I know by now you’ve figured out I wasn’t doing my traditional yearly countdown.  There was so much going on and I wanted to handle this special time of year in a new way.  So, I decided to make an extra long post and bring you up to speed at one time.  I hope you enjoy it and let me know if you prefer the other way.  These are in no particular order but these are the moment that stands out in 2017. Let’s get it started.

Moving to 7732 – After a rocky and moldy ending (literally) in my old apartment, we were relocated to another unit on the complex. As you noticed through this blog and pictures on Instagram, I invested a lot of time into making that place feel like home. So when I moved over here, I didn’t even have the energy. We’ve been here since March and I still haven’t got this place organized. Let’s add that I truly thought I would be moving into the home I purchased this year but you all know what happened there. It’s a better apartment. Larger. Better views of the Detroit River. The neighbors are priceless. However, over the last half of the year, I’ve been living in a constant MAJOR construction site. They’re completely overhauling this property. This includes digging to install gas lines to offer residents forced and central air. Well, the majority of this smelly work is taking place right outside my windows and the smell is sickening. Now, the query on my brain is – do I wait for them to finish or move on to another place? I have time to think but I truly need to weigh out my options.


Year of Music – Oh, I saw some great acts this year starting with Thundercat. Chene Park offered up a few artists I couldn’t pass on. I didn’t hit the road as much this year for music but I had to see Chris Brown in Chicago. My cousin even got me out the house to see Xscape. Solange, Tyler the Creator, Boney James, Roy Ayers, Lalah Hathaway, Will Downing, Chante Moore and my jazz festival crew. In addition to those people, I saw a true legend this year – Patti Labelle. Outside of the live shows, I discovered a crew of new artists that I have every intention of seeing live – Smino, Moodchild, H.E.R, Daniel Caesar, and a few others.  My ears and heart were pleased. I didn’t make it to Paisley Park but I’ll get there in the new year.  My SeatGeek and StubHub notifications are loaded and I’m sure I’ll get around a little more in the new year.

AVMs – on Dec. 6, I called 911 to assist me because somehow the entire right side of my body went numb and I couldn’t get it to do what I commanded. As the dispatcher listened to my request for help, she asked, “why do you feel you’re having a stroke?” My response lacked no candor, ‘Bitch, because I’ve already had one. Help me.’ That was the best I could give her. The EMTs arrived and I dropped another B bomb. By the time I arrived at the local hell of emergency rooms, all my faculties were functioning. Afraid of a repeat battle with aphasia, I kept talking and reading everything. After a few hours and some rushed tests, they came back and said it was a TIA. Oh yeah, I thought, ‘fuck this I’m outta here’ and signed myself out. Then, my friend, Reggie appeared only to walk me back to the emergency room. (You never know how blessed you are until you look into the faces of your friends. My friends are unmatched. All of them are true blue. That’s only because they know the type friend I am.) As we sat there, catching up, laughing, trying to see if this nurse was worth him shooting his shot lol and talking about life, I appreciated him a little more. We were only planning to go out that night, I guess we did. Ha! He had done God’s work. I stayed in that hell hole until Friday. While I was there they diagnosed me as having another small stroke/TIA/vasoconstriction/AVMs. The reason it wasn’t a stroke is that I have no residual deficiencies. This TIA business was still up in the air but they presented 2 additional causes. These grabbed my attention and I needed to get to Dr. Miller at Henry Ford to confirm. I was active in a situation where I did NOT trust the people who had my life in their hands. After styling on them for one week in comfortable pajamas, twisting my hair daily, cleansing and moisturizing my face (thanks to Tamika) and laying on my satin pillowcase, I walked out calling my neurologist. He made room for me and I’m going to take all these findings over to him. I’ll let him tell me what our next steps are. One thing I know for sure, I’m going to live.

