Dead Man Can’t Email.

Incoming Email from Anonymous Acct:

I miss you baby… I’m sad I haven’t received my correspondence I was promised.. I’m a cheerleader of your gift and blessing to paint pictures through words. I’m perplexed by your continued disdain for your most loving ex you’ll ever meet…. I know that is hilarious to you…. I follow you and your compositions when I’m able and I’m a fan of your growth… I speak in this fashion because I don’t particularly agree with the word proud of someone.. I believe that is reserved for parents and elders when expressing there positive feelings for there offspring or younger family… I always knew you’d provide positive feedback for youth as I do also from the belly of the beast… I miss you though real spit… I root for you in all your endeavors know that! I am upset that I have been cut off from every other outlet in order to converse with you… I love you Kendria and I don’t practice this relentless pursuit of anyone I’m content with who I am and not whom I used to be. What I need from you is a consensus as a adult that you no longer want to hear from me and I will respect your wishes love. Peace and love. 

Can someone identify this lying MF because I need to know where to ship my Fuck You to. 

Word to the unwise: I don’t care about what you talmbout.

Back TF off of me for good. My heart and my love is no longer a game piece for niggaopoly.

That’s not personal, that’s a whole blanket statement.

 

~j

Eyes Wide Shut to Open: Why I Choose Visibility Over Silence

One thing I love about the warm weather is being able to be outside, indulging in a bit of nature, without it being a problem (i.e. cold fronts, snow, slippery ice). When I take my lunch breaks, if I don’t have errands to run, I tend to drive to the parking lot of the former Marsh Supermarket at Trader’s Point, park alongside one of the trees for shade and chill. I roll the windows down, turn on YouTube or Netflix and let the next hour be dedicated to kicking my feet up in the breeze. I’m not the only person. Plenty of people have this habit all over the city as I have noticed. Parking lots during the summertime, are the working force’s favorite place to be. Even though I’m usually watching something or lip syncing to music, I never fail to find myself reflecting on something. Recently, I was thinking about my upcoming book release and how exciting it is, but also what people might think vs. what it really is. That is, assuming people are thinking about my book. This led to me thinking of my blog and how it started. This, of course,led to a whole rabbit hole of overthinking. My next mental landing strip was at the memes that remind us to be quiet. The ones that tell us it is better to suffer in silence than to let anger make a public fool of you (did I just make that up or is it a real meme? Cause its kinda dope). There’s one currently going around social media that sends a shout out to the people who are healing from painful things they don’t talk about.

Now, before I go any further, this blog is not to combat these memes or this perspective. I actually agree with it to a certain extent.

But when I was sitting there thinking hard over an episode of Coach Snoop and a disgusting black and mild, it was no secret that I am (or at least have been in these last hand full of years) the complete opposite of those memes. Through this book, my blog and often my social media posts no matter where they appear (twitter, Facebook or Instagram), I am vocal. At times, I’m loud. I pull back the curtains and share. I use my blogs and poetry as my sounding board when I need to, vomiting up what isn’t agreeing with me in the same manner as I would shout out the blessings of the day. 

I was listening to somebody do an interview recently and they spoke of telling other people not to believe what they see on social media because it’s all a lie. They went on to say people have social media lives and then they have real lives and these lives are not one in the same. Once again, I somewhat agree with that statement but I don’t think it holds true for everyone. Actually, I know it doesn’t.  I know MY social media is all facts. When it comes to my life, good, bad or in between, I don’t share anything to myself “look” a certain way. I am not a person in need of validation or pity. Before I was a creative, I was a human. A woman. I have experiences out here that go beyond show flyers and my blogs are hardly ever political. I write most things, whether a status, a caption, a blog or a tweet, from a personal space.

Sometimes it’s a lesson and other times, it’s pure hurt or anger, but it’s always authentically me. If social media is to be a reflection on my life, then I only know of one way: the truth. In that reflection, you will find creation and joy, but you will also find pain and disappointment.

