WAIT, Watch Her!

WAIT, Watch Her

The Reason Why I Smile TODAY is due to my appreciating my weight gain after becoming clean and sober. No one could have told me that slimming into a size small and size four would make me look so skeletal. I still had a beautiful smile and was pretty, so the disease told me I was OKAY! “Hey, you are still healthy looking,” the disease would firmly affirm.

Growing up with no self-esteem because of my weight and having those with whom I looked up to and loved constantly calling me fat or talking about my weight created a feeling of self-loathing that would last until December 1999 when I had the Bariatric surgery. For me, a drastic yet necessary decision. As children, we are molded by our surroundings and the people we love; when both atmospheres steal the ability to fully love ourselves, we become broken before we even begin growing.

As I got clean and started taking Zoloft for Severe Major Depression last year, I gained nearly sixty pounds in a few months. Comments from people in recovery meetings bothered me and caused me to feel like that little girl who was chastised for her large weight. My self-esteem was slightly bruised, although I still knew I was beautiful and sexy. I became obsessed with wanting to return to that size four and small, because I NEVER thought I would get to that size. For my height of five feet and THREE QUARTERS, I thought I could wing it successfully. NOT!

I started noticing a face smaller than slim, but I was too anxious and excited for being one hundred and thirty pounds first time in my life I OWNED IT. We can want an idea so badly that once we achieve it yet see it does not match who we are, we are so geeked about being that idea we overlook the reality of the new us. After the weight loss surgery in 1999, my self-esteem soared, and I had all the confidence of a fashion model, but when the addiction turned me into a size FOUR, you couldn’t tell me a thing!!!

TODAY, at one hundred and eighty-eight pounds, a size large and possibly an eight or ten (have not bought number sized clothes but can still fit my eights), I am grateful, self-assured, and comfortable in my skin. My focus is on getting and staying healthy and active physically, which does not always work. Gone are the despair, struggle, and stress from no longer be a small, extra small, or a size four. I AM beautiful as I AM!

My sobriety and clean time are most important, as well as my mental health. I have not craved or desired to drink in almost seven months or to abuse medicine in almost six months. My goal and struggle have been concentrating on my mental stability and receiving ALL the professional help available for me.

Instead of obsessing over if I will join WeightWatchers, I am saying, “WAIT, Watch Her”, because she is fabulous!!!

WHAT I AM LEARNING TODAY: I AM marvelous, intelligent, made in HIS Image, destined for so much greatness I will not BELIEVE it as I am receiving it. Even if my destiny seems so far away, through my pressing forward, I WILL see my destiny manifested. I am an inspiration for the broken, the sick, the one who thinks they lost their dreams because of their many and plenty mistakes. Consequences MUST be experienced when we make the wrong or bad choices, BUT as I am told in one of my groups, THIS TOO SHALL PASS, and even when it feels as if that is an untruth, IT will pass thanks to our HIGHER POWER and our willingness to not give up.

Be Inspired, and know I am holding your hands as we win together!!! 2.20

It Was ALL A Dream

Growing up, society screamed to get a career or to find a job and make a living. It did not even hint at figuring out our passion(s)! The unwritten plan was assumed: graduate high school, go to college, get a career, get married, buy a house, have children, and live happily ever after.

What we were not inspired to do was FOLLOW OUR DREAMS! In 1998, while working at Chrysler, I read in Essence magazine an article about how to find your passion. After reading passion is when you enjoy doing something you’d love to get paid for but would still do even if you did not earn money from it, it hit me HARD that writing was MY PASSION.

I have been writing since the first grade. I wrote an age appropriate, for 1981, story entitled, “Why Me?” Once I perused my memory and heart, I was convinced my passion was realized. It would take almost ten years for me to step out on Faith and take the 2008 Chrysler buyout in order to pursue that dream. What I did not know was regardless of our talents and paths drawn out by GOD, things would not turn out how I PLANNED THEM TO. Unfortunately for us, because we want what we want RIGHT NOW, time is of NO consequence to GOD.

