doesn't know, PMS is Premenstrual Syndrome. (I shouldn't assume you know that). It's those wonderful few days before a woman's monthly cycle begins where hormones are fluctuating more than a man who can't commit.

Every woman is different in what symptoms they get; the most common one you hear about is cramps. Thankfully, I no longer get those. I have the fun of having fatigue, irritability, lethargy, wanting to eat everything in sight, and tender ta-tas. Anxiety, the inability to concentrate, and depression are also frequent visitors. (I've shared about my battles with depression before; you can read that here).

And I always say that I'm gonna deal with it better next month. It's not like I don't know it's coming. But every month, that claw grabs me again and it's hard to pry myself free without a lot of torn clothing and gauges and bruises (figuratively speaking, of course).

So this month (yesterday, especially) was particularly hard for me in that I felt especially hopeless and irritated with everything. There are many things going on in my life right now that I wish would improve...some that I have control over and some that I don't, and when I'm PMSing, my reaction to them gets amplified times ten. All I wanted to do was be left alone so I could be the center of attention at my own pity party.

When my son asked what was on the agenda for the day, my response was, "Nothing. I just wanna lay here and melt."

And I tried to do that. I curled into a ball in the far corner of my comfy couch and tried to block out everything. Slept for a while. Then I went to my bedroom and tried again. Slept some more.

I don't even wanna think about how much weight I've probably gained in the last few days. Not only has my appetite been through the roof, my back has been hurting so much that I could hardly even stand up straight, so I couldn't work out for a good four days. Which only added to my frustration (and discomfort), of course.

My career seems to be on a treadmill to nowhere, and when you try and try and try and make little to no progress, you end up at 'What's the Point?' Avenue and 'Why Even Bother?' Circle. Especially when you see so many other people lapping you, seemingly effortlessly (even though it probably isn't), and you just want to yank them by the hair and sling them back a few yards to give yourself more time to catch up. (Rational thinking kind of goes out the window, too, in case you haven't picked up on that).

I seriously just thought about giving up altogether and resigning myself to a life of slightly-above-averageness.

Needless to say, this is not a fun time. And this February round of PMS has been particularly rough. It hit me so hard I feel like I'm just starting to recover from the knockout punch.

Why am I sharing all this?

We all go through tough times. It can be from PMS, or just life in general. It happens. But it's all in how you deal with it. We might get knocked down with the proverbial brass knuckles, and it might hurt like the dickens and we wonder how we'll ever get up from that, but we can. It might take some time, but we can totally recover.

I'm certainly trying to now.

I finally was able to do a short workout earlier today. My back still hurts, but not nearly as much as it was. Progress.

And afterwards, I came across this journal someone had given me a while back:

"Don't worry about anything; instead pray about everything."

That comforted me. So much to the point where I got on my knees and prayed right then. And I know that when you pray, you have to pray believing. Otherwise, you're wasting your time.

I'm definitely a believer. God always makes a way. Even when you've been knocked out for a little while and thrown off kilter.

I'll tell you what, though; those brass knuckles hurt.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

My Life is a Trampoline

One thing that I get asked a lot is where I get my inspiration from.

A pretty common question for an author, I suppose.

Well, the answer to that is easy. Inspiration comes from life. My life, other people's lives...doesn't matter. Anything can spark that creative flame a'roarin'.

Take my book Not By a Long Shot, for instance. The main character, Natasha, was dumped by her boyfriend in a text message after three years. I was dumped by my boyfriend in an email after two years.

In Some Like 'em Thick, Oasis is one of the top furniture salespeople in the area. So was my father.

In It's All Right...Now, the two main characters, Monica and Ivy, are loosely based on me and my friend Charlotte, who I've been friends with since third grade. Most of the story was fabricated, but a couple of the things in the book actually happened.

The character Thurgood West in Get Right is greatly based on my pastor, Danny R. Nance. Sitting in service one Sunday morning listening to him preach is what sparked the idea for that book.

In Decisions and Consequences (the sequel to Not By a Long Shot), Sharif and Davion are pretty much a combination of my idea of the ideal man.

The idea for Take One For the Team literally came to me when I was at the gas station. I imagined meeting someone across the bays of the station, just like Van met Grant in the book.

I was riding to my aunt's house for Thanksgiving a few years ago when I got the idea for She is Me. The main character, Tonnette, is a low-key homebody, just like I am. And she honed her alter ego, Toni, in Barbados, which is a place near the top of my travel wish list.

