Does Anyone Else Get Triggered by Notifications?

So, I’m currently on this social media break, right? Well, I’ve been trying out some of the fancy new features on the S21+, including Bixby Routines and Focus Mode, so I set a focus mode to specifically keep IG and Snapchat locked and had it running for the first few days of this month. All was well until Saturday night when my Sabbath focus mode ended. Apparently, it cancelled out my February focus mode blocks (even though my February focus mode was still running) so a few notifications from IG popped up and caused me to feel just a tiny bit of panic.

It’s such a stupid thing for me to freak out about. The thing is, when I’m trying to avoid something (or someone), its sudden and unwanted presence tends to make me feel a little anxious. Maybe I feel like seeing notifications will make me feel like I have to respond or make me feel guilty for being absent. But the truth of the matter is that it’s likely none of those notifications are terribly important. The most likely scenario is that my cousin is sending me reels. They will be there when I get back, and if they aren’t that’s okay too.

I also felt this way at work, though. I was so burnt out that just seeing that colored dot on Slack or hearing the *click click click* notification sound would instantly increase my heart rate. I would avoid looking at emails and Slack messages for as long as possible because I knew they always indicated adding more work to my already full plate. Eventually, though, I knew my boss would be messaging me again asking me to confirm I received her instructions and was working on the task, so I had to act.

I’m still healing from the trauma inflicted by the past year and a half, and I decided that I wasn’t going to risk being triggered again by my failed focus mode, so I went ahead and uninstalled IG and Snapchat from my phone. I’ll reinstall them in March and hopefully come back refreshed.

The first week of this social media break and pouring into myself has not been as fulfilling as I would have liked. I did start reading a new book, bought myself flowers and candles, and pampered my skin a little more, but I also spent three days stressing about maintenance coming into the apartment while I was out, so I ended up cancelling my beach plans. Maintenance coming in without me home is one of the things that triggers anxiety for me. I have to be able to see (and sanitize after they leave) everything they touch, and I also want to make sure they aren’t digging into private things.

When we were showing my parents’ house to sell, someone went through my dresser drawer (that I had taped up to prevent such invasion) and it sent me into a really bad panic attack, so maintenance personnel having free range of our space causes a lot of anxiety for me.

I’m planning for this week to be better, though. I’m getting my hair done, trying a new place to eat, and may even head to a museum for half a day. I haven’t yet decided if it should be a chocolate museum or a circus museum, or if I want to redeem my missed beach day from last week, but I’ll figure it out.

In the meantime, I’m trying meditation, reading The Lost Book of Adana Moreau by Michael Zapata, and not curbing my current obsession with a hot morning chai. I like to steep two bags of chai tea (one if the tea is well flavored) with extra ginger and cinnamon. Then I heat my oat milk with vanilla extract and brown sugar before mixing it with the brewed tea. It’s been a great replacement for my budding coffee habit. I don’t get the jitters or the tummy ache, but I still get the nice warm creamy drink, so it’s a win.

How are you all doing during this Black History Month of Love? What are you reading? What are you drinking? How are your goals coming along? Let me know!

Happy Reading!

New Desk, a Social Media Break, and a Month of Loving on Myself

Hello February and Happy Black History Month!

I posted on Instagram a few days ago, reminding myself that painted desks aren’t paint-proof. You see, I recently upgraded from a small glass desk (it was an office entryway table in a former life, and by “former life” I mean “at my old property management job”) to a big girl desk that I painted white.

I’ve been eyeing big white desks for some time as I gather my thoughts and ideas for my new home office (our move keeps getting pushed back, so we still have a couple months to go, but I have decided on a navy, blush, white, and rose gold color scheme), so when I came upon a big wooden desk on Nextdoor for $75, I had to snatch it up.

I spent a week and a half sanding, priming, painting, and sealing this desk. There are so many voices on the internet telling us chalk paint doesn’t need all of that, but this desk isn’t just a decorative piece. I use my desk for work, writing, journaling, eating, crafting, painting, and all other manner of things, so I want it to be durable and last several years (maybe decades). As I was painting a small vase (it came as a gift but the birds painted on it didn’t fit my preferences so I painted it blush), I reminded myself that it is imperative I get a clear topper for my desk if I don’t want to ruin it. I could clean paint off my old glass desk with a couple drops of rubbing alcohol and a paper towel, but that wouldn’t fly for this new desk.

