I’m Still Here: A Letter to My Ex(s) #PhuckYou

Them: “….It could have been YOU tho.”

Me: “Yeah, it could have been, but it wasn’t.”

~Private Conversation about an Ex and why we broke up

My dearest Gasoline,

There is much to say. Too much. I am still making peace with the fact that much of what I need to say will never be said. It’s like an unsolved murder. I’m the homicide victim and my spirit is trolling your mind for what the fuck I did for you to kill me. But there will never be an answer that is good enough or even justifiable and beyond that, most of these are words never spoken or spoken poorly in the moment and never ‘resolved.’ I was driving down the street listening to Sia. Fire Meet Gasoline to be exact from her 1000 Forms of Fear album. Here are the lyrics that struck a chord:

“It’s a bad bet/Certain death/But I want what I want and I gotta get it

It’s a bad bet/Certain death/When the fire dies/Darkened skies
Hot ash, dead match/Only smoke is left”

after a night of crying

I remember one of the first videos I put together of us, my most recent lost cause. It had this song as a background. Back when I was fucking around with another guy, a few years ago, I had just started listening to Fantasia’s Lose to Win album.

“You make me wanna love you
Even though this love might be the end of me
I can’t help but love you
This, love is no good for me
Could be the end for me” (End of Me)

Listening to a non-ex while trying to recover from a new ex

Music has always been my thing. I get my life to music and I’m not one of those persons who is unconscious of lyrics. As much as I love every instrument and the sounds they make when combined, the lyrics are just as important to me and are often what pulls me into songs that may have otherwise not have enjoyed. It was never lost on me that the Fantasia song was quite a telling forecast for what I was projecting myself into. That non-relationship ended up as the catalyst for this blog to come to fruition. But I don’t think I was paying as close attention with Sia. Those lyrics, along with the Fantasia lyrics and several many other songs, told a story that was too come that I probably could have protected and saved myself from. Instead, I turned them into love and climbed aboard ships that would ultimately leave me sinking to the bottom of the ocean. I’ve been left time and time again to save myself from the sharks, which I assume is basically what everyone has to do. But it just kills me more to see men stroll into my life, fuck it up and leave me in shambles while crooked smile walking their ass back to wherever they came from.

I made a mistake today. I reached out to you. I attempted to ask an unnecessary question, perhaps having an equally unnecessary mental playback, and was met with what felt like disgust. I can’t blame you. For that, I hold no grudge and no anger. It actually jolted me back on the road I was on. We all know I have a thing for looking back. Today, I looked back for you with questions in my palms and my fingertips tiptoed across the keys to send a white flag of curiosity your way. You didn’t want it. Neither did I. WE are dangerously toxic fumes for each other. Even inhaling a text message from the other could lead to an all new death. I won’t pretend you may not have hurt a bit from losing me but it would take God himself to sit me down on a one on one and convince me that you ever loved me or could possibly miss me. But that’s not the point of this blog. I am writing this to you, all of you maybe, to deaden and end this circle for the last time. I’m flying the fuck outta this kill space. I have swum to the shore on my own; you weren’t there to offer help. I think you drowned me on purpose.

I THINK YOU DROWNED ME ON PURPOSE.

I think you wanted to hurt me. You wanted to kill me. You left me walking. In the dark. In Detroit. In the dark. In the pouring rain. In a dress. On the Westside of Indianapolis. In the hood. You LEFT me. It may take years before I forgive that action. It may take years before I forgive the white woman. I have a long way to go before I forgive the white bitch. No lies detected here. One thing you have all taught me or at least led me to believe is that ALL men have a woman on the side for something. My trust has been misused, harmed and mistreated. It’s my job to get it back. It’s my job to trust me again and believe in love, specifically love for ME, again. I am not a perfect woman. Let’s discuss some of my flaws real quick:

I’m messy. I toss my clothes wherever. I don’t do dishes every single day. I have so much secret single behavior (according to Carrie Bradshaw), that when I finally find myself in a relationship, it’s hard to rid myself of it completely, especially when living with someone. Which brings me to another flaw: I trust and have trusted yaw niggas way too much. I’ve allowed you to borrow my name and get apartments. When you were down and out, instead of turning my back and saying you weren’t the type of man I wanted, I pushed forward, supported you and gave you a place to live. A PLACE TO LIVE. I cannot for the life of me understand how that could be taken so easily but apparently, it’s a nonchalant gesture of ‘like.’ I vowed to never live with another man unless we were married or six months from being married, but I gave you a place to stay with no hesitation. In return, I was emotionally abused for what you found in MY home – pictures, and letters from my past that I was forced to part with because you felt so disrespected. Meanwhile, you had a bitch on the side. A whole white woman off to the side. What they say is true: a guilty conscious will treat the other person as the guilty party. I never so much as let another man smell the breath of my hello but you were dreaming about a woman while laying in MY bed sleep. I tried hard, to be what you needed. I prayed and cried for you, alongside you. I supported you – I brought my life into yours and shared it openly and willingly. I told you about the people who hurt me before and the past baggage that I had in tow with me. I told you what I wanted and what I was looking for. You took that and used it to your benefit; not to help grow me. An ex recently asked me where he ranked with me not too long ago. He sent me a letter that spoke of I’m sorry’s and how young we were back in the day, attributing that to our demise while also remembering times that he thought were good. I wonder if that good outweighed the bad for him because it didn’t for me.

I was left and abandoned with no job and no car and no cell phone, stuck out east with NO ONE – not even the person who called herself my best friend – coming to see if I was alive or not. I wanted to die. I’ve said that before. I’ve never been more suicidal than the day I sat at 6250 Brendon Way Drive with all these pills scattered on the table. I sat there with a journal, writing poems and thoughts, praying and crying while chain-smoking black and milds that I walked what felt like 16 miles to get. You know what kept me here? My mom and God. That’s it. I wanted to die tho and I’m not sure if you knew or if that pales in comparison to the good times you seem to remember. Where do you rank you ask? Idk. I don’t rank niggas at this age. I’m too busy trying to unpack the old bags so I have a free hand to carry the new bags I collect.

I went to California for my birthday. I thought of you because we went there together. On my dime and your promises of paying me back. I went to some of the same exact places we went. I stood where we stood. This was at no point on purpose but I was eager to recreate memories and pitch you out of my head. You’re everywhere. You in the house I live in. You are in my pictures, all over my cloud and in my videos. My mom still asks and talks about you. I get sick when I hear your name. I could VOMIT at the idea of my desperation. Yeah, let’s get back to desperate me and my flaws – I’ve been too desperate for love, even when I didn’t think I was. I prayed all over, up and down our relationship so I trusted my decisions with you much more because I felt like I was being led in your direction. I now know it wasn’t for marriage and life together. It was to truly shine a light on me and expose me to myself, yet again but maybe for the last time. I used to introduce you as my partner. You didn’t understand it at first. I get why that is now. We were never partners. I was being used. Just like I was with the non-relationship before you. Just like I was with everyone before that. Everyone uses me for their own pleasure – most times it’s for sex, sometimes for money and other times it’s for simple support, emotionally and otherwise.

You, my nigga, were the culmination of EVERYONE wrapped up in one person who wasn’t tall enough for me to wear my heels around. I didn’t care; I stopped wearing tall shoes. It was that simple. I changed, little by little, for you and you never noticed. I threw away what you told me to throw away, despite you physically hanging onto the white woman of your dreams, that you once told me was crazy. Today, I just wanted to know why she was better than me. But she wasn’t and I guess that was a question that didn’t even deserve to be spoken because how dare I ever believe that was ever the case. It had nothing to do with ME. That was your shit. Not mine. I’ve internalized it all. I am good at pretending to myself that the relationship I am occupying space in is healthy and good. The reality is often that I’m dying a slow, loving death.

I sit in scattered pieces wondering why yaw enjoy breaking me so much. What is it about me that niggas want to grab me and throw me as hard as they can against a concrete wall???? The hurt that exists inside of me is an inferno that continues to be added to instead of putting out. I was in a good head space when I met you. Looking back, you lied to me then too. I came to you but you pretended like you had been wanting to come to me and didn’t know how. You were such a liar.

Another long night

I was abusive. More flaws about me. I hit you. I hit my ex. I hit the ex before that. I’m abusive. It’s part of the reason I don’t really ever want to be in another relationship. I can’t take people saying things and talking to me in a certain way. It causes me to see red and next thing I know, I’m all over the place with raging fists. That’s not right. It’s not right to hit a man. I acknowledge that. I need anger management. But I also need the kind of man that doesn’t call me bitches, hoes, sluts, tramps, and a host of other colorful names. A couple of you guys were good for that name calling shit. Emotionally and mentally abusing me is the quickest way to get these paws. #noLie It might not be right and again, I admit that. But I assure you I don’t walk in the door throwing punches. The day I was called everything but Kendria or Januarie still surprises me that I didn’t just shy of remove the skin off of your face, to be honest. I was called a hoe, a slut, told that I was a better woman back in the day than I was now. I was told that I was laying next to you thinking of “sucking other niggas dicks.” That lets me know that I was exhausted from that relationship because I didn’t do anything but take those gut shots and try not to let it hurt as bad as it did. A slut? A hoe? Sucking other niggas dicks? You were all over all my social media. I told everyone that I could about you. I thought of you in Light and Height, not low and dirty. How dare you say these things to me? The woman that tried to get pregnant but unfortunately was already broken from past relationship mistakes to do so, thank the Lord. The woman that wanted to marry you? The woman that flew you across the country and back? The woman that gave you a place to stay when you needed it? She’s a slut? A whore? The woman you spent the whole relationship lying and misleading? Remember when you told me I hit you and made your watch fly off and get lost. I believed that. I bought into that stock and the market crashed in on my face when I discovered your watch had actually been pawned. I paid $25 not to let that watch be sold to Pawn America. And even when I sent it to Sarasota, Florida to its new owner, I felt even more hurt. How will I ever trust someone to buy them a gift again? When does this shit leave my system? Why do yaw get to leave me like this and not care about how it affects my future????

To that point, how dare you suggest I’m anything other than your Queen of perfection. I told you my secrets and just like the men before you, you used them against me. The only thing you didn’t do, which you still may have and I just don’t know, is tell my mother private things I told you. My other exes did that. They told her I was gay. I slept with women. You didn’t do that but you definitely let me have it about women. You also suggested I was gay and that I never liked men, to begin with. I never wanted you because I wanted a woman. These things, though hellaUntrueAF, hurt me to my bones. I still feel them. That disdain and scowl that someone I loved so much and so openly (a first) talked to me like I was a hoodrat on the street.

But so what right? I should be used to it. I was in an emotionally abusive relationship before. The one that left me in Detroit talked to me like I was the wackest woman alive and as if he regretted ever meeting me. Do you niggas know what I’ve built myself up from? Do yaw know how much nigga shit I had bagged up and hanging off the side of my back? Did you know I had an abortion to hurt an ex? Yep, I sure did. It’s why I can’t have kids. I had an abortion for the sole purpose of hurting the man that hurt me so much prior to it. With that went my ability to procreate ever again. Folks want to know why I don’t want or have kids: that’s it. I tricked myself into believing I didn’t want what I knew I couldn’t have because I killed the opportunity. That’s how much hurt lives in me. That’s why I don’t want to live in this state anymore. I’ve literally been hurting because of my affiliations with men and the choices I’ve made as a result since I was 13. Longer than that if you count the useless pieces of shit who molested me as a child. I hope and pray that retribution found it’s way to them. The one thing I know to be certain is I don’t have to be front row to see you suffer for what I feel like you did to me but it always happens. Karma doesn’t forget.

I am abusive. I am in counseling. I working through my issues. I am trying to be better, do better, get better and HEAL from all these years of madness. I pray for you. . . all of you. I want so badly to believe that there was something about me that you actually did love but man, I’m far away from that. Every time I think I do believe it, I remember other shit that swears to me love couldn’t exist for this to be true. I don’t wish ill will on you. I don’t want harm for you. I don’t even want someone to leave you in the shattered pieces that I was left in. I blame myself for my broken pieces. I never save myself when given the opportunity. I always choose love – the love of YOU – not me. And that’s been my grandest life mistake. Choosing delusions of nigga granduer over me.

I’m still angry.  You ruined every single trip I had. Every one of them. Every time I returned home, I came home to some shit. Some arguing. Some man who didn’t trust me to be out of his eyesight when everything I was doing was for US. I have lost a lot. But I’ve gained an even clearer understanding of exactly who I am and the shit I need to confront. I probably won’t believe in love again until I believe that I deserve it. Part of me thinks I don’t. I’m broken and infertile. I’m tired and low on steam. I don’t want to compromise ME for love. I want love to see me and want me; not want to change me completely and turn me into a Stepford and then walk off into the sunset when it doesn’t work for them. On tv, they come crying and running back with gifts and new, improved personalities, ready to win her back. In real life, you niggas catch a lifeboat and don’t even turn around to watch me drown. Maybe you hope I’ll get eaten by a shark.

But I have news.

I didn’t. I didn’t get eaten. I made it to shore and I can’t even swim. Water has never scared me and maybe that’s why I nosedive in, ready to swim laps with you. The unfortunate truth is I end up swimming those laps alone. The fun part is watching your ex who mistreated you go find the woman of his dreams and treat her properly. It’s a low blow for self-esteem to be honest. I’ve lived that life too. If I could have predicted that I would end up how and where I am right now where men and love are concerned, I highly doubt any of us would have met. These lessons would have been better learned from conversations and books instead of living through them. But I survived.

The fire.

The gasoline.

The end of me.

I survived the end of me repeatedly. Devon. Damon. Randy. And the non-ex Diesel. Naw I ain’t fucking changing names to protect the guilty and unbothered. I also will NEVER date another man who is not tall and whose name starts with a D. But –

guess what???!!!  I didn’t DIE my niggas. I DID NOT ETERNALLY DIE!!!!!

Shit.

Each one of you, be it on purpose or otherwise, killed me.

I’ve died four times since I was 22. I’m 39. I’m not dying anymore until God says so. Who made you niggas God??? Me?

I believe indeed it was me.

I made you God. And you killed me and laughed while driving off the parking lot.

Hell yeah, we park cars.

But the good thing that I got from reaching out to you today, attempting to do the unnecessary, is your response reminded me that I was never enough for you. Or maybe too much. I just wasn’t what you needed and wanted. I took all these pictures in one relationship – I may have mentioned this in a previous blog. I took them so that one day I could look back and see what loving you looked like on ME.

But don’t forget  – I’m friends with photographers so I will never stay looking like that.  I’m perfect for me. Even. In. My. Flaws.

I love me. I will graduate with my Bachelor’s next year and be able to work all over the country and the world to be honest. I am a DOPE ass writer. I love with all of me and although I see it as as flaw, it’s still a pretty cool thing. Most people don’t love with half of who they are.

I love who I am and what I stand for. I know what I deserve and although I’ve often accepted less in hopes that I could make you niggas see the light in me and respect it, I always knew that I didn’t deserve the shit that was happening to me. And yaw didn’t deserve my light. I didn’t deserve to not be trusted. I didn’t deserve to walk home from Guion Road. I didn’t deserve to walk back in Detroit. I didn’t deserve to be cussed out on Christmas. Or to be relegated to being SEX only. I didn’t deserve your pressure. Your hurt. You disrespect. Your lies. Your cheating. Your white or black women. I didn’t deserve YOU.

The foreshadowing music is different these days.

I know who I am. And whether you saw it or not, I am dope. I got shit to work on DEFINITELY, but I AM working on it – not trying or hoping or planning to – I AM!! And that just makes me even doper.

Shame on all of you for walking past The Color Purple and not acknowledging what you saw. Shame on your blindness.

The only thing I left to say is I’m still fucking here bitches.

I’m still here. You didn’t kill me good enough.

Photo by ANKH Productions

I’ll let the music take it from here . . .