I could keep going, but you get the idea. My own life or the things I see around me is usually the jumping off point for my stories. It can be the smallest thing, like going to the gas station. Or it can be therapeutic, in a way, like how it was dealing with the breakup from my boyfriend (getting dumped in an email is not fun...and did I mention that we were planning to get married, just like Natasha and her man had been in the book?). Writing that book was actually very healing, in a way.

Plus, when you're writing the story, you can make it turn out the way you want it to. A real-life crappy ending can become a happy ending in your story. Or vice versa, if you want to twist it like that.

Or, you could get that revenge on someone that's been clouding your brain since they wronged you.

But I digress.

My point is, when it comes to this book-writing thing, imagination definitely plays a big part, but don't underestimate what's going on in your own life...there's probably a ton of good material right under your nose. And if you have a large family or a bunch of friends or even an interesting job, then that's even better. You can get loads of inspiration just by watching other people.

Not to mention watching the news, watching movies, listening to music, reading (a writer who doesn't like to read doesn't make sense to's like a babysitter who doesn't like kids).

So yeah, pay attention and I bet you'll be inspired, too. Whether it inspires you to write a book or do something else, it doesn't really matter (as long as you're not inspired to break the law or hurt somebody).

Can you just walk straight on a trampoline? The slightest bit of movement causes you to bounce a little bit, doesn't it? As long as you're living or moving, you're bouncing. And even those little bounces can be the springboard to something great.

Speaking of It's All Right...Now, you get a free PDF of that book when you subscribe to my email list on You can read it and try to guess which parts are true and which parts aren't. ;)

Saturday, January 7, 2017

You Don't Have to Have Sex, Just Get Out in the City

So there's one little thing about me that I'm not afraid to admit:

I can be kinda lazy at times.

I'm a bit of a homebody. Okay, that's a lie; I'm a huge homebody who is perfectly happy staying home most of the time...spending time with my son, watching movies or basketball, reading or writing, playing Sims...just minding my own business. Sometimes I don't want to do much more than just lay around on my awesome sofa. And lately I've been doing a little too much of that.

Why do I say that?

Well, I've noticed recently that my writing hasn't been flowing as it usually has; it's like there's something blocking the rush of creativity to my brain. I thought it was just your run-of-the-mill writer's block that happens from time to time, but mine usually doesn't last as long as it has this time.

It's an icy night here in Georgia and I'm up late, going through a online course on copywriting (something I've been into for a while now). I'd been at it for hours and needed a break, so I un-muted the TV and watched Sex in the City for a little while. And it was like the proverbial lightbulb finally turned on.

Carrie always got the inspiration for her column from her own life. She actually went out and lived and therefore, had plenty of material.

That was my problem.

I've been holed up way too long, and my creative garden was wilting.

I've never been one to go out that much, but occasionally I'll go to a movie or take myself out to dinner, or just go somewhere and people-watch. And I have the occasional date here and there with my boyfriend (he lives out of state, otherwise it would be more often). But in my recent desire to stay to myself, I've cut myself off from the water that will make my creative garden grow. I've even started getting my groceries delivered, since I hate grocery shopping.

Bottom line, I need to get out of the house.

Now, I'm an introvert and a loner...I don't have a group of girlfriends like Carrie did. I don't like going out on the town like she does (I'm not a fan of large crowds). I don't have a shoe fetish (though I do love me some shoes). And I certainly don't go through the men like she (and her friends) did.

But that doesn't mean I can't have my own little version of Jessica in the Smaller City.

Just that little revelation has me up at almost 3:00 in the morning writing this.

So when you find yourself stumped for stuff to write about, or doing anything that involves some kind of creativity, get up and get out. Go do something. Live. Get out in the city.

But you don't have to have sex.

Unless you just want to. That's your business.

P.S. Van finally tried something new and her life changed...whether or not it was in the best way, I'll leave that up to you. You can get your copy of my book 'Take One For the Team' here and read all about it. Feel free to let me know what you think.


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Depression Chose Me Out of the Lineup

Let's talk about depression for a minute.

I'll divulge this; I went through this hard in 2015 (and last year, too, though not quite as bad). In the sake of full disclosure, I was never formally diagnosed because I was too paranoid to go to a doctor, but my homegirl was medically diagnosed with it and she said I sounded just like she was. And when I read up on it, I had most of the symptoms:

  • sadness
  • tiredness
  • trouble focusing or concentrating
  • unhappiness
  • anger
  • irritability
  • frustration
  • loss of interest in pleasurable or fun activities
  • sleep issues (too much or too little)
  • no energy
  • craving unhealthy foods
  • anxiety
  • isolation
  • restlessness
  • worrying
  • trouble thinking clearly or making decisions
  • poor performance at work or school
  • dropping out of activities
  • guilt
  • suicidal thoughts or tendencies
  • pain, like headaches or muscle aches
  • drug or alcohol abuse
Now thankfully, I never wanted to kill myself and I never used drugs or alcohol, but other than those, I had every symptom on this list. And I had them regularly. Every day was a different mix.

