My Long-term Relationship: Not My Biggest Accomplishment

I have been in a relationship for nearly eight and a half years. Yes, you read that correctly, eight and a half LONG years. Austin and I met the old fashion way; we worked together, we became friends, completely missed all the signs we may like each other, and then awkwardly found ourselves on a date.

We dated for six months without our coworkers having a clue. We dated for two years before we made it “Facebook official”. At six years, we pooled our money, moved to a different state, and continued to build a life together. Today, we are still trying to figure out how this all even happened.

I do not talk about my relationship a lot, apparently to others’ chagrin. It does not come up naturally for me, plus, I do not like people in my business. However, I find when I mention his name or say something we did, it automatically made me more interesting and people feel inclined to ask me things that would not come up before.

“How long have you been together? How did you meet? Do you live together? Are you going to get engaged?Are you getting married? Do you want children? Isn’t it weird that so-and-so has only been together for X-number of years and they are getting married before you?”

My nonchalant, vague answers to their questions do not appease them. My resistance to divulging more information eventually makes them change the subject, although reluctantly.

What annoys me is there are things that I am proud of that do not generate as much excitement as the idea of me having a significant other. I have bigger accomplishments than just being “off the market”.

Let’s talk about how I was accepted into all three graduate schools I applied to. Let’s talk about how I have two degrees. Let’s talk about the research study I am working on. Let’s talk about how I paid off one of my student loans. Or let’s talk about how I may want to go back for a Ph.D.

Granted, I do not want to talk about anything ever, but if I did, it would probably be one of the latter topics.

I know relationships and marriage are a big deal for a lot of people; we have been socialized to believe it is one of our main end goals in life. I know the idea of finding a partner can become so daunting or overwhelming, especially when it is thrown in your face by nosy family members, friends, and the media. I know one can begin to doubt themselves because there does not seem to be a pot to their lid, or a lid to their lid, or a pot to their pot, or even a saucepan (not every person needs a partner to be “complete”).

I know I am so fortunate to have stumbled upon a bearded weirdo (beirdo!) that laughs at my jokes, pushes me out of my comfort zone, and gets under my skin. I also know it is important for me to be an individual first and revel in our individual accomplishments.

If you are in a relationship, great! If you are single, great! If you are single and looking, good luck! Please do not let others undermine your years of accomplishing awesome things because it does not seem as valuable as love.

Because Valentine’s is just another made-up holiday anyway.

“What Do You Want?”

Today I had a hard conversation with my boss. I spent days rehearsing it and it still did not turn out the way I planned. Here were my main points:

I am tired of being taken advantage of.

I am not being compensated fairly.

If I do not see changes, I will look for other employment.

My voice quaked…

My heart raced…

But, I said it. I looked her in the eyes and told her how I was feeling.

One thing I tell people all the time is you have to be your own advocate. Ask for what you want, they can only tell you no. I will be the first one to admit I am more of a preacher than a practitioner, but this time I did it. I felt like I was going to melt in my chair. Every word coming out of my mouth felt like a piece of my soul escaping and I could not get them back.

My mind kept telling me I am making a mistake, I am being ungrateful, I have it so easy. My heart sang a different song; you know you’re worth it, you deserve more, you’ve earned it.

I was prepared to use lines such as:

“Already as a woman, I am underpaid in this industry, in this country. I have the added disadvantage of being a Black woman.”


“I am trying to pave my way as not only a ‘doer’ but a ‘leader’, I can not stay silent regarding the inequity in work distribution or compensation.”

In the end, I can’t actually remember what I said, it is kind of haze. I do know there was a lot of head nodding and soul stealing eye contact.

She said I was right.

What?! No retaliation? No “there’s the door”? No, “We just can’t do that for you”?

Was I right? Well of course! She went on to say she did not want to lose me. She acknowledged it was unfair she assigned me more work because she knew I could handle it. She went on to say how much she looked up to me and how much of an asset I was. She also stated her regret for not fighting more for a comparable salary, but she would not make that mistake again. “What do you want?” she asked me.

Going to a party? No big deal. Having to present in front of your peers? No big deal. Ordering food at a restaurant? No big deal.Maybe for you, those things aren't a big deal but for anxious people it is. They worry about everything, including the small stuff. Something that may seem small to you may look daunting to them.