“I don’t need you to love me
I don’t need you to love

I’ve got–
I’ve got–

I’ve got my sister, I can feel her now
She may not be here, but she’s still mine
I know–
I know she still love me

Got my children, I can’t hold them now
They may not be here, but they still mine
I hope
They know I still love them

Got my house, it still keep the cold out
Got my chair when my body can’t hold out
Got my hands doing good like they s’posed to
Showing my heart to the folks that I’m close to

Got my eyes though they don’t see as far now
They see more ’bout how things really are now

I’m gonna take a deep breath
Gonna hold my head up
Gonna put my shoulders back

I’m gonna flirt with somebody
When they walk by
I’m gonna sing out
Sing out

I believe I have inside of me
Everything that I need to live a bountiful life
And all the love alive in me
I’ll stand as tall as the tallest tree

And I’m thankful for every day that I’m given
Both the easy and hard ones I’m livin’
But most of all, I’m thankful for
Lovin’ who I really am

I’m beautiful
Yes, I’m beautiful
And I’m here

Sincerely,

Fire

 

PS: My Yoast SEO details that my readability needs improving. Fuck improving for you. Down to the wire my G.

 

J to the Y

O U T !

September 27th: Pt III, Love is a Two-Way Mirror

September 27th 2017.

September 27th wasn’t the day I got quietly engaged or destination married. And it wasn’t sad. Matter a fact, creating those imaginary thoughts in this blog series made me feel goofy in a sense. I really do love, love and I take it for granted as much as it takes me. I grew up lacking an emotional male connection. There is no denying the effects it has on your growing up when one tries to give a love to someone they’ve never properly received it from. This isn’t to take away from the stepfather I had; he was a great provider. But our reality is my pre-teen and teen years were spent arguing about who spoke to who and not about emotional paternal guidance. It’s unfortunate but hey, what can you do? You do your best with what you know and I suspect my stepdad is no different.

What I know about love and loving men comes from what I have collected from my attempts at loving. I have pieced together what I THINK is good love – albeit healthy love – based on what I have done right and wrong in past relationships. The biggest problem with this is I’m picking up individual needs and applying them to other individuals, with other fucking needs!!! It’s not fair or right and it’s not how love -healthy love – really works.

I have struggled to understand how I could be attracting the type of men that I do when I don’t do the shit that they don’t. What I experienced in this last relationship was nothing like what I felt I was giving. I gave honesty – I received lies. I gave I threw away memories in the trash that I had kept for years – he kept his white woman friend on the side doing who knows what. To me, on the surface (which is basically where I have been), this is a no-brainer. Why would these things happen to me if these aren’t the types of things I’ am doing? How could I attract them if I wasn’t doing them? Is it karma?

“..but love, it is YOU that I take for granted.

Curse you to be damned for what a human being has done when it was ‘we’ who spoke French first.”

~3461, JYork

Maybe it’s my loaded karma. Love owes me an ass whooping  for some of my not-blogged-about shit so there’s that. But what I also have come to understand is it the surface things that I didn’t realize I was putting so much stock into don’t matter. My stable job or my new(er) truck or how many times I can fly to New York in a year won’t count in the preliminary hearing.

What brings these particular moths to my flame is the energy of my inability to offer proper love. I am attracting at the level I am LOVING; not at the level I am in life.

Huge difference.

Until now, I haven’t known this. I hadn’t ever questioned HOW I give my love.  I have loved at the top of my game every single time. I’ve given all of me with each trip down the hopeful road to forever but it’s been a point of foolishness at times. Everyone doesn’t get all of you. People are supposed to work for your heart and the love you give out. You can’t be so hopeful that you give away all of your goods (and I’m not talking about sex at all) too quickly. You need to be able to reel yourself back when the time presents that necessary, which it will more often than not.

Otherwise, you will constantly sink in the pitfalls of the wrong men. I thought I knew this. Shiiiiit, by this relationship, I thought I was great at this. Part of my actionable-love was being a giver but you’re not supposed to do that. You can’t go around giving and giving – the only thing you’ll do is end up with a bunch of taking/taken ass men in your past. The majority of these men won’t help develop and deepen your understanding of love. They will keep you operating at a lower level. Sometimes that level will be beneath where you are in life otherwise.

If you learn to love through your experiences, then who you are experiencing love with matters a great deal.

I’m not sure how those of us who missed that father experience (or even a supplemental male role model) are supposed to properly learn to love the opposite sex (granted that’s what we are attracted to). It’s the same for heterosexual men who lack mothers; how are they to know how to care for a woman? Date a guy with mother issues and you will find he is just as volatile and emotionally inconsistent as women with father troubles. Then there are the people who grew up with no parents.

All these single people learning through DIY methods on each other.

Are our mothers (fathers) supposed to provide sufficient love from both sides of the perspective when the other is not available? Being the ‘mother and the father’ is more than showing up to sports games and cooking dinner and cleaning and providing. It’s also loving, teaching and guiding this young person who will eventually be an older person. They will live and love based on the knowledge they obtained at home. In the event this information is not properly passed on to you, where does it derive from? Aside from immediate counseling or intentionally seeking a mentor of the opposite sex, how do you learn to love who you will love?

When is the last time you were in a relationship consciously loving someone badly? And “love” doesn’t just mean how you show affection or support. It’s also how you deal with opposition within the relationship, how you communicate, what you hold important. . . it’s a listing of traits and ideas. I’ve looked at love with such high regard that I never stopped to question if  I was giving it defectively.

I saw that Will Smith posted this today about Jada Pinkett and love:

via Will Smith

I’ve never thought of love in such a grand way when it comes to giving it. Until now. I’ve always assumed that the energy I give off through my love was not just enough but right! Despite the notion that I don’t operate out of ego in certain situations, there are countless others of which I do.

And maybe that’s the key to learning how to love properly. The right person will challenge your love in a such a way that won’t make you question yourself but will reveal the needs for growth.  You have to be able and willing to do the necessary examinations on yourself. Our ego tells us if the other person isn’t meeting our current demand of the month, then we don’t have to meet theirs. Highe- self tells us that it doesn’t matter what they aren’t doing. Besides, these aren’t demands; they are ways to elevate. If we take Will Smith’s perspective into account, then that means the other person is not operating from ego in suggestion they make or needs that require addressing. They understand that the growth of you, as you should be not as they would have you, is the growth of all things attached to you. But that takes a special type of person. One that is crafted especially for your individuality and I’m not sure if you get one or more…

…but I can say I’ve had one. Unfortunately, he wasn’t my forever, although still a special and necessary person. We were mirrors of each other in a number of ways. We each gave what we had to give.

You can’t get someone to challenge your love until you are ready to receive that challenge. I’m guessing the more you transcend, the more you open yourself up to others who have peaked to that higher level of self as well. Ultimately this should lead to your one person if the tale of a one and one only exists. If not, then at least the pool feels more like the waters you think you should be swimming in.

By the time I met XXXXX, my idea of love had derived from all the wrong people. Even if you take the best parts of the wrong situations you can’t get a healthy idea of how to love on an elevated level.

Assessing how you love means crashing headfirst back into your past and finding out who you took your lessons from. Who made you believe X = Y? Were they ever logical? What percentage of you is loving from an absence: father, brother, dominate male figure? What makes you believe you give healthy love and how can you validate those beliefs?

There are plenty other questions one could ask themselves in an effort to find out how they give what they hope to receive. I found myself asking a ton of them on September 27th. I didn’t get it that day, but I eventually understood that I’m loving at a lower level while thinking my affection style is as advanced as I am with the rest of life.

Nah sis,

nah.

This doesn’t mean I’m less deserving of trustworthy, good treatment but it does mean that what I am pulling in won’t get higher than what I’m putting out.

I questioned myself for weeks trying to understand why I kept seeing signs telling me it’s me. And this may not even be all of it. It’s a huge revelation nonetheless. XXXXX doesn’t feel like a mistake. He feels like a culmination of all the lessons I needed to learn collectively. My reflection in his eyes wasn’t always heels and pretty dresses and I saw it for myself. We were a beautiful but explosive situation that could have been but ….

Mourning one while looking at another heartbreaker DJ. #Lifeism

is what it is.

If you are not ready to see yourself through love’s eyes, then you will not attract someone that will make you. You will keep getting duds and thinking everyone is shitting on you until you advance to your personal next level. I never met anyone that challenged how I gave my love. I guess you could say I’ve collected hella good and bad ideas and called them the right way. But they were too often based on faulty people and situations, acts of survival and loss of self. I’m a whole different woman today than that the girl that collected her ideas of love.

As mad as might be for a long time coming about things that happened, I also must give myself space to grow. That means recognizing self not as a victim but how I contributed to our demise. I pulled in a certain type of energy (man) because I was at a particular level of lovING. My hurt can’t make me see our failures to each other as something that overrides our successes. We gave birth to a newness in each other that I don’t think can be denied. Our relationship turned our skin inside out so that we could both see how much ego we were operating from. There was a genuine love created but it couldn’t be sustained at the levels were both on. He was the first person to do many things, most of all being the first to make me look at myself.

Our loss should be so great that causes us to look inward in an effort to eradicate the possibility of this ever happening again.

September 27th wasn’t spent in the white vacation secrets of Santorini, Greece or engaging in Puerta Vallarta by way of cruise ship. It was a slow day, full of TV, cleaning, and self-observation. We had only recently stopped talking to each other and it all felt fresh again. But – we tried.

I pray we both learned from it all . . .

Accidental phoNo pic from fair

 

Shopping in Walmart like old days

If Will Smith is right, then many of us have had it all wrong including me. Love means trusting in who you fell in love with on a vibration so high that you understand their natural evolution is a prerequisite to you getting what you need in the relationship. It’s not wishing them into your fantasies-come-alive. Love doesn’t envy the yester-you; instead, it will cherish your right now and be inspired for who you will grow into. Love means knowing how to chin check your ego because that hoe will have you single AF and running through I Wish I Never Met You music.

We’ll get to my cracked reflection in January.

 

September 27th – Pt II Puerta Va-Hopelessplace

In August 2016, XXXXX and I took a trip to Los Angeles; a first for both of us. We had an incredible trip and spent five days touring the streets, walking the parks and laying on the beaches of L.A. It was a no-brainer that we would go back. The airstream we stayed in was an experience unlike any other. It sat up in the hills with picturesque views of LA, the Hollywood sign and Griffin Park. The sunset was marvelous.  They were a popular destination with only one opening in September: two weekdays.

The calendar was booked for the rest of year just the same. I was a bit taken aback when XXXXX suggested we book the two days in the airstream and then catch a cruise, if plausible, that would take up the rest of the trip. We were basically building a California trip around the openings in the airstream. I was surprised by this because he doesn’t like cruises but for whatever reason, he was up for it. I’m always down to float on the ocean, so we began our next search. He usually lets me handle this part of our vacationing because …well, I’m good at it! I will search relentlessly for the best deal and I ALWAYS find what I’m looking for (or better). I had no idea I was a part of his illustrious plot on me. He knew me well enough to know what my exact reaction would be to each suggestion.

Airstream – Hell Yeah Babe!

Cruise somewhere – YASSSS Zaddy !!!

We settled on an 8 day trip to Califonia, that would include a five-day cruise to Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta. We’d arrive on Wednesday and spend it and Thursday in the airstream. Our cruise left at 8 AM Friday morning and returned around the same time later that week. We figured we’d splurge on a dope ass hotel for the final night in Cali.

Sounded exciting enough to me! The days leading up to our trip felt like they moved slow but soon enough we were touching down in California about to hit the 405. The day of our ocean departure, I could tell he was nervous. His excitement to indulge in my ocean-energy carried him beyond his personal fears. We had a balcony room and suggested to him that we spend at least one night sleeping outside. We reclined our chairs all the way back and held hands under the stars while listening to the soft tapping of the Pacific against our ship. There were stars everywhere and we fell asleep naming them per our ‘skwahd‘, and checking for constellations.

The cruise was romantic. We immersed ourselves in each other’s company and enjoyed every day on and off the ship. He barely remembered he was on a cruise after the first day. Cabo was more than I could have asked for. We ate well, drank better and did every water activity time would allow. He had taught me basic swimming before we left so thanks to XXXXX, I was able to swim in the ocean!! And to not be scared to venture into it. Our final port was in Puerto Vallarta. As time drew close to our final boarding, XXXXX and I found a quiet, secluded area on a beach that was popular with our shipmates. The ship was just around the corner. It was a safe last stop where we could maximize our time. I sat quietly on the edge of the soft, white sand with my feet in the water. It felt good on my legs.

as i sat there, I drifted off into my own world. my thoughts were touring the rest of the ocean as the sun tiptoes over its waves. the sound of god speaking brought me so much calm. I hear God speak when i hear the ocean. and it’s always so fascinating.

I was so far into the depths of thought with my eyes closed that I didn’t realize XXXXX wasn’t standing next to me anymore until he called my name.

“Kendria!”

I shook my head out of my beautiful trance and turned behind me. We had exactly one hour left before we had to board the ship. This hour was the dawn of a new morning glory in my world.

When I turned and looked for him behind me, there he stood barefoot, in white linen pants that were rolled up above his ankles, a brown hat to protect his St Tropez-tan (as he called it), and a sky blue shirt that collected his sweat with ease. His arms were stretched.

I stood to walk towards him while wondering why he would want to leave the beach so soon. The closer I got, the more I saw.

Flowers. Big, colorful flowers that aligned the back of the beach where different vendors were set up. I had been so inundated with the Pacific Ocean that I didn’t realize he was gone long enough to pick these huge flowers.

Tears. In his eyes. As I began to walk toward him, I could tell he had tears welling in his eyes. His smile stood proudly and his eyes were fixated on me. I closed in on him and he stepped to the side, revealing a small, sand-drawn heart with a black box in the middle.

There was no hoopla. No dancers, fire acts or mosh pits.

Just him. Just me. And the distant laughter of the people on the further side of us and the crashing of the ocean.

This black box had everything we had been building inside of it.

The date was September 27th. I couldn’t withhold my emotions and tears sprinted down my cheeks in a disorderly fashion. Before I could speak, he walked around, behind the flowers that decorated the heart. He grabbed the box, opened it and bent down right in front of me. I’m so glad I wore a dress off the ship. It made for beautiful memories when I thought back at how it blew in the wind at the same time as my hair. #MissAmerica #pettyThoughts 

 

He stood at the peaks of the heart, where the two aortas combine and said:

“You make me understand life. Before you, there were none. There is no after you. There is only right now. My life feels refreshed and alive with you in it. You don’t allow me to settle or wallow. You push me toward greatness. Your love is overflowing and sufficient, and I feel it on me when you’re not here. My soul can feel yours before it begins to speak. Baby, we are not temporary. We have to be forever. There is nothing I will not do for you. I want to begin every day, from here on, talking to God about you, with you and close to you. I want to worship with you. Grow spiritually with you and lead us both to greatness. I support you like you support me. You have taught me how to see myself and I want to spend the rest of my life making you joyful. I know it is God’s will that we meet in eternity. I’m Yours Right Now. ..and forever.

Will you marry me?”

He opened the box and the yellow canary that jumped out and sang around my head like a halo gave me a gasping pause. It was just what I wanted. It wasn’t too flashy but it was enough to say “XXXXX Lives Here” in neon diamonds.

I’ll never forget the way my heart beat. Or the breeze. And the sounds. Or how it felt floating on air back to the ship. It felt like as we walked through the metal detectors to reboard the ship, I was entering a new world of my own. My newest level.

A higher strain of trust.

I really tried hard not to ugly cry. 

But, I think I did.

And then I said yes so loud that I think other people down the way heard us. We hugged and danced and kissed. It was minimally extravagant. In front of the ocean and alongside God. We made our first vow right then and there: to never take for granted the fact that we found each other. This world is full of billions of people and sure cities are small, but we found each other. We navigated life and held firm in our faith that our person was out here.

And now, in the evening of a Puerto Vallarta late-summer cruise, we found forever . . .

“Yellow diamonds in the light
And we’re standing side by side
As your shadow crosses mine
What it takes to come alive

It’s the way I’m feeling I just can’t deny
But I’ve gotta let it go
We found love . . .

….”In a hopeless place.”

~Rihanna, We Found Love

 

Interracial Cheating: WhO TF Do YoU tHInk I iZ?

Momma Zora,

I’m tapping into you for this one. Let us begin:

“If you’re silent about your pain, they will kill you and say you enjoyed it”

~Zora Neale Hurston

Let’s get this tea brewing.

