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I hurt my back nearly two weeks ago. I was moving tons of wood to recycle — some asshole dumped it in the woods behind my house and I’m all about clean communities. There wasn’t even wood to steal for the fireplace, so screw the dumper.

Or —

I hurt my back two weeks ago, bent over drying my legs after a shower where I actually washed them instead of thinking the soapy water would magically do what the washcloth couldn’t, all of you are nasty.

It’s the second one. You knew that, right?

I stood up and the shower curtain as my witness, I fell back down. I lay there for a really long time noticing how unclean the base of the wall was. And crying. There was lots of crying.

For the next few hours I cried and tried to stretch it out (not my idea. I wanted to lie down, but the dude who shares the bed with me said I needed to stretch or it’d tighten and get worse). I could not stretch it out. When I tell you it hurt too bad to move, let alone raise my arms, believe me. It hurt to breathe. It still sometimes hurts to take a deep breath and it’ll be a full two weeks tomorrow. What keeps it from getting better? I’ve been able to stretch since it happened. I’ve been to urgent care and gotten a few muscle relaxants. Is it the bed? Is it the bag I carry to work? Is it stress? IS IT BEING VERTICAL?

There’s something about being incapacitated. I haven’t been that dependent on someone in a long time. I remember having food brought to me after I’d had the boy, but that was only because I wasn’t supposed to be up and down the stairs. Now that I think about it, Carlos made me a makeshift pulley to help me get out of bed after the first baby so that I didn’t need him to help me. I may have complained about being embarrassed to be so reliant. This time I was embarrassed but also angry. I hadn’t DONE anything. At least the other times I’d had another human come out of me.

We went to Target yesterday and I had a list. I meticulously stuck to the list (until the teenagers started throwing shit in the cart that I hadn’t planned on or budgeted for). Somehow I forgot to write down heating pad. I need a new one since the last one started smelling like fire was going to start coming out of it if it was plugged up more than two minutes. Death by heating pad. The only thing worse would be an almost death by heating pad. Remember Arnebya from high school? Girl. She almost died when her heating pad caught fire. She was able to put it out but nobody has seen her since. Five years from now there’ll be something sordid added to it like she was freebasing or running down the street naked because she was high and thought she heard the ice cream truck. I didn’t remember about the heating pad until I got home and realized my back was throbbing. That little bit of pain free time made me forget. And I mean I genuinely forgot. I sat down and thought, hey, heat would feel good. Aw, damn!

It’s funny to realize you’re pain free after you’ve gotten used to hurting, after you’ve spent so much time on the bathroom floor, unable to move, telling whomever you believe in that you’d do anything to not have this pain, or that you won’t do whatever you did again, wishing you had a damn Clorox wipe because how is the damn wall behind the toilet this dirty? Do they only clean halfway down? It doesn’t hurt nearly as much as it did two weeks ago. It doesn’t hurt as much as it did two days ago when I was afraid I’d aggravated it. If it still hurts this week though, I’ll make an appointment with the chiropractor or physical therapy. The doctor didn’t give me anything for pain so I’m borderline OD-ing on ibuprofen. The muscle relaxants are stronger than what I’m used to, though, so I can only take one at night; otherwise I’d be splayed across my desk or snuggling random people on the subway. That’d lend itself wonderfully to the whole ice cream truck chasing theory.

Tomorrow starts a new week, one in which I will probably steal my coworker’s pillow (it helped so much. I need a new office chair, clearly) and her Salonpas patches even though they smell like liniment. Here’s to less pain, better movement, fireless heating pads, and somebody cleaning the bottom of the bathroom wall.


I left later than I should have. I was jogging for the bus and had to stop fast because a police car came barreling, silently, through the alley. I almost fell forward, onto the card, because I lost my balance. I looked the officer in the eye as I tried to right myself. He looked both irritated and stunned that I was there, that he’d almost hit me. And then he sped off. I stood there at least a full minute before I realized I needed to fast walk the remaining block and a half to the bus. Multiple other cars passed me. I never jogged again–I didn’t dare–but I did make the bus. The whole ride, I spent wondering about the person the police were trying to find/catch. I’ll probably never know, unless whatever that person did becomes newsworthy.

I also wondered why I refused to run again, not even jog. I wasn’t doing anything wrong. Surely, dressed in a ZARA trench I wouldn’t be seen as questionable. But what if someone who had done something wrong was nearby? Would I be caught in the crossfire? Would the police assume I had something to do with whatever was happening? Was I even “safe” once on the bus?

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It’s Fine

Damn, I’m tired. I’m talking physically and emotionally. Drained. I woke up earlier than usual yesterday. I was supposed to work a half day, but decided too much needed to be done; it’d be too much of an added, unnecessary burden. I wonder if she’s tired too. She must be tired.

We were going nonstop yesterday, washing last minute clothes, checking for paperwork and medicines, making sure bags weren’t too heavy. I was giving last minute pedicures and polishing toes and finding forgotten about sunglasses and small wristlets to fit into separate small purses because don’t keep all your money in one place.

Today I’m feeling the effects of anxiousness, of a few hours of sleep, of a small boy tapping my forehead to wake me up a full hour before the alarm was set to go off, asking how long his sister would be away. I’d gone to bed early, then woke up in the middle of the night. Twice. After he woke me up, I stayed up. I’m barely vertical. Continue Reading

MyBrownBaby_Denene Millner Cover Image

Our Brown Babies

MyBrownBaby_Denene Millner Cover Image

Born from the critically acclaimed My Brown Baby website, My Brown Baby: On the Joys and Challenges of Raising African American Children dropped today from New York Times Bestselling Author Denene Millner’s imprint, Denene Millner Books.

What you’ve come to expect since 2008 from the My Brown Baby site — that purposeful, gleeful recognition of parenting while black — you’ll get in the essays in this book. What you’ve come to expect from Denene the bomb writer — she who has penned more than 20 of your faves — you’ll get in the essays in this book.

I have three brown babies. Three people for whom I am responsible. Three people to whom I must teach way too many things to remember without a bona fide manual. Ain’t no damn bona-fide manual, so know that we’re all winging this parenting gig together. But, together, we can be successful. Continue Reading