Now, I’m on the search for an inexpensive sheet of clear acrylic to cover the desktop (glass would be too heavy and out of my budget). That way, I can have the clean white look I’m going for while also having an easy to clean top that won’t get ruined by a little paint. Bonus, I’d be able to use the top as a dry erase board! I found a shop on Etsy with decently priced pieces, but shipping for a 5-foot sheet of acrylic would be almost $60. It would also be a headache for the shipper and the mail service, so I’m going to see if I can source something locally that I can just pick up and save us all a bit of frustration. I’ll update you on IG once I figure that out.

If you don’t follow our Instagram page… I don’t blame you. I’m not particularly active over there. After all these years, I still haven’t figured out how to be consistent on Instagram (outside of doom scrolling when I’m stressed, that is). And, because I’ve been doom scrolling a lot recently, I’ve decided to take an early social media break this year. I usually take one around my birthday so I can spend more time reflecting on the past year and the year ahead, but I feel a deep sense of needing to reconnect with myself right now, so I’m taking all of Black History Month to disconnect from socials and reconnect with myself (and God) by reading, writing, and spending more time outside.

I will still be posting weekly here, though, so don’t go anywhere. I’m just taking a break from the noise and showing myself some love. I have monthly, weekly, and daily goals for February. My daily goals include starting a meditation practice and not rushing through my morning devotional time. Weekly, I want to spend at least one morning at the park, even if only for half an hour. For the month, it’s reading two books and drafting as much of my next collection of essays as possible. I have several pieces saved on my laptop that need a lot of work, as well as notes in my phone for pieces I need to draft. I need to rebuild my writing habit, and I also want to check out the local author resources at the county library near me.

Of course, I’ll let you know how my February goes, and I might have some new things to share when the month is over. In the meantime, let me know how you are making sure to keep in tune with yourself. Also, what are you currently reading? I need more titles to add to my mile-long list of books to read.

Tananarive Due: The Black Rose

The Black Rose is a story of Madam Sarah Breedlove McWilliams Walker, a hair culturist and one of the first Black female millionaire.

In the simplest of summaries, Sarah Breedlove was the child of slaves, a washerwoman, a cook. She’d had problems with her hair most of her life. It was dry, itchy, and wouldn’t grow. Until she started concocting her own formula in her kitchen and using what’s now referred to as a hot comb. She not only sold her hair products, but she taught other women to do hair by The Walker Method and sell her products as well. Many of those women attended her beauty school. This made her millions of dollars, in the early 1900s, and allowed other women financial freedom as well.

The book is well written, engaging, and insightful. It is a work of fiction, however, so not all of the characters and events happened as written. Tananarive Due did well with this.

Now, in my last post I mentioned not wanting to refer to Madam Sarah Breedlove McWilliams Walker by her more well known name Madam C.J. Walker. Here’s why: she was much more than C.J. Walker’s wife. She’d developed and started selling her hair products before she even met him. Additionally, he left her for a woman who wanted Sarah’s formula (in this book). Sarah had already built her company with his name so she felt that she was stuck with it or else she’d have to start over.

I’m not married yet, but I can imagine that once I do get married I will love being Mrs. [whatever my future husband’s last name is]. However, a woman shouldn’t ever feel stuck with her husband’s name after they have separated, especially when the separation was on traumatic terms.

Walker didn’t create Sarah. Sarah bloomed under each of her names, her strength came from each of her names, her formula was a product of each of her names. Breedlove. McWilliams. Walker. “Madam C.J. Walker” seems to lessen the importance of what she endured as Sarah Breedlove and what she created as Sarah Breedlove McWilliams. She was so much more than C.J.’s wife.

Will I stop referring to her as Madam C.J. Walker? Probably not. That’s the name people are most familiar with—I was before reading this book. Will I more frequently refer to her as Madam Sarah or by her full name? Most likely. To me, “Madam Sarah” encompasses much more of who she was, but Madam Sarah Breedlove McWilliams Walker covers it all (just takes much longer to get out).

In my next post, let’s go ahead and talk about Christian Science-Fiction.

Happy Reading!!