Years ago, I watched the Loving Story documentary on Netflix. It detailed the fight of Mildred and Richard Loving, the interracial couple who fought the State of Virginia after their felony conviction of interracial cohabitation. They were sentenced to one year in prison and banned from Virginia. In 1967, the Supreme Court ruled against the ban on mixed-race marriages thanks to the efforts of the Lovings. They spent over ten years fighting and had eight years together after the victory. Richard Loving was killed in 1975 in a car accident that left Mildred permanently injured. She never remarried.

For me, they symbolized the endless boundaries of love and how it develops from the soul, not the eyes. They were also a testament to our short, unpredictable time here on Earth and how we have to be present for the moments in front of us. That means being oblivious or at least fearless to what others think or have to say. The way I respect and adore love doesn’t allow me to take issue with interracial couples. Love is such an exquisite experience that whoever you are drawn to share it with, I say go for it!! If you find someone that is game to fight all the battles and never leave your side – if you get true, unconditional loyalty – who cares what color someone is? It’s quite beautiful to see, and in all my anger and defiance, I will probably never stop longing for a love like that.

Now that, that is out of the way, let’s talk about interracial cheating and my complete contradictory philosophy and issue with it.

For the rest of this blog, cheating will be defined as the following:

  • sleeping with another person
  • taking another person out on dates
  • a secret, non-disclosed or otherwise private conversations/texts/meetups with another person who you have been romantically linked to or find attractive
  • discussing your private current relationship affairs with a person you have been romantically linked to or find attractive
  • a secret friend on the side that you do not introduce and have been romantically linked to or find attractive
  • a secret friend on the side that you have introduced and minimized your contact/context with said person
  • riding shotgun, laying in bed, holding hands, accidental kisses, accidental fucking, ‘we on a break’ fucking
  • break babies
  • lying about your present relationship to a person you have been romantically linked with or find attractive

You know what the biggest gripe about cheating is? It makes the other person feel insufficient. At the center of it all, the biggest sore spot is the one where you begin to question yourself, especially if you have been blindsided. Being cheated on says, intentional or not, ‘you were not good enough and this person was better.’ The action verb of what this new person is ‘better‘ at can be anything: listening, having sex, laughing, talking, etc. . . The bottom line is it feels like they scored higher on the SATs while you sit with a broken pencil still trying to solve question three on your fingers.

And who likes to feel inadequate?

 

When we add the opposite race to that stew, the beef we are cooking up is full of mad cow disease. I believe that being cheated on by a black man *** with a white woman leaves much more of a nauseating taste than if he cheated with a black one. Cheating is cheating; it’s going to hurt either way. But when you are a black woman, a Loud & Proud black woman, full of fight, poetry and love for her people, and you are cheated on with a white woman . . .

whew. . .

The mindfuck is incredibly obtrusive. It makes you want to burn down the city. Throw the whole state away and start over with a new colony. It’s a special kind of trauma. Not only are you saying I’m not satisfying enough, but to add insult to injury, this white woman is better than me? This white woman is better at loving a black man, my black man, than me?”

Ohok. Interesting fucking concept.  . .

In 1995’s Waiting to Exhale, Bernadine (played by Angela Bassett) slept with Herbert, a married man. The movie minimalized the affair but the book, which I haven’t read completely, went more in-depth. Herbert suggested getting a divorce so the two of them could be together but Bernie didn’t want that. She eventually stopped communicating with him. In both the movie and the book, she had committed adultery after having it done to her. She was complicit in disregarding and disrespecting a marital union in exchange for her own temporary and selfish needs. She put another woman in the position of wondering if she too was insufficient. BUT –

– – Bernie had only just been at the receiving end of an affair and thoughts of mediocracy within her own marriage. The difference – her husband cheated with a white woman. In thinking of the movie and the book, I wonder would it have hurt Bernie less if her husband had chosen a black woman to have an affair with? Is that why we put less focus or care on Bernie when she did it? The following excerpt was taken from the Terry McMillan’s book, Waiting to Exhale:

“You know what? I hate black men who run to white women,” Robin said.

“I don’t hate them, ” Savannah said. “But what kills me more than anything is they usually pick the homeliest ones they can find and the ones who don’t have shit going for them.”

“I hate the fact that they think white girls epitomize beauty and femininity.”

“I hear you, ” Savanna said. “But you know what?”

“What?”

“It doesn’t bother me all that much.”

“And why not?”

“Because i think people have a right to love who they want to. Who am I  to judge?”

“Yeah, but if our men keep running to white women, what does that leave us?”

“When you get right down to it, there really aren’t that many who’ve crossed over. I think we just notice it more because we’re black and female.”

“So?”

“So I don’t hold it against them. If a black man wants a white woman, that’s his business. I’ve got too many other things to worry about. . .”

This exact conversation has played out at dinner tables, ladies nights and various other situations where black women are discussing interracial dating. Savannah took on many black women’s attitude, mine included of, ‘I just don’t care. Date whoever you find attractive and dope enough to hang with you.’

But when it comes to cheating, I personally have a change of heart. The issue that Robin brings up is the grand ole’ Opry of why interracial cheating hurts more than same race cheating.

“I hate the fact that they think white girls epitomize beauty and femininity.”  ~Robin

White women have been the belle of the ball of the United States since it’s inception.  They have inadvertently defined for our society what it means to be a mother, a wife, and a friend…what it means to be a woman. The white woman is America’s Crown and Glory, while the black woman epitomizes its dark shadows and secrets. Black women are considered to be loud, obstructive and in the way, whereas white women are quiet listeners and lovers. They take care of home, husband, and kids and speak when it’s their turn. Black women step out of line, can’t be controlled, sleep around and need government assistance to take care of themselves. We are seen as ugly and almost masculine where protection is concerned – we are left to take care of ourselves (and expected to) while white women and their precious feminine tears are coddled and offered reassured security. Hell must be paid if a white woman is mishandled in any way, but black woman’s reckless, unnecessary death underwhelms the powers that be. Look at the difference in treatment of former FLOTUS Michelle Obama, who was often referred to as a guerilla versus plagiarist-current–flotus Melania Trump who wasn’t even reprimanded for her thievery. There are blogs and books written about white women being at the helm of the ship of racism. Massive numbers of white women turned out and voted in Alabama for Roy Moore who has been accused of several acts of sexual misconduct, at least one with a minor. But who will look at them differently? Certainly not the don’t-take-my-guns-trump-supporting housewives.

When Women’s Suffrage was taking place, those white women were fighting for each other; NOT to include black women. This country loooooves them some Susan B Anthony but she certainly didn’t love us, black women.

During that era, Black women were [still] looked at as slave women who should be nursing and nanny’ing their white babies, not voting and enjoying human and civil rights. A great number of lynchings of black people began in the hands of a white woman. Emmett Till’s death was based on a white woman’s lies.

Carolyn Bryant plus kids and husband that killed Emmett Till

By now, you’ve seen pictures of white women scowling, spitting and yelling at black people for trying to integrate the schools during the era of segregation. If not, here are a few:

Yelling at/towards Ruby Bridges, 1960

Yelling at Elizabeth Eckford, 1957, Little Rock Nine

In some twisted sense of American pride, these women are the heart of the USA. Robin’s comment about white women being the center of beauty and femininity isn’t just a movie line; it’s a reality that extends further than those two points. White women live their 9 lives on a pedestal that black women have to fight to reach. There is an unspoken can-do-no-wrong/see-no-evil that accompanies their birth that is not afforded to black women. So what does this have to do with interracial cheating? Well now, in a world that has intentionally attempted to devalue the black woman’s worth in lieu of the white woman’s assumed pure and untainted existence, cheating with one of them instead of one of us is a two-sided, jagged edge knife to the eyes.

If you recall in Waiting to Exhale, Bernadine was not just upset about being cheated on; she was brutally disturbed that it was a white woman and made no secret of it. I have come to the conclusion that it’s not just the cheating. Oh hell, it may not have even been the cheating at all. Truth be told, plenty of us believe most if not all men cheat, so tons of women are prepared to deal with it IF that person is that person. But if you must find someone to replace what you think I am not performing well at, she better fucking be black!!!! ***NOTE: this is NOT me condoning cheating. I disagree with it strongly. But I also know that monogamy is a choice that love itself doesn’t prepare one to make. 

Beyond the ramifications of interracial cheating lies the invisibility of the black woman in a relationship that she thought was her sacred place. It’s been happening since the beginning of our time here. Our (black women) erasure always feels so open to the public. Even in private situations, the perception of being expunged can have one feeling like the world is watching and collectively not giving a fuck. Time Magazine released their Person of the Year tribute to the #MeToo movement while conveniently leaving the person who started it off the cover: 44-year-old Tarana Burke.

She created the #MeToo Movement ten years ago. On the surface you would think, “Well isn’t it about the survivors and awareness? Isn’t this helping?” The answer to THAT question is an undeniable YES!!! But travel internally and you may be able to notice the familiar pattern of lack of inclusion of black women. Of the five women on the cover (silence-breakers), any one of them could have sat out to allow room for the founder. . . no? Or what about one of those covers that are two-page foldouts? #WhatAboutInclusion 

I could give examples all day and create a new blog, but let’s get back to the point, which is black women get fucked over and cheated on enough in everyday living. When it happens at home too, a new dimension of disrespect is opened.

Jill With the Stringy Hair

It wasn’t a dark or stormy morning that day when I opened up my Facebook inbox to 14 screenshots sent to me by some woman named Jill. I had never seen or heard of her life before and now here she was in my inbox. There was a picture of me and questions about me. There were notices of I Miss You and confessions of dreams about her. All from the person I had publicly professed my love for. Jill with the Stringy Hair is what I call her. * shrug*

Our trust was broken instantly. I was downplayed in those texts. I was laying next to him when he was having those dreams about her. She knew the house I was moving into. She knew far too much for me not have ever met her. She laughed at me and called me a joke. Questioned how I could uplift other women and be with him. And the grand bomb: she was friends with my sister’s brother.

I wasn’t stupid – but prideful.

A PROUD black prideful woman. Perhaps I needed this relationship to help me check my pride because I should have ended it then. I couldn’t go for a white woman breaking up my relationship. That’s for another blog. I have been cheated on and I have been the cheater before. I know how this shit goes and what it feels like to dish it and take it. I know what it looks like to hurt someone with your disloyal, selfish ass behavior. I’ve grown the fuck up and out of that shit. My language in this blog tells me I’m upset.

I am.

“But what kills me more than anything is they usually pick the homeliest ones they can find and the ones who don’t have shit going for them.” ~Savannah, Waiting to Exhale

I was hurt to the highest degree I think I have ever experienced from being cheated on. This is not the same as interracial dating. This was cheating. “This man is cheating on me with a white woman???? AND she had the audacity to inbox me AND block me??!!!?!?!?!?!”

Jesus be a Lit Ball. I couldn’t break my typing fingers enough to get to my ‘free’ page to look her ass up and get in her inbox. But wait –

”He’s cheating on me with a white woman???”

The reality was that’s exactly what was happening. I don’t know how far it went, but it fits at least one of those bullet points too many. They were linked prior to me. She told me things about him that seemingly proved true in the end. I didn’t know if she was gloating or trying to run me off, but it was all a violation. She laughed at me. Questioned how I could uplift other women.

Some bonds you can’t break I suppose. If I saw them on the street and didn’t know them, I’d be supportive. But their sneaky reconciliationOrWhatever behind my back, in ANY capacity, felt like taking lashes for your man only to watch him gallantly run to the warmth of the white woman in the big house.

It’s been said that [sometimes] black men turn to white women because they are more docile and drama-free; they know their places. I’ve heard that last line numerous times. They don’t withhold sex and are eager to please in whatever fashion. I’m not saying these things are true, I’m repeating what I’ve heard over the years. They aren’t even ‘bad’ characteristics. But they are used as pedestal pushers against the black women who bear opposite traits.

I couldn’t help but think “look at you nigga. I would’ve taken your secrets to the grave but you out here banking on this white woman to have your back. Is she a better listener? Or is it sexual? Did she provide better comfort when you were feeling the effects of the death of Philando Castile?  Is she more proud of you than me? She supports you more than me? Loves you better? Is she WORTH me?? This homegrown authentic, unconditional-as-can-be, black-love? And now look at her. She turned on you and sold you out for sport. Yet you trusted in her; not me. Go figure.”

All this had me thinking recently. There is no denying that all betrayal is hurtful. Cheating creates doubts and questions where there may have otherwise been confidence and belief. I would have wondered those same questions if the woman was black. But there is still a different sting when she’s white. Or maybe it’s just me and the fictional Bernadine?

OR-

it could be that being erased in the media, corporate, and just about everywhere else doesn’t allow for much understanding when it comes to our personal relationships? We need a sacred space where we are without doubt number one and that should be it. Black women shouldn’t have to fight to be number one to a white woman anywhere, but especially at home in their own fucking beds.

And in the Gospel Section of K.Dot Lamar,

“that’s just how I feel.”

And I’ll be damned if anyone says I enjoyed it.

***this blog is written from a heterosexual, black woman’s perspective. Please feel free to change the pronouns as necessary, however, the race must remain the same.

 

 

“Not All Black Men”: #PinningTheTailOnTheDonkeyOfTheDay

“Most men fuck women to destroy them . .  .”

~TK Kirkland

 

For nearly 39 years, I have watched black men drop the ball on me in every way imaginable. Starting with my natural father and blood brother to the man I planned to marry to the guys on the street and complete strangers and the play brothers and the guys I grew up with – -*the men I love so dearly have often left me hanging or worked overtime at disrespecting the very nature of my heart. Or at least, this is how it FEELS. I am currently searching my reserve tank for something to keep believing in them, loving them and fighting with and for them but it has thinned to the thickness of a single hair follicle. Recently, I watched a black man tear down a well-known black business woman in Indy. He trashed her restaurant, her food quality, and her prices. After legions of supporters chimed in, in her favor, he went to battle with each one (mostly women), myself included. He trolled our pages and insulted us based on what he was able to see. He referred to the sole black man (that I saw at that time) as a bitch ass nigga because he defended her. He even disrespected her mother by calling her a bitch (after she stated she was her mother). While other people get angry and go back and forth with this type of stuff, I get sad and seemingly ill. I can’t participate because I start shaking internally. My eyes cross, my heart breaks and tears sometimes form.

This has been a relatively hard blog to write.I’ve feared that my current relationship standing and my past baggage would sponsor a blog post that was too full of ‘black girl attitude’ instead of magic, and come off as whiny, full of complaints and inexperienced with more than one type of black man. What I am about to say is not without merit nor do I lack taking ownership for what I have entertained and allowed to permeate my life (in the cases where I could help it). I’m not another blogger using her platform to tear down the black man. I’m not that. I am a whole woman with validity to her claims, experience under her belt and just enough wisdom to know that some shit just ain’t right. I’m fine with being labeled as angry because….well, fuck it, I AM!

And I have EVERY right to be; to authentically feel WTF I am already feeling! I don’t hate black men and I am absolutely still full of love for them.  It’s just time for me to take the sugar spoon away and be real: our trust has been broken and our bond needs critical repairing, but no one is fine-tuning this shit except me and I’m damn near done completely.

I LOVE black men and I always have. I’ve loved them hard, relentlessly, and wildly on purpose; with intention and out loud. I could never claim to be perfect and I’ve always been on the learning curve of love, but I’ve given it as best as I had to put out.  I’m here for them. Once upon a time, I wrote for and performed to them. I loved them on stage as much as off. I got my first standing ovation from a room full of hood rich dudes who were there to stand their hip-hop grounds on a night that poetry had tried to ease in and take over. The poem, “Convicted Felon”, was written about struggles of re-entry and they ate it up. I wanted them to know that I was present for them and their struggles. In Louisville one night, I won audience favorite after doing a poem about black men being kings. That came w/a $100 and a standing ovation in a room crowded with black men. The hugs and high fives left me feeling like I had done my job: I let them know that SOMEONE (me) is rooting for them and can see them! I’ve never masked or hidden my love, support, and desire for their presence in my life, yet I find this has made me nothing more than a target with a fat ass.

