Not sure if this is a comeback but here I am. Who’s still here? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone???
It’s been YEARS since I last posted here and I miss it. WAIT… It’s been 3 years… So many reasons why I stopped writing and all centered around depression, drama still circling from my divorce/child custody battle and a general unhappiness with life, which led to the erosion of my creative spirit.
Today, I am well both mentally & emotionally. All the divorce and child custody drama is OVER! AND… There are so many new things in my life that give me joy, happiness, & satisfaction.
My Ex: She died 2 years ago.. I found out on Facebook through a friend that I hadn’t talked to in ages. Although she was dead to me years before she actually left her body in a very tragic death, my daughters Olivia and Amelia are still hurting over their loss but WE ARE HEALING together and that has been beautiful.
After $75K spent fighting my ex… fighting to love and support my children… there are so many layers to this story and over the course of a few posts, I will be sharing my experience to hopefully help any man who is out there struggling through a divorce, child custody issues, and just needs a map to well-rounded mental and emotional help.
My Kids: Although unfortunate for my children, the death of my ex was a turnaround moment for me and my kids as a barrier to love was removed. I HATE looking it like this but I know things would be much different if this life event would not have occurred. I take no joy in her death but I certainly LOVE where me and the kids are.
Olivia is approaching 20 this year, in her 2nd year of college, just purchased her 1st car, ready for a successful summer of internships and music festivals. She’s doing so much and I love it!
Amelia is approaching 13 and is such a little self-determined spitfire. She’s doing great in school, has a true sense of humor that can light up any room, and is a creative entrepreneurial thinker full of hustle.
Also… Sade is ALMOST 21!!! OMG! Really? Yes! She’s attending the University of Alabama, working really hard & is super focused! She’s survived some crazy odds and situations and continues to be a fighter. She makes me proud.
My Job-Job: Most people know, many don’t… but I usually have a day job. Actually, my last day job was with Michigan Medicine/University of Michigan Health System. I was employed there for the last 15 years and decided to call it quits back in December 2017. I had a few roles in my time there but the last role was that I shaped and shifted in for 12 years. Why did I leave??? Bad management. Stress. Hostile work environment. All things that I am not having in my life anymore.
The decision came after I suffered a tremendous breakdown at work and was carted off in an ambulance. Days later, I found myself on the couch of a therapist. A woman that helped me pull my life back together over a period of several months; six months to be exact. She helped me search for happiness within myself, helped me with strategies to control my anxiety, coached me through my fight with depression. She essentially helped me to evolve & focus on the things in this world that truly matter and while employment matters, my Black life, mind, & body cannot be governed by a pay check, especially when faced with a dangerous manager/director/boss….
On December 18th, I was so damn happy to submit my resignation. Handing that woman my letter was so freeing… so sobering, it gave me life as they say. watch her read it with her quivering lips warmed my cold heart.
“December 18, 2017
Dear Laurel Barnes,
After just over fifteen years of employment with Michigan Medicine, with twelve of those years in Learning Management, I enthusiastically tender my resignation effective 12/29/2017.
Over the past several months, I have had time to reflect, and determined that it is in my best interest to no longer work in this damaging environment. After submitting complaints to the compliance office and getting no follow up from human resources, specifically Sarah Diebold after multiple attempts, it is clear that Learning Management under your leadership is not a safe nor positive space.
It appeared that your intent was to tear apart rather than team build based on several incidents: 1) You told me that I lacked analytical skills without even knowing what I did within the department specifically, 2) You accused me of instigating workplace turmoil between XXXX & XXXX , 3) You suggested that XXXX and I had deep seated issues that interfere with work. After sharing untruths in regards to my behavior with XXXX & XXXX , who were shocked and confused by your statements and accounting, your bullyish behavior was further exposed.
Under your leadership, the office is a very dangerous toxic environment ran on fear, bullying, intimidation, & deceit. The emotional intelligence and technical aptitude to effectively manage a diverse team positively was clearly absent and I suffered tremendously as a result.
I will not be taking your three offers of a reference letter as you can’t effectively speak to my work, skills, abilities, work ethic or anything related.
Reclaiming my time,
Tafari K. Stevenson-Howard”
Since I reclaimed my life and time, my purpose is clear. My satisfaction with my actions is clear. My zest for life is renewed and sustainable…
The crazy thing is, before I quit, one of my good friends quit. Just quit! No job, no nothing because the environment was so ridiculously bad. After I left, four more of my team members left for the same reasons. We all worked together for 12 years or so. The cool thing is, we are all in better places but unfortunately, I had to suffer a mental breakdown… Life continues!
With that said, I am now in a new job-job situation and it’s great! A positive work space doing something that feels meaningful. Working with a team that’s agile, fun, and diverse.
My photography is still a thing & has been really fun, especially since I have a renewed energy pushing my creatively, which was missing for so long.
So that I don’t bombard this post with too much, you can read about my latest work & project at these links below.
Michigan Chronicle: Couch: Beautiful – An Exploration of Beautiful Black Women To Debut Feb. 10th
I’m committing to getting my thoughts out of my head. All the things that I have been wanting to release here in my journal are coming. This is part of my healing and I now feel ready.
And damn, it’s time to refresh my blog look… I’m ready for the new new!