I froze.

It felt like forever. I could barely breathe, my hands were shaking. I could not keep up my feigned bravado. I honestly did not think I would get this far. What do I want? That’s a great question.

World peace? A personal chef? A nap? A vacation? A quick escape? Stay focused!

I am really not in it for the money, I am in it to do good. I also know I need to live and pay my bills so I cannot take it out of the equation.

My answer: I want more work-life balance; I want to have the capability of working remotely sometimes. I want ownership of my projects instead of “helping” others complete their’s and they take credit for it. I want a different title and pay grade because I do much more than my assigned duties. I do not want to be labeled as “not a team player” because I am sticking up for myself. I just want to help without feeling like I am constantly overburdened and doing a disservice to myself.

I had nothing to lose.

“Okay *writes notes*, I will see what I can do”

With a huge sigh of relief, I walk out of the office.

I am not going to get my hopes up, I am way too cynical for that. I will give it a chance because I know with bureaucracy, nothing happens quickly. I am okay if we work towards something together, but I refuse to wait months as they think I can be satiated with sweet words and no actions.

As difficult as it may be, I will walk away if I have to and I will find something else.

What it usually means: Making an impulse decision without any thought or plan behind it.What it means to an introvert: Terrifying. Not. Gonna. Do. It.

To be continued…..

Tiny Self-Care

Over the summer I decided to sign up for an Ipsy subscription as a form of self care. Seven months in and I’m realizing I do not have the time nor the skill to mess around with all these products.

Don’t get me wrong it’s totally great, but it is not the self care I need.

I'm not antisocial, I swear! I just need to recharge my introvert juices!

I thought I would make a list of tiny things I do/need in order to recharge that does not involve: forcing myself to “feel pretty”, getting a massage, going for a jog, or eating kale. For me, sometimes simple things can be neglected when I feel overwhelmed or not myself. Maybe if you are struggling with how to fulfill the concept of self-care in your life, this may help. Here we go, don’t judge me…

  • Sing in the car, shower,or while doing chores I carpool during the week and I don’t like people to hear me, so it’s harder to fit in than it seems.
  • Ignore my friends’ text messages for a day I know it may seem rude, but I do not always want to be “on”. That can be in the form of giving advice, reading about drama, or speculating for hours why they suddenly stopped texting me back. It’s better for me to avoid the extra stress by giving it a rest.

  • Watch a TV show without looking at my phone It’s a form of being present. I also tend to forget what I just watched because I was not fully paying attention.
  • Take a shower
  • Dab a little essential oil behind my ears Usually lavender, peppermint, or eucalyptus.
  • Watch, read, or listen to something that will make me laugh It’s good for the ticker!
  • Go outside for a few minutes Believe me, if I do not have to go outside I won’t; there are people and all kinds of danger out there! Sometimes I enjoy spending a few minutes in the sun. It is especially nice if it does not end with me going to work or running an errand.
  • Smile more
  • Give social media a break
  • Avoid checking e-mails outside of work hours This one is hard for me because I like to know what to expect when I enter the office. It only stresses me out and I spend a lot of time thinking about it. I have to tell myself problems are going to be there no matter what. It’s true!
  • Cleaning my glasses The world may still be gloomy, I can at least remove the smears and smudges from in front of my eyes.
  • Talk about my feelings Also the worst at this! I am getting better though. Turns out it is better than bottling days, weeks, or months worth of negative feelings and directing explosive outburst towards my poor loved ones. Who knew?!

But if anyone can work through all those layers, it's an extrovert.

  • Spend a couple of hours scantily clad. No pants, no bra, no problem.
  • Have a some chocolate
  • Get at least 8 hours of sleep Easier said than done.
  • Give or a receive a hug. I am not a big hugger, but a little embrace can be nice once in a while. Increased Oxytocin flow and whatnot.
  • Spend time with a friend at least once a month I do not like going out and every time I make plans, I immediately want to cancel them. Days and hours leading up to the activity, I constantly say how much I am not looking forward to it. Then I do it, I end up having a good time, and I have fulfilled my quota. My friends know I need at least two weeks notice to makes plans. Something spontaneous? Count me out.
Manasi Deshpande
  • Wake up to no alarm
  • Think about breathing This taps into mindfulness. Breathing is something we all do without thinking, it is automatic, well for some of us. Sometimes I like to sit or lie down quietly and focus on breathing, actually feel the breath move throughout my body. Honestly, It is kind of weird at first.
  • Call my mom
  • Wash/comb/brush my hair This is usually the first thing to get neglected.
  • Spend time alone