“…and even if I end up spending my life without one of you/I will forever long to hold onto you like the sun longs to hold onto blue skies that are decorated by white clouds./ I will forever try to build you up/not tear you down.”

I’m not in denial about my rocky relationship with black men. I must specify “black men” because that’s who I have dealt with. I know other men of other races do the same shit; but my allegiance is to black men and gotdammit, I want my fucking reciprocity! More than that, I want this breach repaired. I don’t want to have to rely on men of other races – I WANT to love black men; but I don’t want to love for two anymore. It’s time that I just do my part; not both of ours. I have so much material where I have written them into the parts of my life that I needed or wanted them. I didn’t call them kings in a poem and treat them like peasants in real life. I’ve created fairytales with my words and I admit that was a mistake. In hindsight, I wonder did I think that I could write myself into a healthy space with black men in general? Had I been thinking that whole time that I could show them my authentic self via poetry and that might attract like-minds and good fruits of the harvest? Because if I did, I can say that it didn’t work.

It attracted more enemy-like predators. They saw my vulnerabilities and used them to their advantage while assisting in destroying my overall feelings regarding black men in general. Time and time again, I’ve been nothing more than an experimental situationship for them, and I’ve watched them ride off on white horses with other women. Literally.

PICTURE IT:

During my sophomore or junior year of high school, I was called a nigger by a white man entering a nearby Walgreen’s that I was leaving out of. We almost bumped into each other and that was his response. It was so unexpected that I don’t think I responded. I was shocked quite frankly and I was also skipping school sooooo, I didn’t tell anyone. That was the first and only time that I’ve been called that to my face, although I’m sure many have mumbled it about me under their cowardly breath. I was called a ho when I was in the seventh grade. The guyS that started spreading rumors about me at age 13, some true and plenty others embellished at that time, were all black. They lived in the same neighborhood as me and went to the same school. These guys had me thinking I was a slut before I ever lost my virginity. I was bullied, laughed and pointed at, made fun of me and alienated…all because of black boy joy, circa 1992. I took the long way home from the store, I had to transfer schools and I literally peeped around corners to see if I saw any trace of them when I was outside.  They made my life HELL. I lost my ‘friends‘. My shaky self-esteem plummeted and my reputation in my new neighborhood was trashed by the first two people I met: black boys. This continued until I left the neighborhood for good in 1998 @19 years old.

My point of that is not to rehash old memories but to show a juxtaposition of the hurt inflicted upon me by white men vs. black ones. It’s TROUBLING !!! Do I trust white men more than black men (or at all for that matter)??

I’m not stupid. I know they really don’t GAF about me. But I am an observer and what I have seen and experienced has shown me that most of the black men I come across don’t appreciate, want or love me either. It feels worse than that one time Walgreens occurrence or the subconscious thoughts other races may have because black men are who I associate and fight with and love greatly. I don’t want to feel this way about them. I WANT to feel like they look at me and see light and love, but I don’t really think so anymore. My own father and brother never saw worth in me. My brother has a bunch of children. I’m no one’s aunt. It makes me wonder what I did to deserve this shit? I’ve been stolen from, used, abused, left out of town, molested, nearly raped, killed and of course, cheated on and lied to while looking me in my eyes all by black men. Some of this I played a role in but not all of it and I’m not willing to take EVERYONE’s blame on my shoulders anymore. I’ve beat myself up for years over the choices and things I’ve done in the name of love or men. THIS BLOG IS NOT WRITTEN WITHOUT PRE-ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF MYSELF! I am responsible for what I allow. It’s just right now, I’m allowing myself to be honest.

I’m often perplexed as I listen, read and watch the seemingly effortless disrespect and mistreatment of black women by black men and boys. It bothers me to no end and maybe that is because my own personal relationships have always been met with an ICU-ending. It doesn’t matter what the context of our relationship was; just about every black man that I’ve ever had a relationship of any significant sort with has left me feeling unprotected and disposable. #NotAllBlackMen

I recently realized that I’ve been giving out labels that come with expectations to men who don’t want to or simply won’t meet those expectations. Matter a fact, I don’t know that they even wanted the labels. That’s not fair of me. These men aren’t required to protect me in any capacity (and they don’t).

What have I done to deserve their protection or respect aside from being born awesome? These the types of questions I ask myself before writing blogs like this.

Photo by ANKH Productions

But I’m not tripping: There IS a lack of protection by the black man of the black woman. I’m not the only person who feels this way. Other blogs have been written before this. VSB wrote one and received quite the backlash (from black men) because how dare they call them out on their shit? I got into a back and forth on FB with a guy about that exact blog because he wanted me to give him proof that it was valid. Instead of saying ‘fuck you and your proof’, I stopped the conversation. #IAmTheProof

I know if a man is reading this blog, his thoughts whilSt reading this might sound like “well, it’s #NotAllBlackMen.” While my personal relationships play a great deal into my perceptions, it’s not solely based on me. I sit and observe, listen and read things that further push me over the edge all the time. I envy the women who proudly profess their support and love for black men. I see stuff like this all the time:

It’s not that I don’t agree because I do. But I don’t feel it reciprocated in action towards me and never have. And so I also have mad respect for those who stand firmly in their disgruntled truth: that they are disappointed and untrusting of these beautifully created, melanted humans. When one of the young ladies from my neighborhood lab told me about two young guys, no older than 14, cat-called and heckled her and another 10-year-old little girl, I was sick. Their behavior was problematic AF and also learned. It may have even been taught to them. The young ladies asked to be left alone and were met with more advances. The ten year was a bit scared and the 14-year-old told me that she knew better than to show her fear because it would only increase their behavior more. TEN. FOURTEEN. They shouldn’t have to experience that and young boys shouldn’t be taught that girls (women) are owed to them. The inability to accept no for an answer or resorting to increased haggling/violence (resulting in fear for the girls/women) comes from a sense of entitlement.  #WhoTaughtYouToHateMe

The Common Denominator

Maybe the problem IS me. Seeing as though I am the common denominator, maybe I’m the issue. Do I hold them too high to their mistakes? Group them all together unfairly? Because it’s #NotAllBlackMen and I know that. I’ve seen ‘good’ black men; they are just a rare sighting in my personal life. Do I take how black men act towards me and other black women too damned personal? Does my disappointment stem from my inadvertent daddy/brother-search in niggas who are only good for slinging dick left to right or loving me tight for a few months or a couple of years? Do you know how many seasonal ‘brothers‘ I’ve put in my heart since poetry came into my life? #TewDahmnMany. You know how many of those brothers called/inboxed/dropped by to see if I was surviving my newest emotional apocalypse? Not even half. And honestly, I guess I haven’t done that for them either. It’s not their job to come check on me; ‘brother/bro’ is just a title – not a lifestyle they have to live. I take the blame for unnecessarily putting dudes in exalted titles and hoping no unspoken expectations are broken. I am no longer that growing teenager that needs her big bro or dad to fight these dudes for her; I fight my own battles. Kendria stands up for herdamnself against the atrocities of how she’s been treated. I’ve learned to stop giving away permanent titles to people who may be temporary. If my biological brother thought of me as trash, what chance did I stand with anyone else in that department? For these reasons, identifying the role I play in the demise of my own heart and respect for my black brothers is crucial.

Overall, I feel extremely failed by the black men I’ve loved. According to social media, it’s ALL me. It’s me suffering from low self-esteem or not loving myself enough. I attract these types of men due to my energy, says the media of socialites. My energy brings the shit to the plants huh? These damn memes and posts get on my EMM EFFIN nerves!!! It’s not that they don’t have truth (for SOME), but they do rush to put all the blame on the person who was mistreated. We love to preach to women and tell them to step to the mirror and love themselves more. There is some weird societal enjoyment in suggesting that the deficit resides solely in us as opposed to telling men to love themselves enough to realize without us, there is nothing. Where are the memes and posts and status’ that suggest to men that they stop using and abusing women? The memes that challenge their self-love based on their mistreatment of us?

In Summation . . .

I have a memory during my teen years of sneaking off into the alley with my neighborhood obsession. His name was Devon. I loved Devon for some reason although, even at such an early age, he didn’t respect me. Maybe he didn’t know how….nah, he knew how. He did it well with others but he saw the cracks in me and used them to his advantage. He was one of the first two guys I met when I moved on Cornelius. One day, while still a virgin, I met him in the alley and let jack off on a pair of checkerboard shorts I wore. The garage we stood behind belonged to a house I’d later move into at age 27. When he was done, I can’t remember what it was I wanted from him – a kiss or hug? For him to walk me back to the front? I don’t know, but it was something that he wasn’t willing to give. He zipped his pants up and started walking down the alley while I stood against the garage in tears. I will never forget him looking me dead in the eyes, walking backward and laughing. Then he took off running.

There it is folks.

That is the summation of my experience with black men. #NotAllOfEmTho

You know I gotta say that before one of them gets their boxer briefs in a bunch and hunts for me with the ‘you hate black men’ inscribed pitchforks. LOL.

Black men don’t like being talked about and called out on their shit. They don’t like being the center of attention if it ain’t what they deem good attention. They want women to stand by them, fighting, fucking & loving no matter what. My ex complained that our sex life wasn’t satisfying – but he carelessly had been telling lies the whole time. How do you have the expectations of getting your dick sucked on a regular when you have all these secrets, plus a white woman on the side? That goes back to that entitlement. It has been my experience that the men I have loved have all felt entitled to my body. They treat me like I OWE them sex. I once told a man I was not in the mood for sex and he didn’t respect it at all. When I later told him that it hurt me how he treated me that night, he called me crazy and said I was tripping. Some of them think we are deserving of their inability to take ‘no’ for an answer. That same man wrote hundreds of poems to women – calling us Queens and talking about what we deserved. But wait – I should blame myself for that. Right? You’ve read it before in my blogs. Or maybe not because when I wrote in great detail what happened, I privatized it days later. I have been protective of black men to a fault. Even my ex, who I blasted across social media. I’ve tried to rewrite how the public saw him many times because I love him. I know his good side; he loved me, although quite incorrectly. I got mad at myself for calling him out. But the reality was, once our ship sank, my body erupted like a volcano that had been FULL to the max of niggashyt that had been collected over 38 years. There was no time to make any other choice except scream at the top of my lungs. 8 months later, I am still smoldering.

Devon walking away from me in that alley was quite the significant foreshadow to my future. The black men I’ve known (#notallblackmen) would much rather piss on me and laugh in my face as they walk away and watch me cry about it. It’s as if they get a hard-on because of it. Becoming Devon’s girlfriend later in life symbolizes how I accept the bullshit and hope for greater anyway. I almost included an example of the few good men that I know to help balance the blog with black Light. But this isn’t about them. Today, I hope by purging this from my system that I will set forth a chain reaction of personal healing. Not just healing for my most recent ex, but a true repairing of my relationship with black men. I don’t want to sink into the abyss of fuck them.

But I got both heels and a spare in the quicksand.

I will pull myself out without a doubt. I always do and it’s always me and God. But who I will be when I emerge is only God’s best guess. If most men fuck women to destroy them, then consider me in repair from being fucked and fucked over and now standing on an emtpy train of my pieces, trying to reconfigure who TF I am. This is what devastation looks like on me:

Photo by ANKH Productions

 

SN: I do want to shout out a man I’ve referred to as my brother for years now. I won’t name him here, but he sent me over 70 text messages in an effort to help me stitch these breaches back together. He also reaffirmed that I don’t need to suffer in silence. That even though my feelings might not be shared by anyone but me, I have the right not to sit in silence and pretend. I’ve done enough loving out loud to be able to sit down and say “I’m tired boss.”

Thank you. I appreciate THAT push from a black man who knows my story.

~j

 

Resentment: Stages: Sips from My Lemonade

I’m on this stage. Image may contain: one or more people and people on stage

Usually, there is an artistic accompaniment. Maybe a band. A host. Lots of mics to choose from or colorful lights that can be changed depending on the mood of my speaking. There is usually poetry here.

Today, there is none of this. The stage is dark with burnt edges that have a stale smell of smoke. It’s empty. There is simply a stool and white spotlights that all aim in my direction. You can’t see anything other than …..

-me.

This is the stage that I am on.No automatic alt text available.

I cannot leave or abandon it until the showing is over and I will only know it’s over by the dimming of the overhead lights. Welcome to my newest one-woman show.  Please, kindly take your seats and enjoy the ride.

Unlimited tea and lemonade are included in your ticket.

Stage Left: Resentment

This is a bitter tea. As it goes down my throat it leaves a strong hint of habanero on my taste buds. My tongue may feel singed but I understand this to simply be part of the process. Water has yet to help with the inferno slowly building from the back of my mouth to the traces of my lipstick.

Sadness has subsided or at least put on a new outfit. Blessings can be hard to hold onto once you step foot into this world of emotion. I can feel the stage floor turning red and becoming too hot for my feet to stand on.

I walk through this place sometimes, listening for the sound of cologne hitting his wrists. Waiting for the dogs to hear his truck turn onto the block and run to the window. I sit and binge watch television while doing homework and working on the ball – wondering how it is that on television when men fuck up, they somehow make it back to their ex’s front door, lacking their ego and humbly dedicated to resolution instead of dissolution.

But maybe that’s just for Hollywood and Love and Hip Hop.

Or Geist.

Carmel perhaps? Fishers? California? Morocco??

Where exactly is this space in the world where people (men or women) who fuck up their relationships actually take a moment to realize the damage they have caused and try to EARN their spot back? Do those type of people actually exist? Or, better yet, am I even that type of person?

Image may contain: 1 person, outdoor and closeup

It’s like swallowing a horsepill full of urine; you kinda feel pissed on but you kinda feel like THE urine.

Oh love,

How I have waited for you to show back up at the doorstep

like a stork delivery

minus a return receipt

and I undo the locks and open the door

eyes staring into soul windows with curtains drawn

we pull each other in by the scent of our connection

and figure it out. You tell me,

you came to figure it out.

And we do. Like they do on tv.

Oh love,

how I have waited for you to show back up,

at the doorstep.

Ready.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tzp2vUp3kyo

But alas I don’t live that poetry life anymore. I thought I was in my forever space and it was another temporary person with a lifelong lesson. I get angry because I wonder when will I gather up enough lessons in my binder to be able to meet someone that isn’t just a summer school teacher? When will the moment come when I inspire another person to be his greatest self and vice versa? To reach WITH me? I want to BUILD with someone; not sit around, playing house like God ain’t watching and life ain’t short. It’s maddening.

I’m angry at myself. I don’t know if I should be, but I am. I look through my hindsight lenses at stuff I overlooked, things that could have saved me but I want to see and believe in the great in people and in return, it usually gets me toodamnopen and vulnerable. I begin to lose my power. I get mad at myself for not doing a better job of self-protection. I get upset at how I love – how intent and full it is. I can’t stop the train once it pulls off. When I love, I go into the veins of my soul and suck the blood through a coffee straw just to put life into this new relationship. I was recently told that I lose myself in my relationships.

And that was a dose of ouch and wow to be honest, although not surprising. I’ve always known that, but I thought I had it under greater control more recently. I exhaust my and that other person’s love when the end draws near because letting go has never been my strong suit. My last texts to XXXXX were fresh off the live wire. I was angry, in my feelings and resenting the idea that I should be chasing him. In the weeks after, once the tears began to clear, I continued to allow resentment a space to dwell in, inside of me.

There were days that felt like an inferno replaced my heartbeat (and still are). Every breath was a cross between mourning what we had while trying to accept it is over. I felt like I changed my course to follow love again only to end up at the same fork I’m always at; this definitely sparked a seed of anger that was growing into an Oak Tree.

But the thing is, if I pretended to not be outraged and displeased, the resentment would stay and become baggage: baggage that I would never unpack. So I opened the door and welcomed it into the living room only.

There were no bathroom breaks and I only offered one complimentary mug of lukewarm water to quench its thirst. I acknowledged it silently. Then publicly. Then it began to release itself.