Rocket Love – After 4 years, the relationship I thought was going to mature into spending the rest of my life with Gino S., is over. Yep, that’s his name. I kept that real close, lol. himThis is the main reason I’ve gone missing over the last part of 2017. I don’t even have the energy to type it out. Bottomline: The feeling he had was that I was spying on him for the UAW or someone more powerful.  He’s being psychologically manipulated and I’m helping them do this to him. He doesn’t trust anything I say or even being around me. Trust me, I’m still confused but hey – maybe entering the institution of marriage – isn’t in the cards for me.  I still believe in love but at this point, I’m not sure if I even want to go through this again. This one hurt more than any other. The reason for this is because I’ve done none of what he believes and I truly felt I had found my best friend and life partner in this man. I stayed single for so long and when I opened myself up again, BAM I got hit. Understand this is the one thing I was protecting myself from and it still happened. Feel free to listen.  There is more but I just wanted to share a piece. My truth is all that matters to me.  Something that I’m not aware of happened (mental health issues) and he needed to push me away.

Book Author Ambitions – This year I decided to write a book. After writing this blog for 5 years and putting this idea on the back burner, I’m finally going to dedicate some time to finish it. If you follow me on Facebook, you can find out the title. I can promise you – it won’t be a short story. 🙂

New Assignment – In June, one of the best bosses I’ve ever had transitioned to the next chapter in his professional life. We truly had a great working relationship and you all know how much I enjoy stability but I had to accept this. His transition spearheaded mine and that included me moving away from everything I was familiar with except my parking garage. Lol, that had to remain the same. I may have started kicking and screaming. Moreover, this was my opportunity to show my worth on the team. Display that I had grown from the time I had joined the company. I had become more proficient and knowledgeable in the role. More importantly, this showed me they trusted me to transition seamlessly and learn about the new business organization I would be supporting. What I didn’t know was, this was only the beginning. At the end of November, I was informed I would be supporting our newest Senior Executive Leader. Wow! As word got around, the congratulatory messages and visits came and none was more surprising than that from Captain Stadwick. I still call him boss and always feel like I represent him and Rebecca. That’s the type of person I am – I just don’t want to disappoint the people that believe/support me. My new director seems nice and I’m sure we’ll build a great working relationship. Do I see you on the horizon STABILITY!? 🙂

Kid Graduating – I’m still excited about that kid graduating. He’s sincere about getting a degree. I think my sermons about making a life for yourself got through to him. With one img_4230semester under his belt, he’s still excited about school. We’ve experienced some bumpy roads but it was time for me to let him go & grow.  He’s becoming his own man and there’s not much I can do for him at this point.  He needs to work those things out for himself. I’m a little nervous about some military conversations he’s been having with some soldiers. I mean who would want their child to be in the military with a leader like 45. I’m not putting that guy’s name in my post but feel free to figure out who I’m talking about. Him graduating was certainly a major highlight of my life.

Lance – Y’all remember when I 1st start talking about getting a new car. I still love Cole but it was time for me to move on. After talking to our Technical Assistance Team, I settled on the CTS. Let me just tell you – I really love all the bells and whistles included in this vehicle. Eff all that – I love this car as a whole. The connectivity is unmatched. I haven’t even had it one year but I know I’ll be a repeat customer. It’s perfect for me. Don’t get me wrong there’s a vehicle from each of our brands that fit me. Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Silverado & GMC Yukon Denali. This Cadillac just spoke to me. Now, to try out the manual features when the weather breaks and only God knows when that’ll happen around Detroit. Lance

This hair – I still have my edges, more silver strands and it’s getting thicker. My plan is to wear wigs for the entirety of 2018. In addition, I will be doing chebe, hair supplements and deep conditioning on a regular basis. Some essential hair care practices were neglected throughout the year. My goal is APL by the end of 2018. I believe I can do it. So many stresses that were buried in my mind have eradicated themselves or I’ve made a pact to not allow them to drain me anymore. My complete health is important to me and that includes my hair. It may not be billowing curls like Tracey Ellis Ross but it’s all mine. I heart my hair, still.

My favorite Asian – On a quick getaway to Battle Creek, Michigan, I bumped into an Asian store owner. I’ll be the 1st to tell you, I only remember 25% of what he said. The thing that will remain with me until I die is something he said about time. “To waste time is to waste your life.” Even one minute is waste…. I share this message with you, don’t waste one moment of your life.

LIVE…. I’ll see you in 2018 with more smiles. 🙂

Chaos

At some point or another, we all have prayed for better days. Chaos or any of these – disorder, disarray, disorganization, confusion, mayhem, bedlam, pandemonium, havoc, turmoil, tumult, commotion, disruption, upheaval, uproar, maelstrom; muddle, mess, shambles, free-for-all; anarchy, lawlessness, entropy, can truly destroy your future. You have to let go of that mess in its entirety. Doing this will allow you to attain everything the universe has for you.

