Archives for January 2021

Is It Worth It.

Is it worth it?

The effort it takes JUST to live?
To put one foot in front of the other?
To inhale then exhale?

To cry?

I’m trying Lord.
I’m still emotionally eating carbs like candy. I know I shouldn’t have.
Sleep and I wrestle nightly to early morn.

But I’m trying to grieve and live simultaneously.

I hired two personal trainers: one for circuit the other for repair and sculpting–

I’ve ordered 18 healthy meals a week–

I’m scheduled biweekly for deep tissue massage–

I’ve subscribed to an online dating service for highly successful people–

–all so I can feel good about being alive again.

The unscripted television project I’m attached to is moving forward–

I’m writing my second pilot–

I’m applying to a television insider mentorship–

–all so I can keep my mind future-focused instead of spacing out thinking about Tory.

I’m mentoring early-stage entrepreneurs as a tithe–

I’m transforming, healing, and building futures for my private clients–

I’m empowering my team to provide leadership in the spirit of excellence–

— all so I have peace, space, and certainty to grieve without worrying.

I play with Happy while I work out–

I listen to Happy’s signals that let me know I need to rest–

I laugh so hard my belly aches when Happy gets in my space so I can love on him–

–all so I know that life is worth living no matter how I feel.

Amazing Grace (RIP Tory)

Today is Tory’s funeral.
It will be done via zoom.

COVID doesn’t let family mourn in person.

Getting on a plane would have been useless. None of the rituals one depends on to survive the death of a loved one applies in quarantine.

No hugs.
No hand-holding.
No wiping away each other’s tears.

Not even the ritual of getting dressed in black to gather and bear witness to each other’s sorrow.


Well, nothing humane.
Just a computer screen.
Spotty connection.

Forgive me Lord for my ungratefulness.

Zoom is better than nothing.
Considering the astringency of this virus, it’s by the grace of God we’re able to gather at all.

Even if it is virtual.

A COVID-19 nurse sang “Amazing Grace” in honor of the 400,000 who have transitioned. Her words and song helped me feel less alone.

You can watch her sing here.

Beyond anything I can explain, I feel part of a national family of grievers.

Hearing her speak of how hard it is on her to be with COVID patients made me feel like Tory wasn’t alone in that hospital room.

If his nurse was anything like this nurse, then I can imagine he was handled with care and love.

I can make up that his nurse made sure his pillows were comfortable and the temperature in his room was just right.

That maybe she sang to him.
So he didn’t feel like he died alone.

Maybe she touched–no–held his hand as the life left his body.

Or maybe she just sat near him so he could hear the steady pace of her breathing and HE could imagine the breath he was hearing was his newly wedded wife, or his daughter, or Momma.

Perhaps his nurse wore perfume that smelled of peace and rose water. And he floated away warm and pain-free.

I don’t know.

But just hearing the humanity of this nurse, gave me the sense of just how amazing grace is.

Little mercies we don’t count…
…until they are not.

Please Lord…

Dear Lord,

I know I’m grieving.

But in all honesty, some days are better than others. I feel like I’m spiraling, headfirst, into a thick and sticky darkness that has sucked the hope and joy from the marrow of my bones.

I couldn’t get out of bed yesterday until the afternoon. Happy snuggled with me until I could muster the desire to put both feet on the floor.

I feel so despondent.
Like I don’t care anymore.

My heart breaks when I see my baby sister. I can’t be with the sadness I see pouring from her skin. I can’t talk to her about Tory. About the funeral.
About any of it.

I feel like I will shatter into thousands of shards of glass, too hurt by life to ever be put back together.

I don’t care what I eat.
I’ve given up on sleeping.
I feel safest in my car.

I’m trying to hire a personal trainer but even that feels hollow.

My prayers feel plastic.

I wish I were angry.

Politics. Life. Social change.
I simply don’t care right now.
Not enough to get back in the ring and fight for what I believe and stand for.

The only things that comfort me are Happy, my private clients, and writing.

I pray, “God, please, help me feel good about life again.”
I am wrapped in a world of gray.
No appetite.
No taste.
No drive.

Please Lord, help me.
Give me a sign.
A victory,

…that breathes life back into my soul…

Good From Capitol Riot

This is going to sound crazy. It seems crazy writing it. Here’s the truth: Something GOOD and unexpected came from the Capitol Riot on January 6, 2021.

Actually, good THINGS came from this tragedy: one personal and the other socially MIND-BLOWING.

First the personal: the immediacy of the insurrection took my mind off of losing my brother on Christmas Eve due to COVID-19.

Grieving is an unschedulable process.

It’s no respecter of time. I couldn’t sleep at night, but wanted to sleep all day. I wasn’t hungry, but then I would binge on vegan doughnut holes. I couldn’t cry (still can’t) but yet I could scream like a crazy person over the smallest infraction.

The riot gave my grief something to focus on.

So I took to social media to help my White Allies NOT HELP me by explaining how the DC riots had nothing to do with race. #sigh

I know they meant well.

So I did a video about what I and other Black people would need from them in this moment.

Here’s the video.

To be honest, it wasn’t my best video.
I was in my feelings.
The technology kept failing.
My jokes didn’t always land and the information I had at the time was inaccurate.