As I sit on and through these different stages and take slow sips of my lukewarm lemonade, I must face my own mirror at every interval. I am nothing if I do not confront my inner demons while acknowledging the ones in others that I do not wish to encounter in others again. I could write a blog about all the things that my ex did that made me unhappy and hurt my feelings, but then I would just be a victim. That is also a planting field for resentful feelings.  I could also write about how my therapist is helping me see ME in a whole new light and damn it feels good to have that, but shit, the ‘aha moments’ are like:

This stage of sour lemons is natural. I don’t feel embarrassed or like I’m not where I should be in life. I went all the way this time. I put it all on the line and I fell off and still held that tightrope with my bare hands until the yarns cut my skin open and the blood loosened my grip. I’m not sure if I’m sitting on this stage, or if I fell onto it, bloody and out of breath.

Maybe we were both exhausted. And then, I paused and thought about my role. The things I’ve done and said at times weren’t the greatest or most poetic. At times, they were flat out wrong. It made me wonder if we are both relieved in some way. . .

The exhaustion is over. The show has ended and the people have all left the venue. The fight is done and the stage lights are beginning to dim. Maybe I didn’t fall on this stage of resentment. What if my instincts were already here, waiting on my physical to arrive while watching real life play out. And now that I have officially stepped foot into the building, I can go. I can gather my toys and go. Ever since I spoke it aloud, the universe has beckoned me to free myself from the pitfalls and dangers of resentment. I also had to come to realize maybe XXXXX has resentment towards me too and what if that’s fair? Well, now we are both free again to be who we are and where we are. I would be a crooked ass liar if I said that it doesn’t hurt that we can’t be our authentic selves with each other.

And sometimes, that hurt feels like anger….resentment.

But I free it. I free the anger. I free the pain. I free myself – from this stage and the inside of this particular arena. And if you are reading this, let this be a reminder or a form of inspire that it is natural to feel outraged or enraged by situations that occur and things people do. It doesn’t reduce you in size, character, strength or power – it simply makes you human. It is my belief that it’s actually more healthy to give yourself the space to be the human that you are and to authentically FEEL instead of running and fronting in front of the mirror. Once you sit with yourself – study it and understand it’s origin as well as the role you played in its existence, then you are giving yourself the path to let it go. And that’s all resentment is good for…letting go of.

But in order to do it, you have to first allow yourself the room to feel it.

I am proudly learning yet a new journey from the comfort of the warmth in my chrysalis. A rising will soon come.  I

 

~j

 

A Joke In My Town: Guns, 911 & the Point of an Apology

During the car ride of pure silence, with my mouth literally hanging open and tears hanging at the cliffs of my eye lashes, I remember thinking ‘I just wrote that it’s ok to be in the hood.’ Right then, I felt like I had been tied to a post and was being beaten with embarrassment’s fist, along with tons of other emotional heavyweights. Let’s go back . .  .

A couple of days ago, I went to meet my sister for lunch. She had a short trip in the city and was on her way back to Atlanta on this particular day, so we decided to meet up for brunch. Since she was dropping her daughter off at a church nearby where I live, I told her I would meet her at my house. With Nicki Minaj’s “Looking Ass Nigga” on near volume max (and repeat), I hit the highway in a festive mood, feeling and looking like great. Setting the emotional tone is important. I was hype and happy when I slowed to the red light just off the highway. Everything happened so quickly. As I turned onto my street, I saw my sister’s car pulling up to the stop sign. I figured my niece must have forgotten something or that she needed to go to the gas station. I could tell as I waited to turn onto my street that she was on the phone. She flagged me down with her arm hanging out the window and I pulled up right next to her, turning the music down. Before she could say anything, there was a car turning onto the street behind me so I had to pull off because we were blocking the street entirely. I drove to the corner and pulled up in front of my house before deciding I needed to run to the gas station and might as well drive. I pulled up into a space in front of the door after noticing my sister’s car parked away from the pumps and off to the side. Still oblivious to all things, I turned my music down and was slowly grabbing up my purse and covering my laptop. I turned to open the door and she was right there, shaking and almost in tears.

“Some guy just pulled a gun out on me”, she said as my brain scrambled to process what I had just heard. She further explained that she had simply parked and started messing with her phone when she noticed an issue arising.

Let’s back up some more. She got there before I did and had driven to the end of the street to make the u-turn. Once she turned around and parked, she noticed someone in a car that had pulled up very close behind her and seemed to be ‘poppin off’ at her. She thought maybe he wanted the parking space so she pulled up more. Next thing she knew, the guy was outside of his car, cussing and hollering and showing his gun…AT HER! Mind you, her windows are tinted dark so you can’t see inside her car very much and she has Georgia plates, so I was just as confused when she told me as she was when it was happening. Who would have a problem with her and why? Was it me? Had I done something and it was now spilling out on her? Instantly terrified, she sped off and up the street to get away just as I turned onto it.

Now here is where things go even more left field.

She had already called the police, which is why she was on the phone when I turned onto the street. When you think your life is in danger, that’s what you do right? Call the police? I don’t know. To be black in America, I can say for certain I don’t know what you’re supposed to do. It could turn out against YOU!  That is a REAL and legitimate Black In America fear. Who would want that on their conscious?

We stood at the gas station and she expressed her concern for going back on my street and talking to the police especially because I live there and she didn’t want to exacerbate the situation. Keep in mind we had no idea why this man pulled his gun out and was snapping on her or who he even was. I didn’t recognize the car description and had no idea of what to do. We were both pretty scared, to say the least.  I saw my neighbor walking his dog and I went into auto-pilot. I was standing there in heels and a bouncy dress that I bought in the Bahamas and some fancy footwear that I got from NYC; I needed to change into war gear and investigation shoes. I told my sister to stay at the station and I was going to ask my neighbor if he saw anything and change my clothes. Remember: the police have already been called at this point. We see a cop drive up the street. I got back in my truck, drove home and pulled up just as my neighbor was stepping onto his porch. I stopped him and ask him if he saw anything or was familiar with the car she described. He said no and I walked off, nervous and wondering why someone would do this and what should I do. I can’t have my sister scared to visit me- that’s my fucking sister. NO!

AND, it’s broad effin daylight on a weekday!!! WTF?

The police drove past two more times while I stood there and on their third rotation, I stood in the street with my arms stretched with the best WTF look that I could plaster across my face. He stopped just as he passed me, opened his door and asked did I call the police. I told him verbatim “no, but my sister did. She’s scared to come back on the street and she is over at the gas station”, and proceeded to describe her car. He said ok, got back in his car and drove off. Assuming he was heading over to her, I ran in the house and changed clothes, let the dogs out real quick and quick-footed it back outside. I was at her car in less than ten minutes. When I got to her passenger door to open it, a voice rang out from across the parking lot “Hey Kendra, tell her I’m sorry.”

I stood there perplexed as fuck and he said, “I wouldn’t have done that, I thought she was someone else. I’m sorry.”

Finally words came to my lips: “That was you!!???”

He said, “Yeah, tell her I’m sorry.” 

I nodded and got in the car to find my sister staring at me with the WTF face I had given the police and I’m not sure what face I gave her back. I regurgitated his words as best as I could and included the fact that I knew him. Seconds passed and we pulled off and up MLK BlVD, not really sure what to say or feel. Well, at least we knew it was over and nothing else would come of it? Was she safe to come back on my street? Was she traumatized? Was I angry? Scared? I had so many feelings fighting for top attention that I physically could not speak. I felt like crying. Straight up, I felt like bursting into complete tears but then she would console me and this was soooo not about me right now. Again, I had so many emotions. When she apologized for calling the cops and cried as we crossed 16th Street, I felt like the words were pushing to get out but there was no connection with my voice. It might seem dramatic, but I promise, we were both stunned into silence. Her apology broke that silence and I returned it with nothingness although inside of me, I screamed to her that she did nothing wrong.  What is life when you apologize for calling the police because your life feels threatened? But again, when you’re Black in America, that can result in lives lost and IMPD is no exception.

That right there is some complicated, unfair shit.

We pulled over and parked on the outskirts of the IUPUI lot across from Crispus Attucks. We sat there, my sister still shaken and really not up for driving, and me in silence with my mind on a thousand speed. I suggested we pray. It was the best, safest place I could think to go. I didn’t feel emotionally equipped to know what to say to make her feel ok. I felt bad for knowing the guy and even worse because I had to deliver his apology. When I spoke it, it felt like the first cigarette after a long day on a new addict’s tongue; there was a sense of relief and sadness. As we sat there in this parking lot, I was able to find my words and tell my sister not to apologize for being scared or for calling the police. I reminded her that that’s what is supposed to happen. That in the heat of the moment of straight fear, you’re not always (if ever) going to think about how Black Lives (don’t really) Matter while in search of help. We are supposed to be able to call the police. They are supposed to be trained to help us, especially in these situations.

EVEN.IF.WE.ARE.BLACK.

EVEN.IF.WE.LIVE.IN.THE.HOOD.

As the ice was broken and we were able to calm and collect ourselves and find some peace in it all, a group of three people walked in front of the car on the way back to work at Attucks; one white man in a suit and two black women. One woman walked a bit ahead of the two others and as the white man and black woman trailed, we both noticed the woman’s cute heels. They were Lucite-block style 3′ or 4′ inch sandals with triple straps, but not over the top. She had on a cute red dress that didn’t hug or hide her figure. Her hair was natural and we both noted that she was STRUTTING in those heels. She walked so confidently in who she was that I’d dare someone try to convince me she ever shed a tear. Black women, I tell you. We are beautiful. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to roll down the window and shout “YOU BETTA WERK BLACK QUEEN!!!!”

She raised her hands and smiled a thank you. It was like the clouds broke and the sun came through. I don’t know what significance that was, but I had to share it. We set forth on our journey to food (tried to get some Trap food but she ran out #Splat #NextTimeGadget), picked up my niece and made the rest of our time beautiful. At least two and a half hours passed by before we went back to my house, feeling at ease and safe to pull up.

Life comes at you fast man . . .

As I got out of her car, the young man that I knew (yes, the young man that had the gun out) was walking up to my neighbor’s house (yes, the same neighbor who I had stopped earlier). It was spooky AF. I’m not even trying to tie anything together because I know it was all mere coincidence, but the irony wasn’t lost on me. He had clearly seen us pulling up because as soon as I stood outside the car door (my sister and niece still in the car), he began apologizing again. Like I said, this guy is no stranger to me. I don’t ‘fear’ him. I know him well and have always thought he was a good kid. He lives around here but I’ve known him prior to moving over here. We speak every time we see each other. I ask about his children. It’s easy to say I’m disappointed in the situation as a whole, but it’s a greater thing to appreciate the fact that from the most sincere place he could foster it from, he was offering an apology. That’s not something that can be ignored in this society. That situation could have gone horribly wrong. One of the thoughts that ran through my mind was wondering how many people have lost their lives as a case of mistaken identity. I’ve always heard that if you’re going to pull your gun you better be prepared to shoot, so in his preparation, that whole scenario could have been an unnecessary disaster. His apology simply can’t fall on deaf ears and you know why? Because if it does, it teaches him (people) that remorse is not appreciated and therefore not necessary. In the arrogance of the today’s society, someone owning up and saying they made a fucked up mistake and apologizing is something that has to be noted. It doesn’t erase anything, but it one isn’t sorry for an offense, then they are liable to do it again. In the end, we all found a place to share a smile as we went in our respective different directions. It was the best possible ending to an unlikely, fucked up situation that shouldn’t have happened, but did.

And that’s that piece. . .

Or is it? 

Before I end this blog, let me address the real yellow elephant with the mouth full of peanuts. My sister called IMPD, against her better judgment and inner black woman voice. She felt threatened and scared and she told the 911 operator that she was “terrified”. I know she was scared because when she was standing at my door in tears, she was shaking. When a car drove up alongside us while we were parked, she jumped. She did the right thing, per the way our society is supposed to behave. She called 911 and even left them her number to contact her back, per the operator’s request. My interaction with the officer was bare minimal. Remember, I directed him straight to my sister with a description of her car. That was the end all of our conversation.

That officer and no other one ever went to my sister’s car. They did absolutely nothing and I’m going to be honest by saying I don’t know what they could have done given the situation. They didn’t know who it was and neither did we.  The car was nowhere in sight from what I could tell. But to refrain from going and talking to the person that called, regardless of what you can or can’t do to help, is a sign of weak ass policing, a true lack of concern for local citizens and possibly some area-stereotyping. Here’s a little more irony: approximately seven days prior to this, members of IMPD were all gathered and standing with Rev. Harris, the Ten Point Coalition and the news cameras in this exact same area at the old Double 8, which also doubles as the ten point central location. It’s where I see them standing almost daily when I come home from work. I won’t pretend to know what that meet and greet was for but I’m sure it had something to do with this bullshit campaign Rev. Harris and IMPD are serving the public by suggesting they are responsible for lowering crime in certain areas, this one in particular.

You know what I did not see the entire time this situation played out with my sister? A fluorescent green vest! Twenty-four hours later, I saw them at the same Double 8 parking lot, standing and congregating.

You see, I’m calling bullshit on the biggest bullhorn I can find. It is a slap in my face and it is disrespectful to the community members that live in this area and live with the crime and fears to play on our intelligence in the name of receiving grant and state funding to live the good life. I’m appalled that a man who oversees a church, where people go to serve the Lord, could so smugly be ok with lying to the public and his own black people. Many people have called bullshit, but I actually live here and we’re no stranger to the fact that I grew up in (and mother lives in) the heart of Butler Tarkington. I’m not just talking about what I heard, it’s what I know. I can’t blame the Reverand or IMPD or ten point for the actions of another person and I don’t. But when I see them marching up the street with Channel 6 or whoever is the first to hit record, and I see them standing on the corner every day at 5 o’clock, but when something really pops off I don’t see not one through eleven fucks given by either the ten point coalition or the police, it really pisses me the fuck off. I know that was a long sentence and this blog is full of expletives, but man…these are actual feelings being placed into words. The lackadaisical attitude of the IMPD officers, particularly the one I spoke with (my goofy ass didn’t get his name and badge) has damaging results whereas trust, which was already minuscule at best, is concerned. The convenient broadcasts of the ten point dangerous area-field trips with news crews and Mike Pence are laden with irony to their lack of visibility on this day. Let me guess, they can’t be everywhere all the time. Yep. I know.  I don’t like myself, my neighbors or community being used as experimental zoo pets in an effort to gain more funds to misuse. The Reverand and IMPD owe this community an apology for misrepresenting themselves.  They should take some humility lessons from the guy that pulled the gun out.

This broad daylight, weekday situation had to de-escalate itself, which then makes me wonder how many other situations have found their own resolution. I’ve heard shooting, arguing in the middle of the night between men and women, disrupting and disrespecting the entire neighborhood and have yet to see a fluorescent vest come through and offer any positive assistance. Or any assistance period. I watch as the police park at the old Double 8 day in and out and watch the gas station for trouble. There is also a press conference held at that very Double 8 parking lot between IMPD, Rev. Harris & the coalition and whoever they invite at least once every few months, complete with bullhorns, microphones, AND BODYGUARDS (I can’t make this up…I’ve witnessed it), so there seems to be a lot of time on folks hands, yet a woman fears for her life in broad daylight and can’t find a bullhorn, a vest, a bodyguard or a fucking police officer that gives a fuck.

I am all out of wows.

I have so many questions, but none that will ever be answered. This shit will continue on as it has. Honestly, I feel some type of way about feeling some type of way towards IMPD. I know they aren’t to be trusted. I know they don’t give a fuck. They’ve shown it and I have no faith in police departments in general. The last time I was pulled over by a police officer, I turned my video on before he got to my window. I don’t trust them. So why should I expect them to care? Why should I be mad at what I could have predicted? Why do I feel some type of relief that they didn’t do anything because this IS the same neighborhood they killed Aaron Bailey in and yet they can’t seem to come clean and admit that was a fucked up situation and an officer deserves to swap his citizen job for an inmate gig.

As my sis Rheagan Gilmore would say, “TUH!”  What faith did I even have in them to be broken?

Am I just shitty because they have proven what I had assumed? That it’s best to not even call. At least that way, no one gets killed by the police because of a call you placed, and you don’t run the risk of being disappointed in how much they don’t care. That officer looked me right in my face and said ok like he was about to go be Johnny on the Spot. Instead, he went back to his slop container, where Rev Harris has cooked up a nice meal of bullshit. Eat up. Tip accordingly.