Keep smiling while you’re letting go, living and planning for the future.

🙂

Scared. Unsure. And insecure ideas crossed my mind on a daily basis.  Needless to say, I didn’t feel like myself.  The woman I knew only a few years ago was gone.  Only coming out in sporadic intervals within a week.  How was I going to get back to me? Where had Marti gone and why had she abandoned me? Along with everything else going on – this had become a necessary emergency.

There were days when I would be on top of the world. Life was good on the outside.  But something on the inside wasn’t quite right.  I was experiencing drastic mood swings, my patience was none existent, tears appeared from some foreign origin and I was basically staying in the house.  This certainly wasn’t in my character.  I was attempting to talk through this with friends. But when you’re a strong person, I’m sure you can understand how difficult this can be especially when everyone is counting on you to be their ray of sunshine, silver lining, and positivity.  So, that release that I was looking for I wasn’t getting.  I tried some of my regular coping methods and those only proved to help for a moment.  I tried ‘going into myself’ (this normally helps me recharge and recalibrate), writing my thoughts down and focusing on the big events of The Kid’s senior year of high school. But you probably guessed it – none of those worked either.  I had to get out of this funk. Strength

After some serious deliberation, I decided to contact a therapist for help.  My health was the main reason I sought out professional help considering the events of 2016.  Now, I’m sure you know/heard/read about the stigma of seeking mental health services in the Black community. “We don’t need professional help, that’s for white people, it’s a waste of money or pray about it.” These are some of the reasons they give for not getting help. Well, this was my response – I’m part caucasian with a little extra cash whose prayed about this and seeking professional help.  I was tired of feeling this way and I had to do something about it and Castlight was there to assist me.

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You can imagine the way I rejoiced during this scene from Insecure.

After finding the perfect fit for me (and that was determined by the tone of her voice when I spoke with her over the phone), I made an appointment.  Was I scared? Simple answer – Yes. As I walked into her office I noticed, there was no stereotypical chaise to help me relax and bare my soul, a few pieces of art to catch the eye and 2 red leather chairs positioned across from each other. Taking a seat was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life.  In the first session, we identified several areas within my being that I had never acknowledged or even knew about. At the end of the session, she gave a “prescription.”  This wasn’t medicine in the literal sense.  These were the things I needed to do before I saw her again to get my ideas and thoughts lined up to assist with my healing/treatment.  Before I walked out the door we scheduled my next appointment.

With every passing interaction, I could feel myself getting better.  It was beyond psychological.  I was rediscovering myself all over again.  They say “7 is the number of completion” and the last time I went looking for me was exactly 7 years ago.  I was in mourning.  A bereavement period for the younger Marti. The stoic, idgaf, social introvert, let’s have a good time, solo travel, football mom Marti.  Changes were happening all around me and I had to accept my place in all of it.  My kid was an adult to a point and I was anxious about his next steps.  There was a lot of movement going on at work.  I felt stuck due to aging parents.  I’m technically being given a 2nd wind.  My relationships weren’t the same. I needed to find and do the things a more mature Marti wanted to do.  And due to me not wanting to hurt any feelings, be viewed as selfish or revert back to the person I was 7 years ago, I was mentally fighting everything.  My worth was being re-evaluated.  New Marti needed me to love her as much as I loved the one from days gone.

I started to slow down and process/unpack things more carefully.  What I didn’t realize was I wasn’t letting go of everything.  Some traits, behaviors, and ideas would remain while others faded and that’s okay.  I was still in here I just had to embrace the new me in all its entirety. Honestly, I have noticed a change in myself since the therapy began. I’m not afraid of my thoughts and sharing them (even if that means I need to finesse the delivery.)

I went back and forth about posting this but I said: “wth this is my life.” Maybe my journey will help someone seek out the help they feel they need. Within this post, you will find a few links with additional information. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out.