With that being said, let’s double back to my lunch break-think tank, party of one. The memes declare that we should not let the tongue expose our woes to the masses. People tend to agree, as most people do NOT share the inner workings of their lives as much as they share these memes, which is perfectly fine. In fact, folks talk shit about people who ‘overshare’. It’s interesting that I hear people suggesting that folks aren’t sharing their real lives on social media when the culture of social media is to advise that people only share the good parts. Now I’m not suggesting everyone share every aspect of their lives at all. That’s certainly not healthy. I just question how we can expect to see authenticity when we sell faux living using our share buttons? And if all we are gonna look at is fake shit, then why are we following each other? I definitely believe one should be mindful of what they share; I know I certainly am. But this idea that I should keep all my less-than-savory feelings and experiences to myself is some shit I don’t subscribe to.

After I fooled myself into over-liking a dude that didn’t give a shit about me, I felt like holding that in would create an emotional inferno that I wouldn’t survive. So, I tipped myself over like the hot tea kettle I became and poured it out until I healed.

Why I Chose Visibility

I’m not going to speak for anyone else in this post. I’m speaking for myself and while I hope that someone can relate to this and feels understood, I understand that sometimes, we stand on a limb alone. I don’t suspect that to be the case here but I don’t reject it either. My words felt useless as a teenager. Anytime I have been tasked (which is what it felt like…a task) with defending myself or standing up for myself, my words seemed to fall on deaf ears. I had a boy that I didn’t get along with who spread rumors around the neighborhood that I was sleeping with my dog.

Since I was a known dog lover, the kids in the neighborhood went with it. It didn’t matter what I said to people, I would still get teased about trying to make my dog have sex with me. So, I stopped walking the damn dogs. I don’t think I would sit on the porch with them much after that either. I had to change the way I moved because my voice did nothing to help. There were so many instances of this. I don’t think any of this info is new to the blog, nor is the fact that I grew up feeling invisible.

Through my relationships with men and women, the continued path of invisibility grew longer and more tiring. I became a non-communicative, emotional recluse as a means of self-protection. I felt like if I didn’t share what I felt or thought, I wouldn’t get hurt by the rejection of what I said. My silent retreat became my way of survival. But my means of survival was also doubling as luggage and the more I added to my back, shoulders, and hands, the less open my heart was. Then there was that ‘other’ part of silence:

I had become not just a captor of what I felt, but also a protector of others…specifically the ones that hurt me.

M30 w/the Silencer

Silence can be good. Like the memes and people suggest, sometimes it’s the best thing for you. Silence is a necessity; it’s in the quiet that you find the loudest answers sometimes. Silence provides the ability to listen for God’s voice speaking from within you. Silence is your friend. But there is a method to utilizing silence and if mishandled, it can be your enemy. You know you have to verbally express your desire to remain silent if you are arrested? You know that remaining silent can work against you? Silence at the wrong time can be the greatest resource of energy for your enemy.

Holding in my feelings might have allowed the mindlessness of not having to deal with excuses and trying to reason with folks, but for some of them, my silence was their elevation. It allowed them the freedom to not feel wrong. As a matter a fact, often times my silence made my perpetrators feel wronged. The right silence at the wrong time will give muscles to the swine looking to feed off of passivity. I’ve fed plenty of pigs that didn’t turn into bacon. There is nothing in my life that I would do over-

-Well, I’d definitely undo the rebound play that wanted to shot his ball in my niece’s basket.

But I digress.

I do know that not speaking up for myself left me several situations over the course of my life that could have been avoided or prevented, most notably the La Douleur Exquise situation (if you don’t know #readmyblog). I had never felt so dead and so invisible in my life. Not before or since to be honest. Not to that extent. But it was also that situation that changed my silence.

I once wrote a poem called Say Something. You can listen to that here:

People loved this poem and would request it when I got on stage at the open mics or invite me to perform somewhere and ask for it. I struggled with remembering it or being able to do it and eventually stopped sharing it. It was because I wasn’t living that life for real. I wasn’t “saying something” when I needed to and had a hard time ‘performing’ something that ultimately ended up as a personal self-help poem. That poem is circa 2007. La Douleur Exquise came about in 2009. I have mad respect for those who deal in silence because it can be overwhelming. I also make my voice intentional, and if I ever feel like my motivation behind something I’ve shared was foul, I delete it. I have before. I will again….if necessary. But I stand by it all.