Oh,

Before I go….so what do we do in case of an emergency??? Who do we call?

This is a question I fear I will never have a sufficient answer for.

Thanks for reading.

~j

4620W8T – #Pause: My Hood Is DOPE: #HighlighterPen #ItsRainingPens

Recently, I sat on the back patio of my home, enjoying the sunshine and watching the butterfly that kept landing on the banister. My male dog tossed and turned in a dirt pit he dug for himself and his toys while my female rested her head sleepily against my leg. It was a typically quiet and serene moment at a place I call (t)HugzMansion.

My house rests in an area that has its fair offering of boarded-up houses and vacant lots. From my backyard and because of a vacant lot, I can see straight through to the one-way street one block over. It’s a busy westbound street and I watched as traffic sped by on their way to important destinations. A collection of sounds christened the air that ranged from loud trunk music to kids playing and ultimately my personal favorite, stillness. There is no shortage of trees in the back and I took special notice to the fresh spring buds sitting on high limbs that reached for the sky’s approval. Several trees were covered in purple buds that looked like a high field of lavender from where I sat. It was (and is) quite beautiful.  As I sat, Cinematic Orchestra’s “Woman: Burnout” played us an evening soundtrack.  It was a solid warm, peaceful spring day full of the kind of sunshine that tickled the tips of the growing grass and kissed my melanin ever so gently.

I had no complaints.

According to a 2013 Fox59 report, the 46208 zip code is not only one of the most dangerous zips in Indianapolis; it is ranked as one of the most dangerous in the entire country. In this zip code, along with 46205, a person has a one in fourteen chance of becoming a victim of a homicide. While the report itself goes on to mention certain areas within these zips, or pockets, the zip code itself is used as a blanket statement for an entire area covered under those ten specific numbers. Butler-Tarkington, which is not mentioned in the 2013 article but makes up a huge portion of 46208, was featured in the news in October 2016 for making it one year without violence after a string of unsolved murders left families broken and police stumped. It’s also been listed as a high crime, dangerous areas. The MLK and Riverside areas have also been known to fall under the title of danger zones. Both areas have endured a long notoriety with locals as being oppressively unstable and full of crime. I am not writing this blog to deny the existence of the all too frequent violence. In fact, I can easily understand how one comes to label these areas as they do. Who can forget 10-year-old Deshaun Lee Swanson, who was shot and killed during a drive-by that injured several others? That happened around the corner from my mother’s house and next door to the parents of a lifelong sisterfriend. My stepfather was supposed to be in that house that day but decided to stay home. Trust me when I say I am awake, alert and aware of the violence and negativity that go on in these places.

But doesn’t the label of “most-dangerous” at least somewhat eradicate the presence of the love that I happen to know exists in these areas? Does no one else feel marked and thrown away under such a label, or is it just me and my feelings?

Consider this: the label of “most dangerous zip code in the country” (or even the city) doesn’t identify the isolated pockets where the violence is most prominent. One would have to read between the lines to get that. Instead, that lable engulfs and speaks for the entire covered area while conveniently forgetting that despite what you see from the outside looking in, there are still families here. There are still people with goals and dreams, folks who are mentoring the teens and kids that live in these very areas. There are small, grassroots collections of people trying to combat the violence AND all the other issues plaguing our communities (food, transportation, health, etc).

I grew up in the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood. I have lived all over Indianapolis but I returned to the area in 2007 and spent the last ten years in the 46208 neighborhood. I can say with certainty and experience that there is so much beautiful to be seen and experienced in the hood. Last year, I tried to apply for a job with the INRC, a community-based organization that targets urban areas with the intention of building neighborhood awareness, communication and dialogue, as well as empowering the community to teach, grow and sustain itself through their own initiatives and talents. They use what is referred to as the ABCD (Asset Based Community Development) model to achieve this success. When using the ABCD model, you assess what are considered to be “weaknesses” and work on how to utilize them as strengths. In other words, there are no weaknesses. A person may not like to speak in public, but on the flip side, they are great listeners. That person could record information for someone. There are no vacant homes: those are potential artistic canvases OR rehabilitated meeting houses or safe places. Using the talents and gifts of the people within these areas, coupled with identifying ‘troubled’ areas (regarding buildings AND the people), and then learning how to turn those into assets is how you revitalize a community from the inside out…without gentrifying it.

But in order to respect that there is talent in these so-called urban, dangerous areas, there must be belief. There must be hope. Despite what is said about us, life still exists within our numbered boundaries.

Who knew??? Life exists in “the most dangerous zip codes” of Indianapolis!!!! 

Indystar isn’t really good about reporting that though. The media is great for being first on the scene to capture people screaming and hollering in grief and disbelief when a dead body is discovered. They are Johnny on the Spot when a drug bust happens, even if they don’t have much information. But when over three hundred people draw together, along with the police (by happenstance), on a corner where folks are scared to make a complete stop at the four-way, no one is there but our own cell cameras. Then when two thousand people gather together in an event that could rival all of the summer expos and food festivals, but this one being held in a neighborhood that falls under the national label of danger, the only stories that are written are the ones we write for ourselves. Remember that person that doesn’t like to speak in public but is a good listener? He/She would fit well here to help create stories that live long after we do. OUR STORIES MUST BE TOLD. I am now part of a neighborhood organization called The Learning Tree where doing just that is a top priority.

My point of all of this not a list of suggestions of what we could do….but rather an ode to what we are doing. There is great work going on in the areas that many people are afraid of based on what they’ve heard. I spoke about my neighborhood to a coworker the other day with pride, not embarrassment or shame. As I heard myself, I couldn’t help but notice the second nature of which I bragged on the incredible initiatives in my area. The block I recently moved to is a very busy block. The street cramped with cars on both sides and the people hang out late at night with loud conversations. There are vacant homes on both sides of the street. My grandfather used to own one of them. Matter a fact, it’s the biggest one of the block – the biggest house and the biggest vacant. When I walk out of my door, I am not inundated with the negative. I see duplexes with bikes on porches and older men who frequent their stoops on a regular. There is a daycare in operation right next door to me. I hear kids crying as they get dropped off in the morning and laughing outside as I pull up in the evening.

I’ve often told people when I moved to 34th and Clifton (The Cliff), I was nervous as shit. I feared that I was making a mistake that would cost me my safety and/or peace of mind. I couldn’t have been further from reality. In the three years I stayed there, while some weird things definitely came about like the police repeatedly visiting and looking for someone who didn’t live there, or a random man knocking at my door at like 3 AM (I didn’t answer), it was a wonderful experience overall. There was a neighborhood street clean up the first year I was there. The second year led me to meet Mr. William Ryder, the artist whose home was a museum of his own incredible sculptures. He also told me how his father used to dress him up as a girl when he lived in or near Lyles Station, IN, where county officials were kidnapping black children to do radiation experiments on them. From what Mr. Ryder told me, they preferred boys hence his parents dressing him as a girl. I wouldn’t have met him, toured his home or looked into his beautiful eyes and saw all the ancestry they held with artistic pride had I been living in the safety nets of some place like Normandy Farms (traders point).

There is a gas station nearby my house that I see police presence and arrests nearly every day. Just last week, I watched a cop sit behind the Double 8 building and watch the station activities from his car using binoculars. I admit, there is a lot that goes on there and I personally try not to use it too much but I can’t be too surprised. After all, this IS one of the most dangerous places in the entire country.

 People drive through here daily. I wonder if, when driving, anyone notices the precious gems that those of us who live here see? Such as the teddy bear memorial that I believe grows by the week from where two men lost their lives after a driver jumped the curb, striking and ultimately killing both men as they awaited the bus. It’s old news but the neighborhood hasn’t forgotten them. Do people only see what they believe are bums and addicts or do they notice the mothers walking down the street holding hands with their children too? Those are real people. Have they seen the garden preparation at the Flanner House that will provide freshly grown food to area residents in addition to offering gardening classes. Do people see all the kids that wait for the after-school food program that GRoe Inc. provides? Or is that too inner in the inner city? Kheprw has a great community food program for a low monthly cost. Neighborhood and community building is happening right before our eyes…and right above the labels.

Let the news tell it, the only saving grace in these areas is the 10-Point Coalition, spearheaded by a man whose affinity for profiling, stop and frisk and disparaging remarks about black youth keep him locked out from making any real impact on the people. Photo ops and a ‘walk thru’ or two with the Mayor are dope tho.

The link I provided in regards to the Butler-Tarkington area going a year without violence starts with a video of the news crew walking up 40th street with the 10 Point guys. The media seems impressed but those of us who live over here don’t see them until we turn on the tv or see the news crew outside. We are NOT impressed. Less reported are the grassroots efforts of the RESIDENTS. The people who live here when the camera crews pack up and go back to Noblesville and Carmel. Folks like these fathers who came together to not only work the streets of Butler Tarkington at night time in attempts to curb the violence, but they are attending community meetings and letting their voices (our voices) be heard. These are fathers and husbands who, through their own finances, offer children in the neighborhood options for the summer (football little league) and someone trusted to confide in.

A couple of weeks back, on the MLK side of 46208, I along with my partner, catered a “living room concert series”, where locals gathered together in a neighborhood living room for a concert-style dinner, entertainment and conversation. This event included area neighbors as well as people from the community that have the pull, the pockets and the DESIRE to invest in our areas. No animals were harmed and no gunshots rang out in the process. Lives were not lost; in fact, they were inspired and uplifted. The living room concert featured a live band and singer with me serving as the host and poet. A bit of community dialogue followed the music where questions were asked and input from those of us who live here was shared.

All of this in one of the most dangerous zip codes of Indianapolis and the entire country.

THE POINT:

Meet Indy’s New Fountain Square

There is no question that violence, drugs, and police runs in these communities are frequent occurences. I am by no means attempting to dismiss the importance of curbing the statistics over here. But there are great things happening in the 46208 areas and it’s not coming by way of gentrification. It’s coming at the hands of the community residents that either stay here or travel over here to help rebuild the people. That’s the difference between gentrification and community rebuilding: In the gentrifying model, homes and land are bought and remodeled to look pretty. The rustic browns and tans of hood life are replaced with friendly hues from the pastel color wheel. Pink, blue and yellow siding line up the newly constructed homes or the ‘rehabbed’ places as the old neighbors are pushed out and new ones are brought in. Coffee shops pop up and white people start jogging with babies and strollers and the next thing you know, what was once a predominantly black area is now the new hipster area. *See Fall Creek Boulevard. Fountain Square didn’t become the revitalized artistic gem that it is now without pushing a shitload of people out and rewriting the story without them in it.

“30’000 feet up and you are not invited” ~Kanye West

But in the community building model, we fix the PEOPLE first and then assess what needs to be done regarding the homes, buildings, and land. The people are not pushed out; they are empowered. You can’t empower a building but you can its people. And that is happening all over urban areas with little to no coverage from local news outlets or stations. If it wasn’t for these blogs and articles that we write, we would only believe that these dangerous zip codes are places where you only drive through if necessary and you never move to on purpose.

I moved here on purpose, even with a fistful of fear I had collected by what I had heard. That fear was quickly eradicated and with the help of people like Earl & Ro Townsend, who started the GRoe Inc organization, it became easier to see how to be an asset instead of a complainer. I didn’t get the job at INRC but I’ve learned and am still learning how to apply the ABCD model to my community. Right now, if you look at my big yellow house, you may notice one of the blinds is a jumbled up mess. It is ridiculously ugly.

It’s been torn, shredded and manipulated to fit dog needs. I honestly don’t know what they did to get the blinds like they have but we have failed to replace them as of yet and it’s been a month or so.

You can see straight through on the bottom portion. I must say, it’s time to replace them. If a person was to judge my home based on my blinds, they would expect to walk into a dust-filled, grease motel with floors full of stuff you don’t want to step or stand on, the stench of dog piss and two couches that don’t match in one room. That’s far from the case. It’s typically clean in here although there are times when we get lazy. There is no shortage of furniture but it still has a very minimalist vibe as there are no televisions downstairs and nothing but the dinner table in the dining room. If you started from the inside first, you wouldn’t expect to see those blinds. In a sense, I guess I own the most dangerous blinds in the local area…and maybe even the United States.

Much like my blinds, the inner city has a stigma attached to it that comes with lowered expectations and stereotypical assumptions. Many people will stop at the stigma and never venture inward to learn otherwise. But if you dare step inside for a bit, you won’t last five minutes without learning that love lives here; daily. You will meet artists of varying mediums – string players, harpists, singers, and musicians. Painters and sketch artists, writers and photographers. There are places to learn how to garden, do yoga and work on clean eating. Yes, we live in a food desert with no standing bank. Yes, there is violence around us and an overwhelming police presence despite our lack of trust in them. But there is always laughter on our blocks. There are smiles and children with their bikes turned upside while they spin the tires with their hands. There are lavender buds on the tree limbs out back and the sun still kisses our flowers with precision. We have as much silence as a Carmel, Indiana subdivision and in the morning, the chirping birds don’t hesitate to sing to us. We are business owners. Working people. Retirees and school kids. Parents and elderly people with stories in their pockets. We are a community of people. We are more than a zip code and it’s label.

When I see or hear stuff like ‘I wish black folks would come together’, I can’t help but shake my head in immediate irritation (while wondering where the people who are quick to say this actually live). Clearly, they took the media bait and they believe there is little over here beyond the violence and heartbreak.

In reality, there is a great deal of good that goes on and I guess this is one of those instances where you just have to live it to know it. Or at least be a frequent visitor. The outside looking in often leads to a front row seat to ignorance.

From my front row seat, I get to see butterflies land right in front of me. That same butterfly landed on me before flying off again. #BeFearless

Nestled under the cold blanket of a harsh label, there are human beings trying to do and striving for the best…for themselves AND for their community.

Welcome to one of the most dangerous zip codes in America.

~j

 

WOMAN’ing: Ch. 25, F*#@ It, I’m On One – Pt IV of V

It was the night of the Michael Jackson and Prince ICON party at the Vogue…I had bought tickets weeks prior and was stoked to attend the party that would include live performances, lots of music from both artists and their musical friends, as well as a huge dance floor to party the night away. I got cute. I wore a tutu blue jean dress with some cute hand gloves and put my hair up in some funk-driven style. It was my guy and I’s first time going out to this type of setting and we had plans to set the dancefloor on fire. We arrived and were able to make our way to the front of the stage just in time for one of the many dope performances planned for that night. I saw a few people I knew and gave out hugs in between getting myself ready for a long night of sweaty foreheads and  tired feet. My guy stood behind me as the artists began to take to the stage and prepare to sing. I stood in front of him looking at the stage when I started feeling dizzy. I’m a smoker and thought maybe it was from that and would subside in a minute but it didn’t. It progressed forward with the dizziness moving from my head to my eyes and then I started to sweat profusely. It hit me so suddenly and so hard that it was almost hard to deny. I stood there trying to see if I could tough it out but at the point that I could feel the sweat running down my head (mind you, we had just arrived about 10 mins prior and had not done anything but walk from the door to the stage), I knew what time it was. I hesitantly turned to him and said ‘I need to go outside, I’m having a panic attack.’ He didn’t miss a beat or ask any questions; he just turned and came out w/me. I walked as fast as I humanly could from the stage to the front door. More people had arrived so the crowd was thicker and I was moving so fast, I didn’t really know if he was still behind me or not. The band began as soon as I got to the front door but I felt like if I stopped, I would drop dead. Literally those exact thoughts.