I know you all are tired of me doing this – the disappearing act. Even if you’re not going to say it, I’ll tell you. I’d be tired of it myself but I’m back and I appreciate you all for stopping in and checking while I was out of the office. 🙂 There is so much to catch you up on. This is going to go by very rapidly but you can expect a post from me at least 3x a week.  Here are a few highlights from the posts to come:

  • House Hunting
  • PTSA Elections
  • Prom
  • Lance
  • New Assignment
  • This Hair of Mine and so much more.

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I need you to have the trust of a mustard seed in me.  The postings will being Friday and continue until this entire story is available for your reading pleasure.  Catch you in a few!

It was a nice August 16th and I actually wore a dress to work. I was fighting a headache for about 3 hours.  While joking with some co-workers, I realized I was unable to communicate in my normal fashion. Ut oh, this thing is happening again. I sat polarized for a few moments waiting for it to pass.  It didn’t and I packed my things up to go home.  As I walked through the door, my son knew something was wrong with me.  I was in complete denial. After 7 hours, 3 phone calls, my sister, and mom visiting, 2 hours of reading aloud, my son decided to drive me to the hospital.

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As I walked from the parking lot to the receiving desk, I cried. What was wrong with me? He had to speak for me because at the time – the words would not form as articulately as I desired them to. They rushed me to the back.  No real information had been given and I was extremely agitated when they told me I would have to stay. I let the kid know he could go home, no sense in us both being uncomfortable in this overcrowded Detroit hospital ER. In addition, I let the doctor know the only way I was going to stay was if they gave me something to go to sleep. Whatever it was that they gave me I didn’t wake up until someone was trying to take off my pants. (It was good but I ain’t had NOTHING that would make me NOT realize my pants are being removed.) I was in my own room. Oh shit! I need to let somebody know where I am. True to form my phones needed life support. Mission: Text as many critical communicators as fast as possible.

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Yeah, you read it right! They believed I had a small stroke. Not a TIA again.  An actual, fuck yo life up stroke. What was my 36-year-old ass doing in here being diagnosed with this? Something called an ulceration of my carotid artery. Causing me to experience some speech impairment. My son had contacted my family. Some of my FB family reached out to me that were actually working in the hospital and in communication with me through our group message. I had reached out to the Mister on my way home the previous day and he found out they were keeping me later on. I felt a lot better but I really just wanted to get out of there.

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I took so many tests my head began spinning and every day I thought would be the day I’d be going home. Home wasn’t on the agenda until Friday. While I lay in that uncomfortable hospital bed with these foam boots on my legs, I analyzed my life. I never planned on leaving my son alone without a sibling.  He was 17 and depending on only himself.  I thank God I had grocery shopped over the weekend. He would stay late into the night then go to practice and come see me afterward. My room buzzed in the evening hours with visitors. It was nice but I wanted to go. When they began talking about me leaving, I perked up.  When she brought me the discharge papers, I was dressed. The nurse wanted to wait for a wheelchair, I opted to walk out.  The smell of the fresh air was welcoming. The taste was fulfilling and walking through my front door brought immediate satisfaction.


The main side effect I experienced from this was -slight aphasia. In my eyes, this was right up there with losing the function of one of my limbs. I know it may sound a little vain but communication is one of my strongest attributes.  As I sat alone in complete silence, I would speak aloud – searching for the right word and annunciation. Each day I became more frustrated and withdrawn because I wasn’t 100%. No matter how much better others said I was, there was no I could accept it.aphasia

The doctor had referred me to speech therapy but I was waiting for them to reach out to me with an appointment date. In the meantime, through my Googling, I learned that continuous communication would help my chances of strengthening/curing my ailment. I didn’t want people to hear me like this but I knew I had A LOT to be thankful for considering what I had been through.

Saturday was my 1st full day out, I got dressed and went to get my nails done. Once I returned home, I received a call from the security desk with a delivery. The kind people from my job sent me a welcome home present. I could just eat up all the kindness I was feeling, no LITERALLY. This was just what the doctor ordered. I needed to do better with my eating habits and fruit never hurt anyone. A few family members came over to share in the get well greeting.img_1601

I wanted to get back to work. I needed to feel normal again. After a few long conversations with a good friend, it was decided that I would work from home for a few days then return. Monday morning, I slid into the office picked up a few things I needed and was whisked outside to prevent me from taking on any additional assignments. While at home, I realized I needed this time. My body was still tired from the uncomfortable hospital and early morning test. It felt good to be of some assistance to my team again. They all instructed me to take as much time as I needed. They knew more than I did because I hadn’t thought about the 99 follow-up visits. They all stopped by to check on me and wish me well. This was appreciated but I didn’t wanna feel like an invalid. Moreover, being back at work has certainly assisted with overcoming the slight aphasia I was diagnosed with my the doctor.