The listening skills of those who trespassed against me were too lax. I had chosen others, ease, and comfort over me; now was the time to choose me.  No matter how uncomfortable it made me, I decided to choose visibility.

 

Shot by Jo.Seph McCoy

 

So to the women out there who reject the memes and theories that suggest we shut up and deal with it like big girls who don’t cry, I say this:

Yes to you sis. Yes to your vocal chords. Yes to your fingers. Yes to your writings, your prose, your poetry, your notes and one liners, jokes andTwitterr threads. Yes to the songs you are writing. Yes to the songs you are singing, the poetry you are sharing and the off-top-someone-needs-to-listen-to-this feelings that you were compelled to express that night. YES SIS! Yes to your love of self. Your love of your own well being and your emotional competence. Yes to vocal visibility. Yes to visibility PERIOD! Yes to ‘reclaiming your time’ and power and not EMPOWERING hurt by choosing a corner to secretly be in pain in. Yes to healthy confrontation. Yes to emptying luggage and bags with each word you speak along the way. Yes to not living a lie. Yes to being done with empowering others to hurt you. Yes to taking your power back Queen. Yes to your books. Your releases. Yes to your healing sis. To all of you, whether it’s Karryn Stephans tell-all style or kibbles and bits like say a Januarie York blog, I say yes. Also, yes to those who are silent. Who embrace the quiet, who pick up their toys and go when it’s their time and give no pushback that the masses can see. You’re a fucking superwoman too you know?!!! This isn’t about one way being right over another; this is about women owning their stories and the right to share them from the perspective of which they were experienced. My book is no different. In fact, when I think of my book, I think of the choice to be silent and how if I had remained accustomed to that, this wouldn’t be. And if there is one thing I KNOW for certain, it’s that my book is the shit. Shout out to all of us. Shout out to me.

Two of my favorite quotes are here:

“If you are silent about your pain, they will kill you and say you enjoyed it” (Zora Neale Hurston)

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” (Anne Lamott)

What I find in both of these quotes is empowering and forever inspiring. Both women speak of your right to take your pain and your stories, no matter what parts of them it is that you choose to share, and OWN them. When you own them, you make the choices of what to do with them and how. You find the why in sharing before sharing. I don’t share any of my private business without it having a point or intention. Even in the beginning, when the blog was on Google and named A(Muse.)D., the purpose was self-healing, which is great enough for me. Sometimes it’s not about everyone else. And then, sometimes you just know you got something that could save someone’s heart. I do not encourage angry sharing (although I most definitely did that in 2017). This is not an outcry for the right to be hurt and tell all of somebody’s business, put them on blast and hurt them. That’s not what any of this blog is about. It’s never been and my upcoming book isn’t either.

This is about, as my former therapist used to say, “walking in your truth.”

Shot by Abdul/JusFam Photography

When we walk in default silence, expressing little and holding our most soul-changing pains inside, we are not owning our stories. We are not owning what has happened to us as Anne Lamott says we do. We are actually loaning them out to others, similar to a library. Between Zora and Anne, I am reminded of own my life’s story and take pride and comfort in not feeling regulated to invisibility or silence.

 

I sometimes post things in fear, with my finger hovering over the POST option for moments before. I wonder will there be backlash but then I remember it’s not too many people reading this blog and that helps. LOL! But before I let fear stop me from sharing my truest version of myself at the time of posting, I say this in my head: “they might kill you for it, but they’ll never be able to say you enjoyed the pain.” Operation fuck it, feel it in effect.

Speak sis.

Be selective. Be intentional. Be aware. But own your life. Own your story. And speak.

There is freedom sitting on your tongue waiting for you to taste it.