We got outside of the venue and I walk-ran to a picnic table in front of a sushi restaurant that sits next to the Vogue. I sat down and could barely see anything. I was so dizzy and scared and sweaty  and all I could think was ‘I need to be out of these clothes.’ My guy was there and I could tell he was scared but at this point, my breaths had shortened and I was dry heaving for air. I unzipped the front of my dress to let some air get to my body, no longer concerned with anyone who might see me. Logic time had passed; this was me trying to find my safety net. I felt like I was dying. I am not sure what dying feels like but that is my best guess. As I struggled to get a whole, relaxed breath, my entire body became drenched in sweat. I’m sure I was shiny because I was so sweaty from head to toe and I was shaking from the inside out. Nothing about me was put together and I could not find my footing. I was terrified and so was he. He sat with me, holding my hand while I continued to try to just catch a whole breath. About ten minutes passed before he asked if I wanted to leave; I said yes. Party was over before it began. He had to walk to get the truck and I could tell he didn’t want to leave me but I told him I was ok. When he disappeared into the dark, I cried as best as I could. I think I cried so I could see if I had ANY control over anything in my body. I cried because I was scared and worried that I would be dead when he got back to me. When he got back with the truck, I got in and we went home. I had the window rolled all the way down, face towards the wind and the seat leaned back. The panic attack was starting to subside but it felt like if I moved or blinked too fast or hard, it would resurface. It was the first panic attack I had since 2010 but since it wasn’t my first panic attack, I recognized the symptoms and was able to remove myself to a ‘safer space’ (loose term) until I could get home.

As we come to the last two blogs of the WOMAN’ing series, I had to take a minute out to discuss mental health issues. I am not here to be a doctor in literary form and not only do I not have all (and in some cases any) of the answers, I also am not sure of all the different types of mental disorders that people suffer from. I do realize this is not solely a woman’s problem and that men suffer from many of the same things I have discussed throughout this series, however, women are expected to be emotional yet in emotionally in control of ourselves. We are expected to be the nurturers and the ones that bring the ‘love’ aspect into things but are also expected to be ok. We are expected to not need help, professional or personal. We are expected to have this side of us together, when in fact, all of the stimuli we receive in trying to be everyone’s everything often has negative mental effects on us, therefore exacerbating any mental deficiencies we may have or worse, creating new ones.

I have had a pill bottle full of depression meds for two years now. When I moved, I considered throwing them away, but they now sit in my office as a ‘break open in case of emergency stash’. I have never taken meds before. I got them in the middle of 2014 when I thought I was going to lose my shit. I have never so much as twisted the bottle. The weird thing is when the doctor handed me the pills, I felt some sense of relief having told someone that I was going through a severe depressive storm that I was not yet able to pull myself from even with the tools in hand. Having him hand me those pills that I knew I would never take made me feel good because for the first time, I had told someone that could help me that I was depressed. I don’t particularly want my personality to become dependent upon depression meds to be able to make from hour to hour so I’ve never taken them but I did find myself on a lightning end to my depression. I am going to speak very candidly from this point forward on three different things regarding mental illness:

  1. Depression
  2. Anxiety/Panic disorder
  3. Mild/Severe Personality Changes

Shall we?

Depression is not an Adjective:

Growing up, depression was not something that I was not privy to. My aunt suffered from depression from the onset of her mother’s death when I was like 5 or 6 years old through current. I suspect her home life with an emotionally abusive husband did nothing to help her through it. I would hear her talk of her racing and scattered emotions and since I spent a lot of time with her, I would see her go through them sometimes. She would sleep through whole days and wake up not knowing if she was at the beginning or end of the week. I assume she was doing a lot more crying than I ever knew of, but her face always told a story of weariness and tire. She looked emotionally spent when she wasn’t in a good mood and I know now that was part of the depression but as I was growing up, as much as I understood, I still didn’t. It wasn’t until I realized I was battling the same type of mental demons that I fully got the impact of depression and how debilitating it is. While on the outside, it looks like ‘why doesn’t she just get out of the bed’ or ‘why do you stay’ or ‘why won’t you ‘ yada yada yada. Everyone outside of the window has all the answers for someone else’s life but few for their own.  My first conscious dealing with depression was in the early 2000s when I was, much like my aunt, in an emotionally abusive relationship. I do not blame him or the relationship for my depression; it was just part of the saddening motivation. People use the word ‘depressed’ so flagrantly. It’s been as whored out as ‘woke’ or ‘overstand’ or some of the other words that lose their meaning over time because we have removed the true definition for them in our conversations. Depression is not a fleeting sad moment. It’s not someone passed away and you’re grieving. That’s called grieving. It’s not you lost your job and now you’re stressed. That’s called stressed and there might be some sadness associated with it, but tears and sad faces don’t equate to depression. Depression is in your brain. It’s the overwhelming sense of sadness and even fear when you get a promotion and everyone is cheering you on. It’s the death of a loved one that renders you unable to continue; you can’t get out of bed, you can’t go back to work, you can’t be bothered to talk to other people. It’s you existing solely in your emotions, whatever they are (they aren’t always sad). It is physical. It is being down on yourself about everything from a simple catalyst. Depression can be triggered but it need not be. It is a silent creeper that is relentless in its pull on your coattail. Depression simply put is a beast that can’t be resolved by someone coming over and making you laugh. It isn’t helped or cured by someone telling you that you don’t feel what you feel or you are kidding and lying to yourself.

While society still struggles to know how to deal with depressed people and learn constructive, healthy ways to address and assist them, depression gives no  fucks and the flippancy or unbotheredisms of us as a people tend to further an individual’s depression higher up the charts. It’s dangerous to say you are depressed when you are just sad.  Sadness is a part of life and for some people, so is depression, but the two are not inclusive of each other. The danger of using those two words interchangeably lies in confusing people into believing that depression is as easy to suffer from as apple pie in a white family’s oven. It’s not. Depression has it’s chosen ones and I do believe that it can be developed as well (not just the way your brain was wired at birth), but it’s not what occurs when you stub your toe and can’t get over the pain so you lay down and don’t move while watching tv. Depression wants solitude, silence, loudness, movement, tears, anger, fights, help, hugs, phone calls, shouting matches, more tears – depression wants EVERYTHING and yet nothing helps until it does. It doesn’t always have a ‘sad’ face and sometimes, you know you are going through another bout simply by your physical reaction to things. I have no ‘answer’ or solution for depression and curing the mind and heart of such a dangerous place. But I do know we need to stop just tossing it out there as an adjective. It’s not a way to describe how unhappy you are at the moment. It’s a mental imbalance. An emotional meat-grinder. A growth stunter. Depression is not an adjective. We have to be responsible for our language because it creates cultures and beliefs that sometimes aren’t true.

Stop saying you are depressed when you are sad.
Stop telling people they are just sad or ok when they say they are depressed.
Stop being dismissive. It just creates a wider funnel for depression to drown the sufferer in.
Stop using it like it’s candy. If you aren’t depressed, that’s great. If you’ve never suffered from depression, that’s great. Don’t pull yourself into a storm you don’t understand because it’s a disservice to those who do get it.
Depression is not an adjective. It’s a legit illness.

Anxious for the Panic Room

I still remember my first panic attack. It was at my mother’s house. We were standing outside on a warm summer day and both me and my mom were standing at the back of my stepfather’s truck when this  rush of sweat came over me just like at the Vogue most recently. I stood as long as I could until I had to go sit on the porch steps to catch my breath. I tried to act like nothing was wrong although I was completely terrified because not only was I profusely sweating, but now I was dizzy and my heartbeat was racing. I went into the house, laid on her living room floor and prepared to die as I cried and begged God not to let me pass this randomly on my mom’s living room floor. Clearly, I made it. But it would take talking to my friend at the time to help me make sense of what happened and even then, I still didn’t believe it. Not until I had another one and began to read about panic attacks.

On the soul food series, Terri suffered from panic attacks. They attempted to address that silent stressor but when I was watching, I couldn’t understand it. I never understood it what was going on with her or why. After I became in tune with my own, I went back and rewatched the season w/Terri’s attacks and what a difference a panic attack makes. Shit! I completely got it and truthfully, that is EXACTLY how I felt. Watch this ten-minute clip to see the randomness and the accuracy of panic attacks, at least from my experience:

That is a legit interpretation of panic attacks, even down to the way Bird reacted. My guy was similar in reaction….while he didn’t sing old church hymns to me, he was scared and tried his best to offer comfort and bring me down. He told me in the days afterward how frightening the situation actually was. I am not sure why my panic attacks started. They aren’t frequent and sometimes  there are years in between them, but when they happen, THEY HAPPEN!!!!! Listen, all over the web you can find articles and pages dedicated to panic attacks, what to do, why they happen, etc, etc.

This one is pretty well detailed in the symptoms.

That fear of dying is so real. You literally feel like this is the end and OMG why is it ending like this of all ways?

Of course, stress, whether internally (your own personal stress) or external (adopted stress of loved ones), can bring on an attack but when they will happen is anyone’s guess. The unpredictability coupled with the fear associated with panic attacks keeps me on edge when I find myself sweating or feeling nauseated or dizzy. Most times it’s nothing, but the fear persists just the same. The last attack, I tried the methods that are often suggested including trying to stay mentally calm, taking deep slow breaths (which is hard when your breath is stunted), getting air but I can’t say how much they helped.  There are anti-depressant meds you can get to help with easing the frequency of attacks but they don’t stop them completely and to be perfectly honest, I’m a bit over the idea that everything can be solved by a little pill somebody created out of who knows what. Finding the route cause of your panic attacks would be the greatest hope one would have for fighting back and I’m sure there is some type of natural supplement that could assist. I don’t have them frequently enough to have invested much energy in combating them, but if you are reading and aware of some natural cures or something aside from popping pills, drop it in the comments !!! Talk back <3

Fuck It, I’m On One

 

I have only tickled the fancy of the surface with this blog. Mental illness issues are abundant yet they are shunned and whispered about. To me, this portion of my journey through my womanhood includes being honest with myself about who I am and how that affects me in positive and/or negative ways. Being honest with yourself means owning up to your mental strengths….and weaknesses. It doesn’t matter if you have an IQ of a genius or daily struggles with bipolar disorder, owning your mental space is what will allow you to continue to grow. It’s what allows the necessary help get to you even if that’s a depression prescription that you never take. But somewhere tiptoeing on the axis of womanhood, there is a silent creeper that affects millions of women but we hardly see it as news or hear it about it in conversations.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) came into my life about five years ago when a dear friend found out she was suffering from it. During the beginning days of her period, she would get irritable and jumpy. What would usually be a simple argument would be like WWIII and anyone could get it !!! She was given some meds to take and I can’t remember if they were birth control pills are anti-depressants, but with her emotions being an absolute mess on a monthly basis, she tried them. I think the results fell in the middle of the spectrum. In the blog prior to this, I talked about the effects of aging and how I feel about it. I wrote about how my period has changed over the years and become an untrustworthy (although reliable) reminder of my womanhood every month. One thing I failed to address was PMDD and how it suddenly appeared as part of my PMS symptoms. I am self-diagnosed so there is room for me to be in error on this but I’m about 100% I’m correct. Real quick, cause you know I love definitions:

Dysphoria – A profound state of unease or dissatifaction. Dysphoria may accompany depression, anxiety or agitation.

Out of nowhere, over the last 3-4 years, I noticed a change in my personality that occurred at the exact same time every month: during my period. Let me back up first. When I a teenager and even throughout the majority of my 20s, I didn’t suffer from any PMS or sickness or mood alterations when I had my cycle. It was business as usual on all other fronts. The closer I got to 30 and then afterward, I started to develop PMS symptoms and cramping which I have charged to the game as aging. But these last few years, I noticed something else. Something new. Something a bit more dangerous. My attitude: tolerance, patience, conflict resolution – all greatly affected and down in numbers. In other words, I have none of those things. My tolerance and patience levels are zero and my conflict resolution is sarcastic at best. Now whatever you have imagined it, quadruple it and that’s me barely “able to can” as Awesomely Luvvie would say. I have screamed so loud that I’ve become hoarse. You want to talk about uneasiness?? Lord Jesus, I can feel myself shaking internally and I know it’s time for everyone to hit the deck, she’s about to blow !!!  Then the next day, I’m looking and thinking back with embarrassment like ‘who the fuck was I?’

My friend and I aren’t the only sufferers of this. I mean, there are enough of us for them to concoct another lab pill with a commercial attached (but be careful on taking meds because the symptoms could be as small as a rash to as final as death..lol). One day we were talking about it and how people who don’t and have never experienced it don’t really understand how heavy and detrimental the symptoms can be. Men of course totally don’t get it and with both of us, it showed up so late in life that people are looking at us like ‘well you weren’t this way just last year.’  Yeah well, DUH MF !!!!!

If you add PMDD on top of a nervous and mental system that is known for panic attacks and a depressive nature, there is no telling what you might get. I once had an ex tell me I had personality issues. I had another tell me that I go from zero to a hundred really quick and then my currency seems to think something along the same lines. Everybody can’t be wrong, but that doesn’t make them right. I wonder how much of what we experience in life effects us in our menstrual cycles? I recently obtained a therapist and will have my first appointment with her soon. Something that I have wondered about in regards to personality & bipolar disorder, as well as PMDD, is do the people on the other side of us take our mental issues seriously enough to attempt to NOT trigger them?

Here’s an example: Accountability is something that is big to me. I am not always in the right and while criticism of myself may be hard to digest at times, I still understand that I have to be responsible for the things I say and do and how they make other people feel. Even if there is something mentally different about me, I still have enough ‘norm’ about me to know that I have to respect how I’ve made folks feel even when it’s bad. For me, a person holding themselves accountable is HUGE so when you avoid accountability or deflect (which another pet/personality peeves), it has the ability to instantly take me to 100 depending on what time of the month it is (and sometimes NOT depending on that at all). I’m an only child and so was my mom so I didn’t even grow up with cousins my age. There was no one else to put the blame on when something was messed up. I’ve always had to be called to bat for what I pitched out so it’s a hard pill for me to swallow when I see someone can’t be accountable for the things they’ve said and done. So again, I go back to the question of triggers.

Are the people on the other side of us taking our mental issues seriously enough not to trigger them? Are they being accountable? Are they deflecting? Are they being condescending? The list goes on and is based on individuals but me accepting that there is something different about how I am mentally and emotionally wired, be it once a month or daily, is also me saying to you if you plan to stick around, please try not to toss gasoline on an ever burning flame.

I don’t know if that makes sense to anyone but me.

But it’s definitely something I’ve wondered more than a handful of times. Mental health is hardly addressed enough and especially not in the black community. Those who have mental illnesses or suffer from anxiety or depression or PMDD or [insert illness] need the assistance of our loved ones as much as we need doctors, prescriptions, and the rest . . .

That is greatly important and I can’t begin to stress how much so in one blog. We don’t don’t need to be coddled and treated like babies. It’s not that. But if we acknowledge an illness, please don’t tell us we are lying or tripping or need to ‘take it to the altar.’ Those of us who believe and trust in God have already done that and this is the part of faith where you WORK. We don’t need to be patronized or made fun of but rather that you are cognizant of words and triggers and actions that create funnels for depressive or manic episodes and reactions. If you already do that, then keep up the great work !!! 

In the meantime, if you suspect (or know) that you suffer from of the aforementioned or other mental illnesses, please seek the appropriate help for you. Trust your gut and your instinct. Talk to someone in confidence and if possible, seek counsel. I was recommended to the Christian Theological Center which has a sliding scale for therapists according to your income. Mine is about $30 a session.

Click this link for their information.  

Again, I didn’t write this blog with a bunch of answers and suggestions. Simply my story as I inch my way closer to 38. I hope somewhere in this, someone else becomes free enough to be open with themselves first about their mental illness, deficiencies, and issues.

I’m still the shit regardless of whatever makes me less than perfect. I love the fact that imperfection is something I cannot achieve because I truly feel like (at least on my good days) that I can accomplish nearly anything I set my mind and heart to. Perfection seems to hard to obtain so it’s better that I am flawed in the ways I am. It also allows me to empathize with folks.

I wish more people had that same empathy and understanding. Although this series is called WOMAN’ing and about being a woman, men suffer mental illnesses just as much as women. And our society is too full of people who don’t know how to nurture us appropriately.

May the high horses they ride in on catch a broken leg. Hashtag PutEmDown. 