That being said, I was expressing the historical wound that gets triggered with many Black People when we see the contrast in how the police are deployed when we protest compared to the protestors/rioters on January 6th.

That video has been viewed over half a million times.

There are literally THOUSANDS of comments and the majority of them are from Trump supporters calling me names, posting hate and insulting my skin, lips, nose and hair.

I have been trolled before – by a Black Man who said I loved white men – but not at this magnitude. It was painful reading the posts. They made my chest hurt and I started to feel unsafe. So I stopped reading the hate, prayed and asked my team to ban people who were being ugly.

A few days letter I check messenger and had two messages from a White Male Republican who had seen my video and wanted to have a talk. I was floored. Then I was scared. Was he setting me up to be attacked? I took Happy to daycare and prayed on it: do I read them? Do I respond?

I remembered God does not give us a spirit of fear.

So I read his messages and responded.

We got on Facetime and had one of the bravest conversations I have EVER had in my life.

His name is Joseph.

He is happily married and the father of five girls. He works in sales and protests for his girls to go back to school. Joe is easy to talk to and as strong in his convictions as I am in my mine. He’s smart, well-read, funny, and on the exact OPPOSITE side of social justice than I am.

We decided to have a DIGNIFIED conversation to model what it looks like to talk through issues instead of talking at or over each other. We laid down the ground rules and agreed to listen with the grace of God to the best of our ability.

Here is the conversation.

It’s not perfect. We both fumbled. We both got passionate. We both went on tangents. And even with the messiness of our exchange, mutual respect and willingness to hear each other won out, more often than not.

Please check out the conversation and see if it can help you hear someone who simply is on the other side of ANY conversation. From social, to personal, to closing sales, being willing to listen until you get an understanding is a powerful and empowering way to build bridges – instead of burning down the house.

Let me know your thoughts. And please, be kind.

This was a God-guided conversation. Neither one of us are political pundants. We both are citizens who are deeply committed to a world that works for everyone.

I love you,
Dr. Venus

I wish I could cry…

My mouth tastes like salt.

I wish I could cry like normal people do. When they grieve.

I don’t.
I try.
I can’t get my body to relax enough to sob.

Where I come from, it’s not safe to cry.
You cry you will get your ass whipped more.

So I’ve trained my body not to cry.
Especially when I grieve.
I don’t cry.

I’m eating sugar.
Vegan donut holes by the dozens.

I don’t even like sugar.

I just miss him.

It’s amazing to me how I can miss a person who just transitioned but not miss him even when I haven’t touch his face in two years.

Weird, huh?

When I look in the mirror I see grief has moved in and made home.
Etching it’s cruel mark as flabby skin, hard wrinkles, numb eyes.

No desire to bathe.
To talk.
To breathe.

I feel nothing on the inside.

That’s why I wish I could cry.

Tear water would melt the mountain of salt that clogs my voice into an abyss of impossibly stretched open-mouth silent screams…

Then I could taste food again.

If I could just cry, I could feel.
That’s why I don’t.

I don’t want to feel.
If I felt, I would drown.

In a sea of salt from my unshed-able

Title: I wish I could cry…
by: Dr. Venus Opal Reese

All Comfort. No Words.

(Secure Attachments) Since Happy was 3 months old, he has been stealing my socks.

I have no idea why.

Each time he wrestles my unsuspecting sock from my foot, I laugh from the depths of my soul.

My therapist says Happy and I have a “secure attachment,” which means we know we have each other. I’m not going to leave him and he is not going to leave me. We accept each other’s imperfections and delight in each other’s particularities.

I have not, in my adult life, had a dog before.

When I was diagnosed with PTSD and Anxiety Disorder, I had two options: pills or a puppy (service dog). Because addiction is in my blood, the choice was obvious.

One of the things I love most about Happy is he doesn’t ask me questions. He just snuggles in close and licks my tears away.

I love that he can’t talk. Because I can’t.

Not right now. Not yet. #toosoon

He doesn’t insist or try to make me feel better. He just lays beside me or pounces me face/nostrils/ear and licks until I wake up or take him outside to potty.

We have dinner together.

Rather he eats his food then waits to see how long he has to campaign to have some of mine. He lets me bathe him and tolerates my propensity to dress him up in sweaters and shoes. I know he hates it but it makes me happy to feel like I’m taking care of him.

Like me, he needs his space.

But he also needs to know I’m right there should he need anything. I’ve learned that he will only dig his heals in when made to do something that is not of his will. I get it. I’m the exact same way. So is every member in my family.

I guess I’m saying Happy is family.

Happy is silly, playful, brilliant, strategic, kind, compassionate, stubborn, a protector and in many ways a provider. He’s opinionated and remarkably sensitive. AND he’s a fire sign. He’s an Aries. Tory was a Sagittarius.

I think Tory would have liked Happy. They are cut from the same cloth. They both blessed me with secure attachments, acceptance and unconditional love.

I still don’t get it about the socks. (Here’s a video)

I don’t have to. I have Happy.

So he can steal as many of my socks as long as he wants to.

His shenanigans comfort me…

Title: All comfort. No words.