Men + Myself + God

Tag: recovery

Labor Day & Closure

by P. Braithwaite

Even though Fall is my favorite season, Labor Day always makes me a little sad.

Something about the chill in the air lets me know that the lazy days of summer are over. Winter is just around the corner – somehow I equate cooler weather with a call to get more serious.  This year, though, I’ve been grieving the impending Fall more than usual. Maybe it’s because there are big changes afoot: post-grad teaching, new apartment, new job, new goals. Or maybe it’s because Labor Day reminds me that all things have cycles — all things come to an end.

This transition makes me think about closure. Does it exist? Does one need it? How does one go about getting it?

Closure, I guess, is like Labor day. It’s that definitive moment – that beautiful moment where the end and the beginning merge. Granted, its not the official first day of Fall, but it could be, we all know the white shoes and white parties are tucked away until next year. So, like closure, Labor Day is a vessel for sadness. It’s that moment we can pin-point for the intrinsic understanding that, although good things are ahead, awesome things have slipped away yet again.

I should mention that my Labor Day was pretty lazy. I found myself with no parties to attend, no getaways to get to, and no barbeques to crash.  The pressure to find plans was pretty intense, and it was hard not to kick myself for being unprepared. Why do I build up these holidays? Why do I place so much emphasis on these moments? Much like we might build up our Labor Day weekend plans, I think sometimes we have unrealistic expectations about what closure looks like: will it make the feelings stop? Will we regret less, or stop feeling anger? Will there be fireworks followed immediately by a hot new romance?

I don’t know.

Ultimately, I think closure is less of an event and more of a quiet resignation. It’s the intrinsic knowing that there is nothing left to say. You take a deep breath, savor the last of the barbecue smell, lick your fingers, and pull your sweater a littler closer to your chest. The season has changed; moments are now memories.

There is nothing left to do but move forward…

Guess Who’s Back!

by P. Braithwaite

Hello Lovers,

I’ve been away for a while, but I think our time apart has been good for our relationship. I’ve missed you, and hope that you haven’t forgotten about me. I certainly haven’t forgotten about all of you.

 While I was away:

1. I finished my Master’s thesis: In about two weeks I will officially be a Master of Fine Arts, and (although I have no idea what that really means) that feels GREAT!! Now that I’m done being a student (in the traditional sense), I can begin my life-long commitment of being a slave to the written word. I really loved graduate school, and I think my decision to go was sort of brilliant. I got to live as an artist, while telling everyone I was a responsible academic type. I got to live my passion without the scrutiny of others. I wish I’d realized that sooner. It would’ve saved me some angst. In any case, I think that what the MFA has really taught me is that I’m a writer all of the time. School or no school; blog or no blog.  Writing is a very big part of how I’m going to spend this life. It’s time to stop delaying and pondering; it’s time to get to the business of doing the thing…

2. I’ve gotten some career clarity: The writing life is only part, albeit a huge part, of my overall picture. While getting some clarity, I have come to understand that I am passionate about personal development, motivation and spirituality. I’m hoping to blend writing with a day job in personal coaching/empowerment. If I could spend 40/60 hours a week helping folks become better people, and then spend my free time working on writing and deepening my connection to self, I’d be the happiest girl in Kansas (though I live in Brooklyn). Regular readers know that I may or may not be an English instructor, and so I think that I (may or may not be) already doing a bit of coaching and development work, but I’m hoping really expand the definition of what it means to be a teacher. I really want to live my best life, and help others do the same. (I blame Oprah)

3. I haven’t worked on the God Book: I’ve thought about it a lot, but I really wanted to concentrate on finishing my thesis. It’s interesting because there are a lot of people who have asked me about my process, and have offered to connect me with people who are willing to help. Now that the thesis is almost a distant memory, it’s time to recommit to the project.

4. I’ve been showing up more as myself: I turned 28 last month, and I’ve spent a lot of time enjoying myself and the people in my offline life. That said, I’ve also been doing a lot of inner work. At the risk of being completely vulnerable, I’ve been doing the therapy thing and I’ve enlisted the help of an AMAZING life coach. I’m up to my ears in self-help books and empowerment tapes, and I’m meditating (almost) daily. Though I’m sure this sounds a bit crazy, this process has helped me to see how some of my attempts to protect myself are actually getting in the way of my potential. Those who have known me for a while have told me that I look different and move differently. I chalk that up to me showing up as my authentic self instead of as I think I should be.

5. I cut off my hair: Afro chic!

So I’ve bored you with list in an effort to explain that, while I have been away, I’ve been really busy becoming a better person and shit. I am aware of the life I want, and I’m determined to become the person capable of birthing that life. The best part is, I look in the mirror and I’m beginning to see that I AM that person.

So I’m back and I’m more focused than I’ve ever been. There will be some changes to the blog in the upcoming weeks (hopefully some new voices) and I’m going to be posting more regularly. I hope that those of you who read my posts will comment. When I look back on when and how I started writing, I really believe that I started writing to convince myself that I existed. I was sooo quiet and much of my time was spent alone. At some point I picked up a pen and started talking to myself. So comment when the spirit moves you, don’t talk yourself out of it.…it validates my existence. 😉

Here’s a question: what have you all been doing while I’ve been cutting off my hair and running the streets? Do you have any interesting insights?