Earlier today I told someone that I would blog about my experience with Speed Dating. So far I’ve tried it out twice. Once was in Colorado where I was one of the youngest and the only person of color at the event. It was cool but I didn’t make any connections. My more recent attempt came around a Valentine’s day event that focused on young professionals. I got off work and rushed downtown where the event was being held. I was somewhat nervous going by myself but had decided that this would be my social event for the week in my intentional effort to get out there more instead of being at home all the time. So I got into the venue and it was pretty chill. There was a panel discussion scheduled before the speed dating and it hadn’t started yet so everyone was mingling and/or looking as lost as me because they were alone too. So in true introvert fashion I ordered a drink and found a quiet space to people-watch. I don’t know how it happened but soon I found myself chatting with a guy standing next to me. He seemed pretty cool and he also had a pretty decent government job (bonus points). We chatted through the panel and then split up for the actual speed dating event. The speed dating process was fun but very abbreviated. I met an eye doctor, several lawyers, a personal trainer, teacher, and financial analyst among others. I liked the fact that everyone was around my age. Speed dating ended and the guy and I started chatting again. We seemed to be vibing pretty well. He left for a second to catch up with one of his work colleagues that had come to the event. While he was gone one of the bar’s waiters came up to me to inform me that it appeared that the guy was feeling me. I was admonished to not miss out on my blessing. The funny thing was that the waiter was convinced that this guy was “the one” and that I would regret it if I didn’t make some type of move on him. On paper the guy sounded pretty good. Worked in IT, planning to get a masters, had a pre-teen kid that lived out of state, etc. We exchanged numbers and he graciously offered to walk me to my car which I appreciated because there were all kinds of characters (literally) lurking around. A few days later he texted me and asked me if I wanted to “hang out” over the weekend. I suggested going to lunch and he agreed. Great plan. The only thing was that this was all done over text message and it took him a minimum of 6 hours to reply to any text message from me. I tried to be understanding as we were both working professionals and he was also working full time nights in addition to his day job. I told him that he could pick the restaurant and he picked one that was about 5 minutes away from his house. This was fine but it also meant that I had to make the twenty-something mile drive down to his area of the city. I got to the place on time and let him know that I was there. He said he was “right around the corner.” Twenty minutes later he pulls into the parking lot. I was pretty annoyed at this point considering that I was the one who had driven the farthest and he (self admittedly) had nothing to do at home but was still late. We order the food (he paid) and went to find a place to sit. During this whole time dude stays on his phone returning text messages. It was bordering on obnoxious but he was still able to carry on a conversation without it being too bad. Observing the effort that he was putting into returning my text message I figured that the writing was on the wall. He gave the typical guy speech of “I’m ready for something serious but I’m not in a hurry.” But then he immediately jumped to asking when he could come over to hang out. He said that his place wouldn’t work because it was under renovation. Thankfully I caught the “coming over and hanging out” clue because it’s literally code for “I only want one thing.” I was admittedly a bit disappointed because he actually seemed cool and I gave vague answers on the timeline of him coming over to the house. I mentioned the delay in responses to text messages and he blew it off saying that he was busy at work most of the time and couldn’t read them. But he promised he would do better. The next week came and it became obvious he wasn’t serious as it was taking him days to return texts. I figured that it was better to cut my losses and told him that coming over was off the table for the foreseeable future until I had more evidence that there was a potential for something serious. I never heard from him again. Crisis averted.
Like many millennials I’ve come to really appreciate the convenience of online shopping. There’s something satisfying about ordering an item and getting it in the mail two days later. It’s easy because I don’t have to leave my house. I can remember something I forgot at the store, order it it in less than five minutes and then forget about it. Last year I decided that it was time to get a new car. My 1998 Honda Civic had been reliable and great on gas but it was challenging driving a stick shift in 3 hours of rush hour Atlanta traffic every day. Like many people, I knew I didn’t want to go to various car dealerships getting price quotes and dealing with shady car salesmen. So I decided to go with the online option because I thought it would be less stressful. And I was right. I picked a car, got financing approved and it took about an hour. My car arrived five days later and the company dropped it off at my house. It was the first time that I had the chance to test drive the car and I had 7 days to try it out before deciding if I wanted to keep it or get my money back. Definitely an experience I’ll do again.