Blogtrack:

“I had a one-way ticket to a place where all the demons go
Where the wind don’t change
And nothing in the ground can ever grow
No hope, just lies
And you’re taught to cry in your pillow
But I survived

I’m still breathing, I’m still breathing
I’m still breathing, I’m still breathing
I’m alive
I’m alive
I’m alive
I’m alive
I found solace in the strangest place
Way in the back of my mind
I saw my life in a stranger’s face
And it was mine”
~Sia, Alive 

 

 

WOMAN’ing: Chapter 21, Pt II – The Pussy Police Officers *updated

A casual stroll down my Instagram feed ended with me being stopped dead in my tracks at one of the posts from someone I follow.

I’ve been following the young lady that I once helped raise when she was barely able to read on her own for the last year or so. She’s so beautiful. She’ll be twenty-one on November 21st, which is ironically the birthdate of my partner now. She has an incredible singing voice and does feature spots quite often from what I can tell. She has a Soundcloud page too. On this day what popped up on my feed wasn’t her singing or somewhere with her red hair blowing or smiling. She was ……posed – in what looked to be a professionally taken picture of her in nothing but her panties. She had some type of coat covering her breasts but she wasn’t ‘wearing’ it. Her face was stunning. Makeup was done nice, hair simple and cute and her features are just beautiful. I really hope beyond what the world is telling her in order to be next to her, that she knows she is gorgeous!!!! When I saw that picture, I felt so many different feelings and the first being ‘where the fuck are your clothes?’

But ….the last thought I had, as much as it bothered me to see her like such, was who have I become that  I think I can be on the pussy patrol, stopping and frisking women for their right to do whatever makes them happy, at that age, at that moment on that day. She’s a twenty-year-old young woman who has been to college, is no one’s mother yet and talented AF ! Kendria, stop cyber-side-eye  policing this adult young woman, especially when you were quite similar at her age. #letherlive #GetOffHerAssWithTheSideEyeBeltsAndExtensionCords

Whew! What juxtaposition.

…and on that note, FUCK THE POLICE.

NO, I’m not talking about the boys (and girls) in blue right now (but really, they can get it too). I mean fuck the PPOs. Who and what are the PPO’s?

*foul language ahead*

The Muthafuckin’ Pussy Police Officers. The people who really think it’s their job to dictate who a woman is and what she does and whether or not she’s still ‘qualified’ in PPO’s eyes to be considered a [respectable] woman. Still don’t get it? How many times have you scrolled past a meme like this:

06eb4b22f9a26dffb390d8e692166a8b 6291a7c0da4e21422f19580c57ef166d so-let-me-get-this-straight-women-want-a-real-man_o_461506

Or have you read about how black women who get their hair dyed blonde don’t like being black and secretly want to be white?
Have you ever scrolled past a long thread of heauxteps and friends that are going in on black women for the choices they have made about their lives and how those choices somehow equal a diminished sense of black pride? What about the folks that talk shit about strippers but make no mention of the skeletal remains that are stinking up their walk-in closets? Or the folks that are constantly talking about what a woman can wear and be acceptable? Or how long her nails can be before she is considered ‘too ghetto… or how she wants attention when she wears a short skirt, breastfeeds in public or wears colored contact lens and hair weave … the list of reasons people sign up to become card-carrying PPOs is forever growing and I’m sure there are new instances added daily that speak on what makes a woman and what breaks one.945868_969728873082675_3146413067454980451_n

To them – I say fuck you.

yes

Let’s divide this part into three sections:

  • -Woman 
  • -Thou Art
  • -Assumed to be Loose …..But I’m going to start from the end and go up.

 

“Assumed To Be Loose”

I live for word definitions:

loose

lo͞os/

adjective

  1. not firmly or tightly fixed in place; detached or able to be detached.

synonyms:      not fixed in place, not secure, unsecured, unattached

  1. (of a garment) not fitting tightly or closely.

synonyms:      baggy, generously cut, slack, roomy

verb

  1. set free; release.

            free, set free, unloose, turn loose, set loose, let loose, let go, release

 Boyshorts as outside clothes, twerk videos, ass shots and pumped up breasts aren’t anything ‘new’ so to speak, but with the continued rise of social media, they’ve gained some traction because everyone is wearing it and doing it for all to see. Pole dancing is more acceptable today than it was when I was wrapping around one and girls holding blocks of money and making it rain on each other, themselves or a random brown kitchen table is part of our society’s norm. But these things, while coveted to the sight, are things that get women labeled as a certain type of woman. Because only a THOT would come outside in short shorts and only a stripper hoe would have desires of learning how to work the pole. Right?

  1. LOOSE – the adjective definition #1. – not firmly or tightly fixed in place; detached or able to be detached.  Synonyms – not fixed in place, not secure, unsecured, unattached

– Women are considered loose as much as society can loosen us up. We are’ not fixed in a certain place’ according to the #PPO Academy graduates. We are INsecure (which leads to our off the cuff, loose behavior) and unattached. Perhaps if we had a man, we could fix ourselves? Or if we went to church and prayed our hoe away, we could come back out as saved and great –

-but wait. …

You can’t turn a hoe into a housewife, right? Ok so women who are hoes, thots, loose ones, fast ones, etc. are forever lost causes but that’s already been discussed in a blog by me. You might recall from a previous blog, I discussed ‘hoes’ and how ironic it is that hoes still get fucked when so many men don’t respect them. But if you don’t respect her and you’re fucking her, does that not speak to what you think of yourself? Idk….this blog isn’t really on that again. This is about the fact that any one person, male or female, thinks they even have the right to label a woman anything aside from her name or a name she’s given herself. I can’t believe I’m about to use this woman as an example but she’s a really good one: Kim Kard.

She’s always called a hoe and a thot and a host of colorful other names that don’t sound like Kim, Kardashian, West or Woman. Why is this? Because she did a sex tape with Ray-J and made bank from it? OR is it because we know she had sex with Ray J and women can’t have sex without being whores? Clearly (if you saw the tape), they had some type of relationship that extended well beyond that garbage hotel action and Ray J’s lack of knowledge of what to do in such a situation (you thought it too) so it has to be something else right? Ok well, she got married for 72 hours. She also dated Reggie Bush. She now is married to Kanye West. Let’s toss a random person in there for shits and giggles….we’ll call him Arnold. So let’s do the math of what we know – KK has slept with at least four different men, two that she married, one who is the father of both of her kids, one who she made a sex tape with and then turned it into an empire (no matter what anyone thinks of her) – Yep, she’s a certified loose, thot dressing hoe.#Sarcasm

Can you see the tom foolery or is it just me? But the policing doesn’t stop at our panties. It is a head to toe makeover that the #PPO are constantly (pa)Trolling women to give them. Now apply this to women all over. If you sleep with X-amount of men, you are a hoe. If you wear X-type of clothes, you are a thot. If you’re black and you die your hair blonde, then you want to be white. If you’re a bigger woman at a buffer, you’re obese with an eating problem. If you wear heels all the time, you’re ignorant to the natural needs of your feet. If you still wear bras, you haven’t done your research and need to retrain your mind to think bra-less because that’s what real women do. If you take too many selfies, you are too confident, stuck up, narcissist and need to chill. If you aren’t smiling in public at all times, you’re mean, evil looking or mad at the world when “come on babygirl, it really ain’t that bad.”

The #PPO can strike their badge authority anywhere. They are loose with it. They aren’t attached to any one woman; these rules apply to all women everywhere and especially the ones raising up future women. The Pussy Police Officers will come for your neck the minute they think you have dropped the ball on being a card-carrying woman, ESPECIALLY if you are a BLACK WOMAN. I believe ALL women are subjected to the PPO, but black women just seem to have it worse (of course). People like Trick Daddy, Kanye and various other rappers who’s tracks get twerk’d to by the same women they tear down, are brutally insensitive and downright disrespectful to black women as if it were a sport. It’s nothing to see a black man do an interview and speak some vile shit against black women as if his mother were born lily white as the snow. We’re fine as long we’re their fucking fake ass  video props but when it comes to real life, we are worthy of their PPO disrespect.  So they’ll fuck us, make us into hoes to talk about, use us in their videos for low wages and ass smacking but then call us out because we’re not living up to what they think a real woman is? Geeez, some men really are looking for a daughter to fuck. They want a girl they can tell what to do for 12 hours and a woman they can fuck ‘like a hoe’ for 12 hours. Who lives up to this? #PPO nellyThere’s a guy whose name I can’t remember (why would I) who has a YouTube channel dedicated to stereotyping us and talking against us. He has millions of followers and believers. As much as my fellow sisters and I ignore this shit and try not to let it bother us, it’s hard not to feel something from that type of shit. Simply put: it hurts. But we superwomen and know our strength so we keep pushing regardless…and the #PPOs continue to patrol our city and cyber streets to teach us, not from experience, how to be good, wholesome, society-accepted women. I reject that shit and say fuck that and fuck you! And while there are plenty of women PPOs lurking (I have some on my FB page), the men seem to have this position on lock! I guess considering they started off as girls, they CAN tell us a thing or two…I just don’t know how accurate it would be. I have never understood how the saying ‘a woman can’t raise no man’ can be accurate when speaking of a single woman raising her little, growing boy but somehow a grown man CAN re-raise a grown ass woman?

As my girl Naz would say, MUTHAFUCKAFORWHAT??!?!?!?! Kinda like the hoe concept – it’s as if she’s doing it on her own, but we all know she can’t be a hoe without hoe-ish assistance.

Yes, woman is often assumed to be loose. I use this phrase a lot and even have it in a poem. Of course, it stems from the movie title of Woman, Thou Art Loose, but it’s missing the ASSUMED so I’ve added it where it goes. Our bodies are the topic of discussion daily. We are told what we can and can’t do with them and even had a governor who is now running for VP of  the USA try to force those who have abortions and stillbirths to BURY the remains. We are often punished for having sex – Punished for how we look – And told what we can feel. Welcome to the Academy for PPO. The Muthafuckin Pussy Police Officers. Oh how I wish they would use LOOSE in the verb way and let go of us. Just let go. Set us free. Let us fucking be the types of women we WANT to be. Hoe or otherwise dammit.

We all eventually wake up from our slumbers and it’s hardly ever because this harsh society tried to guilt trip us about our decisions… Women go through so many phases of living before they get to the woman they want to be. No one can dictate what those phases are or when they will happen (although there is a projected set of ages for some stuff) but you can bet your pointy little finger that her experiences will make her the phenomenal woman she is growing into. Do I want to see a girl I knew when she was illiterate on IG in her tshirt & panties? Nah. But do I have the right to tell her to sit down? Nope.  I don’t have that right. I can stop it from showing up in my  feed but I don’t have the right to PPO that young lady like I work for Sagamore.

PT II – THOU ART – Tomorrow.

“THOU ART”

art

/ärt/

noun

  1. The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

  2. The various branches of creative activity, such as painting, music, literature, and dance.

Ahhhh…..When I tell you I adore definitions, I really mean it. I teach using the dictionary and definitions as inspiration when I do workshops because sometimes, seeing the meaning of a word can create an entire poem. Or maybe it’s just me.

Thou Art – I decided to break this blog up by way of the title because all three separations hold their own accuracy and worth. When women are LOOSENED (verb – let go, set free), we are given the reigns and rights to embrace our art. Even when walking through the valleys of the shadows of wasted breath and opinions, we are art. We are living, breathing art and that in itself is intimidating to many. Looking at both of the ART definitions, it’s easy to fit a woman into that which is art. But are we really appreciated for our beauty and/or emotional power? Our beauty, that thing that is always on the chopping block for the local PPO to dissect for accuracy, seems to always fail to be good enough for others. Which is perfectly fine to most of us but quite honestly, as many of us as there are that are confident and who we are and what we look like and don’t care what outsiders have to say, there are just as many who are still fighting the good fight for their self-esteem and self-worth. Everyone wasn’t taught confidence and there are plenty of women still wrestling with their beautiful who just don’t need the extra bullshit voices of folks who get hard dicks and clits from tearing down others. God forbid we were weave (self-hate), fake nails (fake woman), or enjoy watching television/television shows that are primarily white cast. Either we aren’t woke enough, black enough, woman enough, angelic enough, flat stomach-enough, virgin-like enough, Christian enough, lkjd;lajfol;disajropweuifopjadl;fjkasl; j OMG THIS LIST GOES AND GOES AND GOES!!!!

But isn’t that the point of art? Isn’t art supposed to be dressed up or dressed down? Doesn’t art make people look? Doesn’t it capture your attention and curiosity? Art is abstract. It is unconventional. It breaks rules…carves its own lane. Women are art. We are similar to pieces that hang in local museums for people to gawk at and ponder over. No two just alike, we are all these unique pieces of creative works and the fact that there are people who still don’t know how to appreciate all of our differences (and similarities) is proof that there is much work left to do regarding the right to be a free woman. One of my fondest NYC memories is from my first trip there. There was a black girl walking to the corner to wait for the light to turn. She was dressed head to toe in things that didn’t make sense to the average eye. She had tennis shoes, leg warmers, leggings, a couple of shirts, a mini skirt, and a funky hairdo. Initially, I did a double take. Then I smiled because I realized something: She was free. No one was staring at her and no one was questioning her mental ability, her womanhood, her sexuality, her discernment, choices or otherwise disrespecting her. That’s when I instantly secured my ‘I will love you forever’ attitude towards New York City. And while we may always get funky looks, ignorant questions, and pointed fingers, if you can just be ok with YOU, when you see YOU, then fuck this society and it’s flagrant opinions:

  • ” I saw some gray hair in your head old lady grandma” * followed by laugh*
  • “looks like you’ve gained more weight. You need to diet” * followed by laugh*
    “You need to stop eating so much” * followed by laugh*
    “Why you got that shirt/dress on when you know you’re too big for it” * followed by laugh*
  • “Sooo you’re 30+ now…when are the babies coming” * followed by laugh*
  • “That’s a cute guy I saw you with for the first time…yaw getting married?” * followed by laugh*
  • “You know you can’t afford that baby” * followed by laugh*
  • “Ewww put that cleavage up, don’t nobody want to see that” * followed by laugh*
  • “Honey you need to stop losing weight. You look sickly” *followed by laugh*
  • “Cover up” * followed by laugh*
  • “I saw some dents and pricks in your thighs….better leave Long’s alone girl, * followed by laugh* “

Everything isn’t always a damn joke and some jokes are centered around true thoughts. Do people ever tire of making a woman face whatever they think she hasn’t already seen before they did? Whether it’s weight or children or her hair or who she loves – do the #PPO ever stop to wonder that they might be bringing up a very sensitive topic? Do they ever wonder if they are hurting feelings? Or just straight pissing folks off?

No they don’t.
Their sole job on earth is to police the pussy until its all out of 9 lives.

For some people, women as they are, are simply never enough.

But to me, Thou [is] Art.

WOMAN

I’ve written this blog several times. If you look around my site, you will find this type of blog written in several different forms. I had that epiphany as I started to finish this blog up. I’m always talking about this and I  guess it’s because it irritates the FUCK out of me. Like seriously, I never go around trying to teach men how to be men and for that matter, I don’t even try to teach other women how to be them. I discuss the basics that typically stretch across the board for all women and especially black women. I talk about being free, being yourself and embracing who you are in this moment of your life. My standing is pretty solid: I think women should have the freedom from other opinions to live their lives as they see fit and to change/grow as they deem necessary. There is always room to grow and the right loving people will call you out on your bullshit, so any faults undiscovered by self are often aired out when dealing with your relationship to others. It is so complex to be a woman – we have to smile while we walk around bleeding and feeling like crap. We still have to work while our breasts are leaking and lactating all over the place. We are the nurturers, the mothers, the sisters and the lovers. We must remain in touch with our emotions but not so much that others see us as emotional. O.o #MFFW

We have to dress pretty while not dressing slutty while remembering to cover up while breastfeeding but also to show cleavage when we go out but not too much or you’re a thot, but not so little where you are considered a prude. Lol.

I do not subscribe to this bullshit.

You cannot tell me how to be a woman.

You cannot try to be my daddy and my husband.

You cannot out-woman me.

You will not change who I am.

Only the course of my life’s journey can do that.

WOMAN – Thou Art [yet] assumed to be loose, but I see you.

I see us.

Simply put – We’re the shit. Keep doing you love and let’s all raise our middle fingers in solidarity to the PPO!!!!

Woman, thou Art.

The only thing loose is the lips of the passerbys.