Ten years after taking the buyout, although I am published, I am not a best-selling author/poet with innumerable editing jobs under my belt. This caused a downward spiral DEEP into a life of addiction. Not that this was my first run with abusing substances, but it definitely set me on an instant path to a life of ruin. Trying to ignore my Severe Major Depression diagnosed in 2001, I became an active addict unbeknownst to me, because the addict is THEEEE LAST TO KNOW SHE/HE IS AN ADDICT. Because the life I planned for myself did not turn out when I thought it would, I lost hope in myself, in what I knew GOD ordained for my life, and in my talent as an amazing writer. The belief in myself started its decline around 2013. Before that time, I was riding the high hopes of becoming known for my talent. I immersed myself into the Detroit Poetry Community in 2010 and became self-published: four poetry books and a fictional novel. Things were looking up until a year after I published my novel, Dreams Deferred in 2012.

I thought I was on the path of infamy. I just KNEW my novel was about to set me on top of the world. After 2015, I was pretty much a full blown somewhat managing addict but did not know it. I let the fact that I was not where I thought GOD and I wanted me to be to allow me to lose ALL types of Faith.

The road to greatness is NOT an easy or short one. Even knowing part of the end result does not mean IT will happen when we feel it should. Not knowing GOD’s full plan for my life, I spiraled away from HIS Mercy, Grace, and Protection – somewhat. Even though I was completely out of order, I WAS safe from a lot of hell I could have experienced while active in my addiction. Thank GOD HE looks out for babies and fools!

I thought because I was/am not a best-seller or wealthy by now that I was/am a failure in life. Little did I know and had to realize, GOD ain’t done with me. HIS Plans will not be determined by what I think should be going on. I had/have to learn true humility, a new type of patience, to fully trust in HIM, and so forth. HE knows the desires of our hearts. HE also knows where we can best serve HIM and humanity. Recovery is teaching me empathy for a wider range of subjects, self-sufficiency, responsibility, and a renewed belief in myself and my abilities. It Was ALL A Dream turned nightmare that is being a realized dream clean today. HE is showing me I am not only a writer but so much more.

WHAT I AM LEARNING TODAY: The process of recovery and life is knowing I know NOTHING! Also, LIFE is not over until my last breath is sighed. Our dreams will be realized if they are in line with GOD’s Plan. Be Inspired and know I am holding your hand as we win together!!!

Stay In Position

The Reason Why I Smile today is because I am experiencing GOD as a Father who still sees my light even when I am stuck in my darkness. The saying, “HE only helps those who help themselves” is not always true. HE often helps those who are unable to help themselves.  If we are struggling or doubtful but have the willingness to press on if in our “right” minds, then GOD may take the proverbial wheel and allow a window into the embryo of our dreams. My smile today is because I am seeing HIS working in my life through HIS human angels who see greatness in me.

The thing about depression is the instability within the same day. After returning to my antidepressants last Wednesday until I see a psychiatrist to adjust or change my medication, Thursday and Friday were two of my better days. Friday night, my sleeping issues were on full blast. I wrote about my troubling depressive mood that kept me frozen the entire weekend in a prior blog entry. I want to cut to those feelings lasting through Tuesday morning. I went to a support group and was introduced to many staff members who heard about my fictional novel, Dreams Deferred. One of the staff members bought my novel and discussed my possibly making a difference at the center. Later, I had another support group where through my sharing, someone expressed seeing me as a speaker. People mentioned my wonderful personality and ability to express myself as being a great asset. This helped me in dealing better with my depression. A lady spoke about understanding my struggles especially about feeling like a loser and like I am a failure.  

I do not like that others suffer, but it made me feel not so alone and misunderstood hearing that my insecurities are not unique. Pan back to the first support group on that day. I signed up with a recovery coach who told me to “Stay in position!” He mentioned some “sky ain’t even the limit” possibilities which caused a warm fuzzy feeling to permeate my entire being. Ah, that feeling was my active hope returning!

I am surrounded by people who want to help in my recovery and with my handling of my depression. These powerful people also see my light and want to help and utilize me as a tool for others. PERFECT!