  • Complete a small task When you are unmotivated, it feels like doing anything at all takes too much effort, at least that is how it feels for me. One thing I try to do is think of or write down a small, simple task and complete it. For example, taking my clothes off “the chair” or removing the coffee cups from my car. Because I feel so accomplished, it usually snowballs into completing more small tasks.

There you have it! It is not super spectacular or out of the ordinary, but I have become self-aware enough that these things are adequate for me. If nothing else, I hope this confirms that whatever you are doing to take care of yourself is enough, even if it feels like the bare minimum. I know when I come across self care articles, they tend to make me feel uneasy because they suggest things I cannot afford or would not think of doing. I think it’s great to try a new exercise or buy a bath bomb, but make sure in the end, you are doing what is best for you.

Roll Initiative: My Love-Hate Relationship with D&D

Nearly 10 years ago, my partner invited me to watch him and his friends play Dungeons and Dragons (D&D). They were surrounded by multi-colored dice sets, Mountain Dew, Totino’s Pizza Rolls, and Nacho Cheese Doritos (Sponsor me!), while I sat on the couch and watched. They tried to explain to me the appeal: imagination and strategy, critical hits and natural 20’s, races like orcs and elves, and classes like rogues and sorcerers. My eyes glazed over with boredom. They started to roll their dice and within the first hour, I fell asleep.


The next session they asked me to try it and join in. Eight or nine years and 4 campaigns later, the game has consumed the majority of my weekends with no end in sight.

If you were one of, or knew, “those kids” in high school or watched Stranger Things, Community, or that old D&D animated series, you probably have heard of D&D. Nowadays the game is a lot sexier with its incorporation into pop culture and multiple available podcasts, YouTube videos, and live streaming services.

Image result for spongebob meme

If you have not heard of it, D&D is a fantasy role-playing game first introduced in the 70’s. Basically, you and your homies are lead on different quest and adventures by a facilitator or Dungeon Master (DM). You all weave together a story that begins to unfold using your imagination, quick wit, and problem-solving skills.

If you do not have a lot of imagination, there are multiple handbooks and modules available to help you craft a world for you and your friends.

Are you still with me?

My resistance and admiration of D&D stem from the same places, which makes every session so damn conflicting. It involves interacting with other people, which I hate. It involves working together to solve problems, which I hate. It involves sharing your ideas, which I hate. Lastly, it involves thinking of things on the spot, which I hate.

Yet at the same time, I enjoy it because of all those things. It forces me to leave my comfort zone, interact in this fantasy world, and acknowledge or ignore the things I am afraid to do in the real world; I would never threaten a captain of a mighty ship or demand a king to tell me where he keeps his treasure. Aside from silly things like flirting with a barkeep or using prestidigitation to distract villagers as your party plans to steal gold, the composition of D&D allows you to think outside the box, teaches conflict resolution, and develop diplomacy skills.

One thing I struggle with is allowing myself to say an idea out loud. I am under the impression that everything I think is dumb, no matter what, so I often keep things to myself. D&D forces you to speak up, or else your whole party may fall into a spiked pit or be consumed by a chromatic dragon. It turns out, your ideas are not that dumb after all and you just earned some serious XP. This has definitely translated into my personal life. I still am hesitant, but I am more likely to speak up at my job or at home; I am often surprised by the words that are coming out of my mouth.

When I was providing therapy during my Social Work internship, I definitely considered using D&D as a tool to help children express themselves in a safe, fun, environment. My partner and I have discussed starting a practice with this concept in mind and I believe I recently read some places in the U.S. are moving towards this.

If you have a vague interest in D&D, I would suggest giving it a shot. Depending on the type of person you are or the type of people you surround yourself with, it could be totally awful and not fun at all. Or you could have a blast!

And if you are like me, you may be in a constant loop of not looking forward to it, wanting to stop playing, then realize you kind of had a good time, then hate it again.