One thing about my new role is that I have the opportunity to be present for people while they do through hard times. My dissertation topic focuses on married black women and work life balance. So naturally I’m especially intrigued by clients who match the population that I’m studying in my academic life. Black women have higher rates of depression and anxiety than their White counterparts but are also less likely to seek treatment. Week after week I hear black women tell me that this is their first time in therapy or the first time they’ve opened up to anyone. Many tell stories of being discouraged from going to therapy by their families who say that they just need to have faith or pray more. Others speak of being judged by their faith leaders because they feel like they need to talk to someone and just reading the Bible is not enough. It’s ok to need help and it’s ok to get help. The commonality in many stories is that they are all expected to be strong and hold the family together through anything. They feel guilty crying or expressing emotions because they need to keep a straight face and move on. So many have been just existing in survival mode for so long that they’ve lost sight of their own dreams and aspirations. We have to stop discouraging people from getting help. Stop expecting your friend to be ok because she appears “strong.” There’s usually more going on than meets the eye and we have to stop assuming that things are fine. Because sometimes they aren’t.
I’ve made so many decisions since I moved back the South. Where I was going to live, what I was going to do, where I wanted to go, etc. In addition to starting a new job, I’ve also been tasked with keeping up with another job I have and simultaneously getting another two jobs off the ground and running. The thought of totally working for myself has always scared me to an extent. As an unmarried single person, there isn’t even the “safety net” of a spouse who could hold me down while I got something off the ground. I remember reading a quote that said entrepreneurship is like jumping off a cliff and building a parachute on the way down. The thing about building a location based business is that you have to be willing to put down some roots in order to build up some clientele and network. It isn’t something that happens overnight and it takes some deliberate effort. But maybe it’s time to do something different and consider settling down for a change. While I love the idea of some stability, I also hate the feeling of being stuck without a good reason. And if I have to settle down I want it to be close to a beach where I can see and swim with some dolphins. But the truth is that if I’m taking the fairly big step of renting an office, then I need to do something that actually justifies the monthly fee that I’m paying. Logistically, having even two private clients a month would pay for the office itself. Two people out of a city of several million doesn’t sound too bad. It just means that I need to be strategic and market appropriately. Maybe it’s time to step out and do something different. I don’t love the idea of working for other people for the rest of my life.
It’s funny how life goes sometimes. You prepare the best you can and then you have to make the best of what happens. Two years ago at this time I was having the time of my life in Paris and going on road trips to the countryside. This year is drastically different as I’ll be going into the office and working with clients. But to be fair, I was in Paris earlier this year so I can’t complain. The field of social work is so varied and throughout my career so far I have found myself in a lot of different settings playing multiple roles. My recent venture has me once again diving into the world of being a therapist. It’s a role that I haven’t been in consistently for a while, but one that I went to school for when the medical school plan didn’t work out. Contrary to popular belief, it’s so much more than just listening to people. Working at an outpatient clinic and working with the general public pretty much means that I deal with a little bit of everything. I don’t have a specialty or a specific diagnosis that I primarily work with. Every client requires a different skill set and theoretical framework. It really makes me grateful that I had an amazing post-graduate education that is actually paying off. A lot of clients just want to know that it’s ok to not be ok. It’s a change in pace from running around constantly in a hospital and doing a lot of case management. So far so good I guess. We’ll see what the rest of this year brings.
I feel like I haven’t blogged in a while and it’s actually true. Another cross-country move, getting settled in, and starting another job. As someone who has gone through multiple transitions this year, the thought of being settled–even for a little bit, definitely has some appeal. I can’t believe that the year is more than halfway over and I find myself asking what’s been accomplished. I’ve been so future focused but I also want to be more intentional about living in the moment. The year began pretty low-key but has been going almost nonstop. But I have to say that I’m glad to have made it this far. I’ve always been one to be constantly on the lookout for new opportunities and there may be some of those on the horizon. I decided to take a break from dating since I’ll be working as a therapist again and I don’t want to compete with my clients on the “men ain’t shit” stories. Needless to say, it might be nice to start considering settling down. Living out of a suitcase for the past 10 months definitely has it’s downsides. I’m going to make more of an effort to write consistently in the next few months. Hold me to it.
I can’t lie. I absolutely love going to the beach. There’s just something inherently peaceful about large bodies of water. Last week I went to south Florida to spend some time on the beach and it was absolutely amazing. Even though I came back with a mild sunburn as a souvenir, it was worth it. One day I’ll live close to a beach and sit out every day for a little bit.