Last week was a heavy one. The doctor did not have good news (a trademark of the medical profession maybe?) as my son’s development is practically non-existent. However, at this precise time is where faith steps in and the Holy Spirit lets me know that everything will be alright through the actions of others. The same day, my son pooped in the toilet. It was completely against his will on his part. I had to hold him while he wriggled but the task was completed. Although it hasn’t happened again, he must’ve gained some confidence because he’s no longer afraid to go into the bathroom by himself. Just earlier tonight, I overheard him lifting and dropping the toilet seat. Within seconds, he was pulling on me because his pamper was loaded. I missed the cue. Communication with my son is an ongoing daily learning process for me.
A process…seems to be the description of my entire existence right now. To go from an independent and securely employed mother of two teenage girls in 2010 to a mother of two young adult women, one slow learning disabled son and dependent upon SSDI (Social Security Disability Income) was not a part of my plans by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I was always saying how I was going to do just the opposite. People always asked, “When are you having a little boy Tamika?” My response was always, “Never. Ever.” My plans were to put my daughters through college while continuing to work for 9-1-1 and take extravagant vacations whenever I could. Writing books was going to be my side hustle. I used to write all of the time on the midnight shift when the call volume was slow. I mostly wrote personal journal entries to relieve the stress caused by my personal life. All of my cursing and screaming, crying, etc. was done silently on notebook paper just so I could tolerate callers who cursed at me (as if their personal problems were all my fault). So, to keep from cussing back at them, I had to write. I started with my rookie novel: “18 Years of Grace and Mercy: A Teenage Mother’s Testimony, Vol. 1” (America Star Books, Jan. 2012). It was a novel that I was going to “put on the shelf” and shop around for a publisher, agent, or whatever came next. I had no experience in publishing whatsoever back in 2010 when I wrote the novel. Once the novel was completed, all hell broke loose in my personal life. My father became deathly ill and I became unexpectedly high-risk pregnant. My paternal grandmother had also became extremely ill, which was important in my life because I had been transporting her to her doctors visits for a few years. My grandmother was an old-school Christian woman and ordained minister. Going to church every Sunday morning is of utmost importance in the doctrine she reared her children and grandchildren. I could not make it to church every Sunday because of my job. Therefore, I’d take her to her appointments in the the middle of the week when I had days off and no one else was able to help her. It was during all this turmoil, that I received divine instructions to pursue a writing career. Credible information regarding publishers and the writing industry was being told to me without my asking or researching. Since then, my grandmother has passed away, and my father’s health has been up and down. My priorities have changed to developing my writing career and caretaking of my son and father. Hindsight is always 20-20, and to this day, I do not regret making the major changes because it would have been very difficult to work such a stressful job and take care of my incapacitated family. However, the independent working woman deep within is starting to become bored and dissatisfied. For the past several months, I’ve felt trapped by my circumstances. I wanted to get a part-time job, but my boyfriend got a new job with hours that won’t allow me to do that without interfering with care for my son. I’m having to let go of my father’s care because he’s become so dependent on me that he hardly does anything for himself and doesn’t go anywhere outside his apartment anymore. The working woman within never liked staying at home, housecleaning, caretaking and other tasks on the long list. So now, I am having to re-channel her energy into my writing career. Instead of working for others, I have to work for myself. I do a lot of research on the writing industry at my public library. What I’ve read thus far is pretty discouraging, especially to those who expect to get rich quick from having a writing career. For some folks it happens, but for many, it does not. In order for my inner working woman’s career to take a path it’s never taken, she’s got to go places she’s never gone, and do things she hasn’t done before. For example, blogging. I don’t completely understand it, but I am doing it, and expect to get better at it. I recently attended a “Night of Conversation and Poetry with Dr. Nikki Giovanni” in Mesa, Arizona. They had a question-answer session. My question was the first one, and it was asking for advice for writers using social media and the internet to advance their careers. Her advice was simple, “Yeah do it. Because in one hundred years, you’ll want your work to be mentioned and this is how it’s getting out now.” I never thought my career would be successful bypassing the internet nor social media; however, I wanted to be sure it was worth the time and effort taken away from developing current writing projects. And that seems to be the position of most current writers. Another area of my career that needs developing is financing. I asked the Lord in prayer one night why would He instruct me to leave a $80,000/year job to get on disability and start a writing career. It’s too hard. Cumbersome. Burdensome. Depressing. I didn’t get my answer for a few nights and it was over the pulpit in a sermon that I received the answer. It came from a guest bishop who was delivering the sermon on a Friday night evening service. I had no prior conversation with him, and he’s not a local minister. His words were: “God uses nothing to make something. He always makes something out of nothing. That’s how we know it’s Him.”
Well, I am going to blog through this process of being made something out of nothing. I take that back because I am more than nothing. What I have is more than nothing. So, the process of becoming something more out of something already is what I’ll name this process. I succeeded raising two beautiful women when I became their mother as a teenager. My family, friends, and society at large all said we were doomed for failure. It was the Lord that brought me through that social stigma; therefore, I am going to trust Him to remain good on His promises to me, and help me endure two other social stigmas (caretaking for autistic son and diabetic father) that are affecting a great number of people more so than it has in the past. It’s tough keeping the faith, but as I stated before, whenever something bad happens or has been said, something else inspiring happens to keep me on the path of faith and enduring the process.