If nothing else, you may also amass a pretty awesome collection of dice. My personal favorite part!

My actual dice sets °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖°

Now go charge your D20, keep track of your spells, and prepare to roll initiative.

Thank You, Don’t Look at Me!:Accepting Recognition

Today, during a two hour long meeting, my supervisor decided to take a moment and thank me in front of the CEO of our organization…..

“Please don’t look at me. Please don’t look at me”

My supervisor preceded to sing my praises “her professionalism, the quality of work she delivers , and her attention to detail is unmatched”. My heart races. I say thank you, I briefly make eye contact around the table, and proceed to stare at my notepad. People started clapping and the CEO says “Your work is truly appreciated”. I could only muster up a meek thank you and under my breath i whispered “please stop clapping”.

This is how is goes for me, someone acknowledges me in some way, and I immediately want to disappear. Why is that? Shouldn’t I be thrilled that someone noticed me? The attention, the unsought validation, should make my heart flutter not fold over so it becomes tinier and tinier.

One thing I need to become better at is accepting recognition. It is okay to get a little attention, as painful as it may seem. It is so easy for people to only notice the negativity and run wild with telling others about your faults and shortcomings. But, when someone, who does not have to, decides to shine a light on you, acknowledging your contributions, that is way more powerful and a lot harder to fulfill.

Another thing is, you do not want to impede your own growth or professional success because of your unwillingness to acknowledge that you are pretty damn awesome (yeah,you!). I know for me, my first thought is usually “I don’t understand what’s the big deal, I am just doing my job.” I scurry away to my desk or eat lunch in the creepy stairwell no one uses. At the same time, I constantly complain about the people who are inept and make things way more difficult than they need to be. Maybe everyone has a point, may I do make worthwhile contributions and you do too!

Let’s take this time to acknowledge something you do really well or you are pretty good at (I am sure there’s a lot!). Tag a friend and let them know something too!

I’ll go first…I am really good at (long, pregnant pause) active listening and remembering significant ,or completely useless, details about people.

That was hard (it really took my like 10 minutes).

I Don’t Deserve This: The Lovely Liebster



I would first like to thank Howtobejames for the gracious nomination. I do not even know what I am doing, but thank you for seeing the potential.

If you are a novice like me and have never heard of the prestigious Liebster Award, here is a brief overview.  The award is given to bloggers ,by their blogging peers, in hopes to gain more recognition. Nominated blogs typically have less than 200 followers and have a simple task once accepted. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to simply follow the rules below and pay it forward.

I have scoured the blogsphere and read several different iterations of the “Official Liebster Rules”. Rather then botch my first go at it, I will simply repost the rules from Howtobejames (thanks again!)

The official rules of the award are as follows:

1. Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you and display the award logo.

2. Answer 11 questions that the blogger gives you.

3. Nominate 5-11 blogs that you think are deserving of the award.

4. Create 11 questions for your nominees to answer.

5. Let the bloggers know of their nomination!

Here are the questions from HowtobeJames:

  1. Is a hotdog a sandwich? Why or why not? Way to come out swinging! I will call a hot dog a sandwich. Why? it’s between bread, end of discussion. You know what, I will even call a taco a sandwich. Come at me!
  2. What is your idea of perfect happiness? Being surrounded by puppies, pigs, and goats.  Never wearing pants. Eating ice cream all the time without any negative consequences. 
  3. Which living person do you most admire? My mom. Second place: Michelle Obama. Third place: Gloria Jean Watkins aka Bell Hooks. 
  4. Why did you start your blog? My safe place used to be inside my own head, now even that’s becoming questionable. I started a blog because I have spent so much time by myself, not believing all the good things people say about me and not believing I have something worthwhile to share with other people. I cannot say I fully believe it now, but it is worth giving it a shot. 
  5. If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to your 13 year old self? I would tell my 13 year old self to stay strong and don’t change for anyone. All that time you spent in private school with the same group of people is about to change and you will find that kids your age and older are really mean. Keep up the good work when they call you a nerd/geek/loser/weirdo or try to push you around. Do not try to dumb yourself down or hide further and further away in the shadows. Tell mom and dad sooner that you don’t feel like they listen to you, it’s a tough conversation, but they will listen. When you meet that lady from Columbia University at 18 years old and she tells you to become a Nurse Practitioner, listen to her! It’s a pretty sweet career choice. Lastly, clean your room more, it’s a GD mess. 
  6. How do you handle setbacks? By crying in the dark, making a list, and trying again or keep it pushing. 
  7. What’s your favourite memory? My favorite memory is a family trip we took to Puerto Rico to visit my mother’s family. It was the last trip I took with my grandparents. 
  8. What did you want to be when you grew up? Of sound mind and body. 
  9. If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you’d buy? Some of my freedom aka pay off my student loans. 
  10. What’s your favourite flavour of potato chips? I really like those Loaded Baked Potato Pringles. 
  11. Was the dress blue and black or white and gold? It was definitely blue and black. I am kind of mad I never was able to see the alleged white and gold

