Coffee and Contemplation: National Black Business Month

August is National Black Business Month. The purpose is to support and encourage African American-owned businesses in your community. There are many businesses in Tucson owned by people of color, but I want to focus on two of my favorites. The first is Café Desta. A small café that has served Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine since 2010. They are located South of downtown on Stone Avenue. I have always enjoyed the flavors and aromas of coffee beans from Ethiopia and Café Desta serves Ethiopian coffee along with many delicious dishes. They are accepting orders for Take-Out and Delivery during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The next business is The Downtown Clifton. It opened last year in 2019 with an additional 22 rooms and The Red Light Lounge. The hotel was first built in 1948 and was purchased by the current owners in 2014 and they began restoring the property. Also located a couple blocks North of Café Desta on Stone Avenue, you can enjoy a nice stay in downtown Tucson and partake in some delicious cuisine and coffee. I only care if you try the coffee. If you’re visiting Tucson, these are two great places to check out. 

If you live in Tucson and you haven’t visited these places, what are you doing with your life? You don’t have to stay in hotel, but you can enjoy the food and spirits in The Red Light Lounge. Now go support people of color in your community.

Coffee & Contemplation: Pride Month

June is Pride Month. It’s about being proud of who you are and your sexuality, whatever it is. Homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, pansexual, demisexual, asexual; it comes in all shapes and sizes. The point is being proud of who you are. I identify as demisexual. This means I cannot reach full sexual arousal unless I have an emotional connection with the person. I’m not going to go into further details in this post. 

June is also PTSD Awareness Month. May was Mental Health Awareness Month so we’ll continue spreading awareness. June 27 is PTSD Awareness Day, and I’ll share more about that around that time. I have PTSD from various traumas I’ve experienced since childhood. This also caused me to have anxiety and depression. I have spent the last few years attempting to overcome some of my issues. I succeeded in some places and failed in others. 

The biggest thing for me is to no longer feel ashamed of having a mental illness. And to no longer feel ashamed of past transgressions. I’ve made many mistakes. I’ve lost people I cared about because I wouldn’t face my problems. I won’t feel sorry for myself anymore. I ask that everyone have pride in fighting against a mental illness. Be proud of the progress you’ve made. The point of Pride Month is to love yourself. So, bring awareness to your community and be proud of everything you’ve overcome.

Coffee and Contemplation: Quarantine is Just Another Day for Me

Before anything with this virus happened anywhere, I lived an uneventful life. Since October, I’ve limited going out and other social activities. My main goal was to save money. I filed for bankruptcy. Worked many jobs. I had seven W-2s when I filed my taxes for 2019. I haven’t seen some friends in months. Other friends don’t want to see me. Despite several jobs, I had to watch my money and buy cheaper food. Ramen. Rice. Spaghetti. I managed. I knew my financial situation would improve at the end of March. That’s when I’ll finish paying my attorney fees for the bankruptcy.

Then the pandemic happened. I lost income because a couple of my jobs are in entertainment. They canceled the events. I also work part-time in a coffee shop. A national chain that I won’t mention here. They have cut back operating hours. All my coworkers and myself are losing hours. With the cut in income, my shopping essentials are more important. But the grocery store is out of all the things I often buy. Everyone else panic bought all the cheap stuff. I have to spend more than I usually do, but I can still manage.

To add insult to injury, everything in Tucson closes around 6pm or 8pm except the grocery store. And everything in grab and go only. I can’t go anywhere to get out of the house. Not even to read a book. I understand why. I’m not complaining about the reason behind these decisions. I’m only documenting my experience. Sometimes getting away from the house, a change of scenery, is comforting. My options were always coffee shops and libraries. I don’t have any friends I spend time with anymore. I don’t spend time with anyone. Now I’m not allowed to sit in any coffee shops and the city closed the libraries.

When all this is over, everyone will go back to their normal routine. I’ll sit in coffee shops again and buy the food I always buy. Otherwise, my routine will remain the same. Others may look back on these weeks as something exciting. That time they had to focus on survival. I’ve only known survival. I don’t know what normal life feels like. I imagine things will pick up for me by the end of the year. There is a gloom of uncertainty hovering over the future. I’ve only known survival and I know I’ll survive this. Don’t forget what it felt like to lose everything you took for granted. Stay safe readers.