Mission: Take pills as instructed. I hate taking medication because I believe the body it so sophisticatedly independent – it doesn’t need any help getting better. Not so this time, I was ordered to take what I would consider to be a fist full of meds.

Taking this medicine was almost as frustrating as the aphasia. I had alarms everywhere. The pills were on the dining room table and I felt like shit if I forgot to take them. Then one day while out on a Sunday afternoon to get some air, he asks “Mom, what happened to your legs?” I’m completely oblivious.  I look down and around and-

The bruising caused by the Plavix and aspirin combination was too much and I fell into a depression. I struggled with if I had bumped myself by accident, should I look into getting some of those foam boots I wore in the hospital or stopping the meds. Which one do you think won? If you guessed stopping the meds, you’re absolutely right.  My vanity was taking control of me. I reached out to my doctor and she gave me the green light to stop taking the Lipitor. I continued to take the Plavix and the bruising continued.  It wasn’t until I went back to for my stroke follow-up that I was instructed to continue the Lipitor and aspirin to stabilize the cholesterol. It was during this visit,  I was referred to psychology. Check out the reason he thought I might need it. Ya think!?img_3019

I never used this and by this time I had been to the speech therapist. She was very comforting and gave me some good information on what I could do for continued strengthening of my vocabulary and communication skills. By this time, I was experiencing sporadic episodes of “not being able to find the right word.” I had to get better.

 

 

Mission: Look for alternative ways to stay alive. I’m sure many of you can guess this hasn’t been easy on my family. I’m so young and we have a history of stroke in our family. More than that, we have a long life expectancy. I mean my mother is 70 still cruising around doing her own thing. One night The Kid walks in after football practice and says, “I can’t go away to college and you’re sick.” No truer words have been spoken by a mother, ‘I’m going to be fine. You go on and live your life.’  This put me on a task like nothing else had already done. I have to stay healthy. Not only for me but mainly to keep this stress off of him. The main concern of the doctor is controlling the cholesterol. I can do that! I MUST do this.

Here’s what I have learned in my short recovery:

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These are the signs of stroke. I have to table my fear of the hospital and bills. If they could put all my medical info at the dentist office, I’d be alright.  🙂  I need to be open with those around me if I should have such an episode in the future.  Time is the most important thing. (If you pay attention to the first image in this post. You’ll see I’m extremely blessed to even be typing this right now.) There are NO signs of severe stenosis and no apparent reason to consider the surgical removal of the ulceration. I have a be a little more patient with myself and keep my phone charged (ain’t no telling where I may need to go). I like the way it was explained to me. “A stroke is like and accident on the freeway. There will be traffic while they are trying to clear it up and traffic begins to move as if nothing had happened. The wait is determined by the size of the wreckage.” I just had a small fender bender and I have to be more careful to prevent a pile-up. This happened to me to force me into a lifestyle change. I need to eat healthier – bottom line. My cholesterol isn’t bad but I need to get back to the gym to assist with this, as well. Most importantly, I made the decision to NOT have any siblings for my son and by God, he will not be alone until the creator is satisfied my purpose has been completed.

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I’m always catching somebody’s germs.  My contact with different people every day is off the charts.  Hand shaking and sitting in close quarters aid in me contracting something nasty.  Over the years, I have figured out a thing or two that helps me in these situations.  Allow me to show you how Pinterest and a few awesome results created the real EmerGIN C in my home.  One battle already fought and won with this and the season hasn’t really started.

Sore throat relief.  These are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Fresh Ginger
  • Lemon
  • Raw Honey
  • Mason jar/ resealable container

Cut the lemon and ginger into fine slices. Remove seeds from lemon. Ain’t nobody got time to be dealing with seeds if they’re feeling under the weather.

Layer ginger and lemon into the jar alternatingly.