This revelation has given me the ability to FIGHT much harder for my stability with my mental illness. I understand it is a lifelong battle and disease and not every day will be “roses, sunshine, and pretty puppies”, but for today, I will accept it is with an open heart, mind, soul, and with new appreciation.

WHAT I AM LEARNING TODAY: I must take life one day at a time ALWAYS. I must embrace where I am and take time for self as necessary. During this almost week of extreme depression, I was at peace although feeling hopeless. I must learn when isolation is affecting me and when solitude is effective for me.

Be Inspired, and know I am holding your hand as we win our fights together. This Is a WE action of love.

Every Day Ain’t Roses, Sunshine, And Pretty Puppies

The Struggle To Live

The Reason Why I Smile today feels like a difficult task. Recovery is a day at a time program. I use that same ideology for living my entire life today. So, TODAY, I am struggling with wanting to stay alive. I prefer to stay in bed or on the couch watching television. Social Media hides my true feelings, because I can wear an invisible mask of deception and post or share what I feel is needed. Needed, as in, what may help or entertain.

I had a decent day on Thursday and an amazing day on Friday, but that night, I could not sleep then Saturday was horrific. Those desires to give up or cause my smile to disappear or be fake returned. Planned events did not work out, so my mind could not compute or handle it. Most mornings, I am stifling a humongous knot in my stomach that screaming, to me, seems to be the only anecdote.

I wanted to share where I am, so my possible absence is understood. I hope to inspire, and in my feelings of deep depression, I hope I can move someone to keep fighting but understand your feelings to want to give up are not unique. . . you are not alone or wrong for these thoughts!!!

I realize it is a deficiency in my brain. Just like addiction, mental illness is a disease. Knowing this makes me feel somewhat normal and not like an evil person who cannot control her moods. Knowing this, still does not ease the sadness of feeling unwell. People who do not understand are constantly tying to advise to pray, have faith, think positively. Although great ideas, they do not always work. People who commit suicide or can not shake off their depressive moods are not people who do not have faith, believe in GOD, refuse to try positive coping skills, or any other possible anecdote to “think themselves happy”. It IS a disease, and it is real!

I must end this post with an honest self-assessment: I am not having a good moment…or day. I am concerned about my mental illness, because I fear living my life in a mental institution or completely losing my mind and becoming incoherent or unable to be a productive or sane member of society.

WHAT I AM LEARNING TODAY:  Sometimes, the best intentions may not work. I must keep working and pressing forward, even when everything in me wants to quit! “This too shall pass”, even when nothing in me agrees.

Be Inspired, and know I am holding your hand.

The Writer’s Break: Excerpt from Soltreu’s fictional novel, Dreams Deferred

After reading, contact me to purchase your own copy!!! For ONLY $20 cash or through PayPal: paypal.me/Soltreu (add $5 if being delivered).

Read the Prologue:

Gunshots blasted and echoed inside the father’s memory as he collapsed into his son’s arms breathing his last breaths. Having been shot trying to shield his son from danger, the father wanted to assure his son that everything would be alright even though the father suspected he would die from his wounds. “Dad!” his son yelled.
“Dad, don’t close your eyes,” the son continued.
“Son, I love you. I will always be with you. You have to take care of your mother now. You are the man of the house,” the father choked in between taking large breaths or air.
“Dad, I don’t wanna be the man of the house! I just want you to be okay!” the son exclaimed. As the father drifted in and out of consciousness, he regretted putting that type of pressure on his son.
As the police arrived at the convenience store near Woodward Avenue and I-75 to take reports and assess the damages, and the ambulance rushed to the father’s aid, the son stood motionless watching his father, his hero, being strapped to a gurney blood gushing everywhere. The emergency technicians took the father’s pulse, blood pressure, tried to stabilize the bleeding, and put the uncomfortable neck brace around the father’s neck for the bumpy ambulance ride to the hospital a few miles away.
The son rode to the hospital with his father. He held his hand and told him how much he loved him and how everything was going to be OK. “It just has to be,” the son moaned. He sat in the waiting room at Receiving Hospital while his mother and the rest of the family crowded the waiting room pregnant with grief.
Doctors worked on the father all night but the bullet entered through the father’s stomach traveling straight to his heart. They were unable to save this father who died to protect his son from young heartless thugs attempting to rob the convenience store. A night watching the Tiger’s win at Comerica Park ended with a sixteen year old son without a father and a wife without a husband.

