Coffee Rhetoric: Redux- The Diary Years: Scrubbing Through the Pain

April 18, 2013

Redux- The Diary Years: Scrubbing Through the Pain


I have been revisiting some of my earlier posts (I was such a novice). They were narrative and far more personal. I spilled-open quite a bit and offered more insight into who I was [becoming] as a young adult woman. 

I've decided re-post a few of them here. Scrubbing Off the Pain is from September, 2005. I was trying to muddle through a particularly rough and mentally trying few weeks. I think it's really important for [us] black women to look after ourselves and to find productive ways to cope during particularly stressful times; whether that be via therapy or taking a hot bath.


Scrubbing Through the Pain, 

orig. published September 8th, 2005


I have been in a very dark mood as of late. I haven't been this down in years... not since I returned home from college and faced unemployment for nearly a year. I worked a series of thankless temp jobs and hustled however I could… eyebrow grooming was one way I made extra cash. Needless to say, I felt like a failure, because I was living in my mother's house at the tender age of about 23 years old, and wasn't yet, gainfully employed. I beat myself up pretty bad, in fact.

The perils of the world and ’this situation I shall not name’, have plagued me for several months now, and have had me in the grip of a nasty, nasty funk. I've even darkened my hair-- jet black with multifaceted, burgundy highlights. Today, on my day off, I woke up at 8:30AM, gulped copious cups of ink-black coffee, and fell back into bed, where I threw the covers over my face, and sniveled. By 11:30 AM, I'd had enough.

I was ashamed of myself for letting 'this thing' make me feel down. I told myself that I needed to get over it, but also welcome the human right to feel so I can expunge it from my system. I have never really been one to wallow and I generally don't like to be ensconced in negativity, so I cursed myself and lumbered out of bed, remembering how cathartic taking a bath could be.


I ran the bath water as hot as I could stand it. I got my essentials out: Heavy-duty exfoliating towel, ultra-rich energy boosting soap -- (a really good kind, touted as a body bettering bath bar with good stuff like coffee grounds, cocoa bean extracts, citrus extracts, etc.) -- and got in.
I scrubbed as hard as I could tolerate, focusing on nothing else but the act of exfoliating. I didn't mindlessly compose a grocery list in my head; I didn't think about current events, I didn't think about 'that thing'... I just scrubbed... hard. It felt good.

Lizz Wright's Dreaming Wide Awake served as the soundtrack. I sloughed off about 2 months’ worth of worry and thought of nothing else but ridding my skin of its dead-skin cells. I scrubbed and scrubbed. I scrubbed my face with cocoa butter face exfoliate, ridding it of the harsh outside elements, of the scowling and broodiness I'd contorted it in.  Afterward, I spread the thick paste of an egg yolk mask on. As the mask tightened on my face, I imagined that it was sucking out all of the negativity that hindered its joviality. I did all of this, and my skin, my being, just felt renewed. After rinsing and drying off, I drained the water and watched the murkiness from the dead skin, swimming around like minnow in a dark pond, cloudy with weeks worth of stress, being sucked down the drain, and I just felt better.

I now know that I need to be more fervent in reaching a resolution for 'that primary thing' that has been the bane of my emotional well-being. I need to stop sulking and just start the process. I hate that I had made the decision to take an extended break from blogging. My primary reason for using this outlet was to challenge myself as a writer and to do-so regularly as time would allow. It was a tool I'd been utilizing to write through the blocks I'd been having... and it has been working.

Blogging allows me to indulge the one constant in my life that has kept me going for years… writing. Blogging not only got me through the blocks, but it helped pull me out of a long period of procrastination and taught me structure. I hate that I even considered taking another breather.

After sloughing off that dead skin, I feel renewed and foolish for having brooded for so long and not working it out via my work. I consulted my alternate self on this. The verdict is I will be okay; more importantly, I feel confident in saying we will triumph over the madness.