    Here are more nominees:


Here are my questions for my fellow nominees:

  1. What are your favorite songs from your teenage years that you still rock out to?
  2. Have you ever been lost? What happened?
  3. What’s the craziest thing on your bucket list?
  4. What are two truths and a lie about you?
  5. What show on Netflix did you binge watch embarrassingly fast?
  6. What is your favorite smell and why?
  7. If you could turn the ocean into a liquid other than water, which one would you pick?
  8. When was the last time you got the giggles at an inappropriate time?
  9. Who would play you in your biopic?
  10. Where would you most like to live?
  11. What are some of your biggest accomplishments?


Happy blogging!

Socially Awkward. Socially Anxious. Social…Worker?

There are many exciting things observed in the month of March; for one, it is Women’s history month. There is also National Old Stuff Day, National Plant a Flower Day, and of course National Barbie Day!

In all seriousness, it is also Social work month!

This particular March will be my first observance as a newly Licensed Social Worker. As I reflect upon the last two years it took to finish my degree, I try to overlook the 20 pounds I gained, the crippling student loan debt, and the perpetual feelings of inadequacy, and remember why I ditched my biology major during undergrad, picked up sociology, and went for my Masters in Social Work.

Nearly everyday, I think about how I- the girl who still panics when placing her order at restaurants she has visited multiple times; the girl who would be moved to tears when faced with going into a convenience store by herself or would rather run and leave her change than interact for another moment; the girl who struggled to leave the movie theater over the weekend, during the credits of Black Panther, which she already saw, because she could not get past the thought that someone was going to actively call her out and try to school her on how “there’s always a post credits scene after a Marvel movie, you damn noob” -made the career decision to become a social worker?


As much as I am inside my own head, I cannot ignore the fact that there are so many people in the world that need some kind of help. I cannot help everyone, as much as I want to believe I can, I just can’t. But if I can affect the life of one person whether that means: being a shoulder to cry on, finding resources to pay for their HIV medication, suggesting alternatives to self harm, or even simply printing out the paperwork they need to change their name, I know I made some kind of ripple. Trust me, I know that does not fly for a lot of people.

I first decided to become a social worker after my brother was diagnosed with Schizophrenia in 2011. As much as I wanted to believe that this was another case of a prejudice psychiatrist misdiagnosing another African American male, I sadly came to the realization that this, unfortunately, was not the case. I made it my mission to become proficient in this mental illness, so I could speak intelligently and ask the right questions. I pushed down my own neuroses in order to educate my family, teachers, neighbors, and complete strangers. I sat in courtrooms and watched how the judicial process punished people for exhibiting behaviors they could not control. I watched the pharmacy techs at CVS change their body language after they read we were picking up anti-psychotics and mood stabilizers.

Walt Disney Productions / Via

Amongst all the chaos and heartbreak, the type of people that consistently showed compassion and empathy were the social workers. They were in the form of counselors, program administrators, case managers, and therapists. They had such a valuable, underappreciated, skill set and I knew I wanted to be one.

Don’t get me wrong, not all of them were gems. Now that I am in the field, I have unfortunately witnessed a lot of burned out social workers or those in it for the wrong reasons. Nonetheless, here I am.

Do I overthink every social interaction I have? Yep.

Do I come home exhausted every day? Absolutely.

Do I like making very little money? Nope.

Do I say ‘I hate people’? Every damn day!

Happy Social Work Month everyone!