When it first started hitting me, I figured it was just some elongated form of PMS that would pass sooner or later. But it didn't. My moods would switch from irritable to down-in-the-dumps in the blink of an eye, and after a while, I knew something was wrong. I've never been one to just spontaneously burst into tears, but that's exactly what I was doing. And sooner or later, some of my family started to take notice, regardless of how much I tried to hide it. I didn't want my son to see me like that so I always tried to put my game face on around him, and also I just didn't want to answer a bunch of questions about what was wrong with me.

Truth was, I didn't know.

When my sister first got wind of the change in me, she made the comment that I was "moping" around. And I'll be honest, that pissed me off. I wasn't choosing to be depressed. Who would? No one chooses this.

It chose me.

Depression had come down on me like a heavy cloak that I couldn't shake off...I ate any and everything, gained a bunch of weight, then got even more depressed about that 'cause I couldn't stand to look at my own body. I was oversleeping for, church, whatever. Other nights I would lay up for hours, wide awake and just staring into the darkness.  I never wanted to go anywhere or do anything. Heck, I didn't have the energy to do anything. I was way more emotional than I had ever been and every day was just another twenty-four hours of going through the motions.

My life was a joke, I thought. My love life was an ever bigger joke.

I'd be stuck in two jobs I didn't particularly like forever, I thought.

I was a failure that nobody wanted, I thought.

My son was going to grow up and leave me and I'd die alone and fat and unhappy while everyone else was happy and toned and thriving. I thought.

My friend pleaded with me to go to talk to a psychiatrist, and I looked into it, but I never went. I don't know if it was laziness or denial, but I just couldn't make myself do it. I did eventually confide in my pastor, who was refreshingly empathetic and encouraging. But this wasn't something I wanted to go around broadcasting, so only my friend and my sister really knew what the real deal was (well, and my pastor). I just continued to pretend like I was fine around everyone else and then go somewhere and cry or lay down. Or both.

You know how when you're going through something or dealing with something, you tend to notice it being talked about more? It was like when I started suspecting I was pregnant; all of a sudden pregnancies and babies were all people were talking about around me. Or when I bought my Nissan Altima; I started seeing them all over the place.

Well, I started noticing depression being mentioned or talked about a lot more, and it irritated me how little empathy a lot of people have for this. Like I said before, some people foolishly think depression is something folks choose or want. Or they think it's something we're supposed to just be able to snap out of.

"Get over it," they say. "You don't have it that bad."

It's not even about that; at least it wasn't for me. True enough, sometimes it can be triggered by situations, like maybe your home burning down or losing your job or something like that, but that wasn't the case for me. I have suspicions, but I don't really know what triggered mine. But it was real. And it was serious. Everybody that knows me knows I love my son more than anything on this planet, and I didn't even want to do anything with him. I didn't want to be bothered; I didn't feel like being anybody's mother. I just wanted to be left alone. But I couldn't be, and that just made me even more frustrated.

Honestly, it was also embarrassing. I didn't want to readily admit, even to those closest to me, that I was depressed. I felt like it meant I was being ungrateful. But my homegirl helped me to realize I had nothing to be embarrassed about, and it has nothing to do with being ungrateful. It's a disorder. It's a sickness. And it could happen to anybody.

So towards the end of 2015, I tried to make some changes...I started working out again, thankfully dropping some weight. I tried to be more social and get out of the house a little more (something I've never been good at). And I met my current boyfriend, who did a lot towards boosting my self-confidence and esteem (he didn't know about my depression until way later, though). After a while, I really thought I had conquered the bull...I had pushed that cloak off me. But it's not that easy or that quick, from what I've realized.

Yes, I'm better than I was. But I'm not over it. So many days, I'm still lethargic, still emotional, still irritable, still feeling hopeless...etc etc. It's hard (and frustrating) to accept. But I deal thanks to encouraging friends and family, and lots of prayer. I know nothing is too hard for God. But this is just my cross to bear.

I still might go see a therapist. Talking to a professional couldn't hurt. And it would certainly help to get to the root of what brought all this on.

Just need to get off my bum and go.