~j

The Savannah Syndrome:”He’s A Good Man, Savannah”

Savannah Syndrome Definition & Symptoms:

When a man proclaims to be a “good man” and is seemingly captivated by the idea that not only is he a “good man“, but that all women should see him as the Messiah of men, he may suffer from Savannah’s Syndrome. The man in his mirror tells him that he is THE man. The ultimate good guy. Any woman who doesn’t fall for his goodies is deemed not smart enough to see what is standing in front of her. His usual reaction to any type of rejection involves curse words, spiritual shaming, predictions of future regret, forever single and unapproachable. All while conveniently forgetting that he might be talking to a “good woman.” His language will read as if somehow the woman is now beneath him and his immeasurable awesomeness. These men are also known to accuse black women of being angry, often in unwarranted situations. Clinical trials have shown that men with Savannah’s Syndrome believe they are a savior for women (not to be confused with saving women). This condition is not rare as it’s known to affect 3 out of 5 “good men. The only cure is to death to the ego. 

 Note***This gif is meant to imply death to EGO. Don’t let a living ego tell you otherwise.

What is it about good guys who know they are good guys?

Do they smell their shit and think it’s the stuff roses are made of? Do their farts resemble toll house cookies being baked on a cold winter morning just before Santa Clauses slides down the chimney of their home? Is there a governmental kickback, tax-writeoff or a lifetime supply to Jordans and Jordan’s Chicken if they show the public how enchanted they are with their good guy status?

It seems there is a growing phenomenon of men, specifically “good men“, who know they are good men or at least deem themselves full of great qualities, that think because of this EVERY woman should not only want to entertain them but is somehow doing themselves a great disservice if they are NOT interested. They will guilt trip you using spirituality and your future, talk shit to you but use terms like “we” to make it seem less solely directed and/or get mad at you and shoot a white castle sack of ten texts to your phone just to let you know it’s fuck you because they know they are the good guy and oh one day you shall see. All this because you lack or lose interest.

Ummm….ok. But, my nigga you need to seek some help.

 

Seriously, get a therapist and get rid of that baggage boo. It’s not becoming of you. Let’s unpack this by starting with my most recent interaction with a male species….specifically the “good” kind.

We’ll make this short and refer to him as “Chocolate (C.) Winona.” He was handsome, not really the height I’m seeking but he was taller than me and I felt like I could wear heels around him. When I’m detailing a man for the first time, these are things I think about along with checking the lips, arms, Adam’s Apple and honestly, a rough estimate of his dick size. Hey, if men can gawk at my ass and make a big deal about it loud and in public, then I certainly can have an internal thought of big or small.

But about C.Winona…

We met on Saturday. By Monday afternoon, I had been informed not only that he didn’t “need me”, but also that  “The Devil Won.”

***I wrote that just as he did via text w/every first letter capital. No worries. Keep reading and you shall see for yourself. Now, hold fast to the phrase “The Devil Won” because I will be using that more in the future just to be an asshole. So about Saturday. A day trip out with mom to a local bar led to her wingmom’ing me into meeting Chocolate Winona. I was standoffish at first even though he initially caught my attention by giving me a $20 bill to put in the wall Jukebox. I’m a sucker for music so I obliged and chose songs that ranged from Rick James’ Mary Jane to The Carter’s Ape Shit. If he was looking for me to play love music by Tank and Keith Sweat, he chose wrong. But as the time passed and wine flowed, so did the conversation. He was a truck driver from Mississippi not too far from where my known roots began. At some point, we exchanged numbers although Peaches the Wingmom had already given him my business card.

I hoped to hear from him. He had informed me that even though he lived in MS, he stopped through Indy almost weekly. He was a good candidate for friendship. I’m not looking to be ‘boo’d up’ with none of these dudes. I am currently in a celebratory stage with my singleness. I enjoy not semi-owing another human being an explanation of where I am, what I am thinking or why I’m not fucking tonight.