The emergency waiting room exploded with tears and shouts of anguish late the next morning as the son listened to one of the doctors explain to his mother how his father lost too much blood.
“The bullet traveled to his heart. I am sorry. There was nothing we could do,” the head emergency trauma surgeon announced to the grieving woman in front of him.
“The EMTs tried to keep your husband stable enough so the bullet would remain closer to the entry wound, but the velocity damaged the tissues that held it in place,” the surgeon offered before locking eyes with the son who tried to save his father.
As the grieving widow sat motionless, she would not let anyone console her, not even her son. “What am I to do without you?” she whispered. “I can not go on without my soul mate,” the mother whined. She left the hospital with son in tow a changed woman and her son a changed boy with a heavy weight on his shoulders to be the man his father raised. The son did not know how he would live without the direct guidance of his father especially after losing his grandfather the year before. “I gotta be the man my dad needs me to be from now on. I gotta take care of Mama and make a way for us,” he mumbled as they drove home from the hospital and into an uncertain future.

The family was offered grief counseling and the mother agreed it would help in their healing. She made appointments with her church’s grievance minister. The healing would not come quickly. The mother would focus only on her husband and not much on her son’s pain. The son would be overwhelmed with his assumed role as the head of the family. Stressing over how he would get a job to help his mother and still be able to concentrate on his high school education will eventually misguide the son.
When he was alive, the father refused to let his son get a job unless it was during the summer. He felt a child should be able to focus on his education and not be consumed with the pressures making money created. While in therapy, the son’s concerns also turned towards his mother. He told the minister that his mother was distant, and he felt she blamed him for his father’s death. The son wanted the love of his mother but was often met with a cold shoulder. She cared for his well-being like a good mother, but she lost the emotions to truly love her only child leaving him to fend for himself.
The son would live a life dedicated to the streets, and suffer the consequences it promised. He would become a drug dealer, go to prison, then fight to be the man he was meant to be and follow his dreams. “I am just trying to live like a real man,” he often said while he was running the streets. What he failed to realize was although he no longer had a father to guide him, his father instilled enough lessons in him to carry him through his adulthood. The son would realize his father’s dreams for him and fight to make them a reality. He just hoped he would make his dreams come true before the streets claimed him for good.

If you are in the Detroit, MI area, be a part of my book signing at They Say Restaurant on Friday, March, 1, 2019. Details forthcoming.
267 Jos Campau
Detroit, Michigan 48207

Writing DEPRESSION out of my life

The Reason Why I Smile today is because of wonderful changes of events. For the past, few days I have been writing three things I am grateful for nightly. I found a Gratitude Journal in my Play Store and have been committed to completing them daily. I want to share my latest entries in hopes it will influence you to follow suit doing your own Gratitude Writings.

  • I am grateful that I fully understand that I am powerless over my addictions, but they can be arrested.

Knowing that there is NO way to get around using any mind- or mood-altering substances, because it is more powerful than I, is freeing when I realize my Higher Power is more powerful than my addictions and me. I believe HE has allowed people to create resources for us on Earth. Although GOD can completely take all iniquities away, through our free will to make mistakes and bad decisions, HE gives us the ability to choose our way. For example, will I continue to kill myself, or will I choose the path of recovery? We need to do more than simply allow something else, our Higher Power, to restore us without moving a muscle to help ourselves.

  • I am grateful to have had a pretty decent day.

By my depression taking a hold on me causing me to not feel my light, I am grateful today was a “Good Day”, as Ice Cube wrote/performed. I am taking life one day at a time and enjoying when my inner sun shines so brightly within myself depression cannot see its way through my mind. Tomorrow is not promised, so I am appreciating my sunny day of today.

  • I am grateful for the people in my life who believe in me and desire to help me.