Once you have completely layered all the lemon and ginger. Pour honey over top.

When you feel something trying to come on, add a tablespoon of this to hot water for relief.  Store in refrigerator for up to 3 months.

For instant relief to soothe your throat. Boil water and steep a small piece of ginger. Add honey, a shot of ACV and a dash of cinnamon.  Drink while hot.

Within 2 days I’m back to my old groove.  Let me know if you’re willing to try this.  What home remedies do you use to combat germs during the changing of the seasons and winter?

The #HealthyHairJourney is one of the most recognized tags in the world, right now. Everyone is embracing their natural hair or at least acknowledging those who have made the choice to take this journey.  Earlier this year I celebrated my 13th-year relaxer free and 3rd year with limited heat.  I’ve come to a very tricky fork in the road and the jury is still out with the verdict.

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Start of the year, my hair was booming.  Here it is after wash day in a flat twist. I noticed it was getting thicker and longer.  No one had touched my hair since the cut I received in November.  It was thriving and I was getting more excited about my next straightening and trim.  Time got away from me and I felt I needed to hold on a little while longer to retain a few more inches.  So, I decided to get some braids.

These felt comfortable.  The 1st set of braids I kept for 3 weeks.  On the next try, I called in the swift professionals at one of the local African braid shops.  Morning after morning, I jumped up, got ready for work and made sure my scalp was oiled.  I hadn’t had braids in a long time and I thought this would be the break I would need this year.  This had to be the best protective style for me.  My classic wig was starting to frustrate me – only because of its synthetic composition and the limited availability around town.  In addition, during this time I discover my hair is officially BLACK in color.  Not the same 1B it’s been my entire life.  The 2nd set lasted for 6 weeks.  I knew I needed to give my hair a break from this pulling of the braids.  This was my hair after removal.  I was in love.

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I did a YouTube search to find alternative protective hair styles to reduce the stress on my strands.  With an extra pack of braid hair on standby, I pulled off a high bun (but I didn’t get a picture).  I wore that for about a week but something wasn’t right with my hair.  It wasn’t performing as trained.  It felt harsh but I wasn’t plucking the knots anymore.  I knew I needed to get it trimmed.  Two flat twists with braid hair bought me a little more time.

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A subsequent wash day displayed some disturbing news.  I found several patches of hair in my head that were the length of my pinky finger.  WTF!?  When did this happen?  There were areas of my mane that are touching my chest, neck, and chin.  My heart and spirit sank – NOT AGAIN.  Let’s add this to the mix, I stopped taking the vitamins.  I was under the impression they were the cause of an acne breakout on my face.  I had no motivation to continue taking them.  I started to look into a salon near me to assist in getting my hair diagnosed.  My frustration with the possibilities was getting the best of me.  I conceded to the defeat with more flat twists and the shit still wasn’t feeling right.

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Can you see the difference from the beginning of the year?  I’ll answer for you – YES!  Even if you can’t just act like you can.  🙂  By the time of this picture, I had an appointment to get this shit resolved and see the true damages.  Let me just tell you – I had a severe breakdown when I saw it up close.  The hair was gorgeous in some areas and look like a rat had been chewing on it in others.  I held the tears back but I knew what needed to be done.  The truth of the matter is; I’d rather have healthy hair over long hair.  I ran my fingers through my tresses one last time and in one stoic breath I said: “cut it.”

img_1120Now, I’m back to the drawing board.  I’m not completely warmed up to this idea of entering salon life, again.  In this first week, has been so conflicting.  I miss my coils, curls, and the fullness of my hair in its natural state.  However, on the other hand, I like running my fingers and feeling the wind blow through it.  The compliments have helped immensely.  I hate this happened but I’m glad I’m strong enough to know when to let go.  More than anything else – I still had my edges!

I know what my signature look is and I’m going to achieve it.  The vitamins may get thrown back into the mix.  It looks like I need to go back to my old ways – mixing my hair products and staying on schedule.  Another old friend will be making a few appearances. Can you guess who it might be?  I know it’s just hair to some of you – to me, it’s another accessory to set your look apart from the rest.  Staying focused is the name of the game.  The rules might change but who’s going to judge me.  This one head of hair is a small portion of my own happiness – I don’t care what India Arie says.  LOL 😉