My day started with an appointment with one of the directors of the nonprofit I am paid to serve. I decided to renew my term. While discussing my goals, dreams, and wishes, she gave her insight of me. She expressed where she saw me growing within the organization and wanted me to sign up for a much longer term with more hours, which would increase my stipend!

At the bus stop after my appointment, someone I know through one of my recovery fellowships called to explain he was in the process of discussing with the site’s manager the details of my upcoming book signing for my novel, Dreams Deferred. (He previously offered to assist me in this novel I published and had a few book signings in 2012 and 2013). Not even knowing but seeing my intellect and light and personality, this man is busting his tail in order to help me with my dream of advancing my writing career!

My night ended with another person who saw my energy, potential, and light wanting me to be a part of his recovery team where I could get involved in paid job training that will guarantee me a job at one of the Big Three automotive manufacturing companies. Ironically, it is for the company I took the buyout from ten years ago!

As “they” say, “BUT GOD!!!” Even in our depression, people will see our true selves and pass along Blessings and opportunities afforded them.  GOD uses HIS people, the humans on Earth, to carry HIS message and to Bless HIS children.

An added appreciation is of the personality I have. A lady sitting next to me at a meeting tells me she is glad to finally be at a table with me and to sit next to me. She felt my energy and feels I am such a great person. When I told her I suffered from depression, she was FLOORED! She asked if I needed to talk, understanding my struggle because of her own. I may take her up on her offer one day.

This made for a beautiful end to a day of tremendous progression.

WHAT I AM LEARNING TODAY: EVEN when at your low points, your true light is still shining brightly. When it dims, because of its original illumination, people will notice just as they notice when the moon trades places with the sun. You are not in such a state of darkness that you completely lose yourself.

I made this a YOU and not ME statement, so you can see this for yourself; it is for us!

ALSO, writing a gratitude list forces me to look at what I am grateful for PERIOD! It helps to read them often to see the jewels we have in our lives that we overlook.

Be Inspired, and know I am holding your hand as you hold mine! We recover together; we win together!!! 00000000000

Holding On

The Reason Why I Smile at this moment is because I got through the day alive even when EVERYTHING inside of me was screaming for me to completely let go and stop my fight!!! There is a song by Gregory Porter entitled, Holding On. The beginning grabs my entire soul.

“Weight of love on my shoulders
I thought that it would be easier than this
I found my heart had grown colder

But the warmth of your kiss, I can’t dismiss

Though my past has left me bruised
I ain’t hiding from the truth
When the truth won’t let me lie right next to you

But it’s holding on
And it’s holding strong
Even though I tried to make it
Played the part, but I can’t fake it
It keeps holding on
And it’s holding strong
Even though I tried to break it
Heaven knows that I can’t shake it”

This morning when my alarm clock went off, I instantly cried out hysterically. I was upset to be alive! The pain of my depression had such a hold on me, I could not feel the love for life. I am not sure what a panic attack is, but I am sure I had one. It took a while to get out of bed. I was anxious about being around people at work. I had several crying spells as I readied for work.

Once I got started, I could handle my emotions a tad bit better. This song speaks to my depression and to my past errors or issues with forgiving or pardoning myself. Its intent may have been about love, but my interpretation has taken me to a deeper level within my psyche and within my entire inner person. When I sing it, I feel as if I am calling off every negative piece in my soul – that feeling that tells me I will fail, and I am worthless.

I had a women’s support group and recovery meeting to make and was instantly given amnesty from my feeling of self-defeat. I shared about how I have been struggling with depression and oftentimes, what I know cannot help me press forward.

BUT I am still alive today, and that truly matters.

I am fighting today. I have a therapist I’ve been seeing for many months, listen to recovery memoirs on Audibles, write in a gratitude journal per an app on my cell phone, and so forth. Even with all these tools, I still find it difficult to not want to die. I am sharing this, because I am still here, and I am truly fighting what I pray is a winning battle although it feels like it will pull me under many times.   

WHAT I AM LEARNING TODAY: Life and progression is not over until IT IS over! I am worth the fight for my life, because GOD has so much in store for me to be a tool for others as well as for me to just live my best life yet.

Be Inspired. Know I am “Holding On” and holding your hand as we fight through our journeys together.