But (t)HugzMansion gets lonely too. Just because I don’t want to be in a relationship doesn’t mean I don’t want to date and have a good time. Go out and have drinks. Eat food. Dance. Sweat. Laugh. You know, the things men and women do well together…or so I’ve heard. C. Winona seemed well for this because he doesn’t live here but he’s here often enough for us to engage in some of those things. Sex wouldn’t be something that could rule the connection because obviously IF we were having it, it wouldn’t be that much. And then there’s always the why am I trying to date men here (who obviously don’t dig me anyway) when I don’t want to live here ANYMORE. I want to graduate and move. It’s not Indy, it really is me. So there should be no more ties to no more tied-at-the-NAP niggas with kids, problems, and maternal nipples they still have their wallets attached to.

He seemed like a good start. He’s never lived with a woman, owns an acre or two down south and just really had an I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T aura. It was refreshing.

One thing I love about hanging out with my mom is that the wine will be flowing. The bad part is that more than likely, it will be wine flowing past my cutoff, straight to my glass.

There’s no point to me saying that other than shouting out another good time in the books. I didn’t leave my mom at the bar and go sleep with the truck driver. This isn’t a blog from the back of his truck cab that doubles as a help me message. We were at the bar for a long time and my mom ended up staying all night with me that night. She’s a great wingmom. They talked for quite a bit and I’m sure she has his life history recorded in her secret Book of NiggaNotes. It was an eventful Saturday out with my mom at The Living Room Lounge. It was really more of a scene out of a black episode of Cheers, just with a wine-drunk poet instead of the mailman.

Staging the Scene:

Sunday we talked briefly and decided to grab breakfast before he headed out to Texas. I drove to the truck stop where he graciously filled my tank up (after I had just put $16 in it…I wanted a refund). We stood outside chatting while he waited for his laundry to end and he asked me why I was so standoffish at first. This led to me saying I have trust issues. I’m thinking I’m not looking for you to marry me so I can say that openly, adult-like and honestly. He obliged my trust issues with some of his own and spoke on past occurrences that left him, side-eyeing folks. Again, we’re just going for food, not a marriage certificate, so I’m cool with this conversation as it was open and straightforward. I also had open and straightforward convos with the ex and so, alleged honesty or good convo isn’t impressive. But again, I’m a heterosexual woman who’s been single over a year and left dateless and dickless and saying “damn” three times randomly throughout the day.

I’ve been proud of myself lately. The guys I’ve come into contact with have all been met by me standing my ground. One guy asked for a hug after we walked and talked for an hour. I decided against it. Simple little thing it was but it felt good to say no. There have been several of these small gestures of me claiming my time properly that I’m hoping will bring a better litter of pedigree my way. It’s a new me that I’m quickly used to and in love with. This time, I stood my grounds on who I am willing to let cook for me:

Him: “Where you want to go get something to eat?”

Me: “Its two really good spots downtown. Wild Eggs and Yolk.”

Him: “Or we can go on the highway and get off on the next exit. There’s a Denny’s up there.”

Me (mentally scoffing AF): “No thanks, I don’t like Denny’s.”

Him: What do you want then?”

Me, without hesitation:”One of the two places I named.”

The conversation and food at Yolk were good. We laughed, talked travel, kids, food, life. We hit it off even more, sober nonetheless, and planned to meet up when he stopped back through Indy. I even gave him a hug which reminded me of how great a good embrace can be.

Monday Mourning:

Now I’m about to post screenshots for two reasons: to avoid typing and trying to summarize these messages without leaving out anything pertinent and two, so we can get back to the original question of this blog and end it. But first, let me start this at where things truly ended. Sunday night, I went fell asleep around 10:00 pm reading my book for class and watching Law & Order: SVU. When I woke up to turn the lights out around 1 AM, I saw he had called shortly after 10:30. I returned the call via text Monday morning wishing him a good day and noting that I was asleep the night before. Well, no need for paraphrasing. Peep this curveball:

The Capitalization of Every Letter Bled My Eyes Dry
**Jodeci sir.

Do you want my response to this madness or should I just dive back into the Savannah Syndrome? Fuck it:

I don’t have the battery life for this shit.

I immediately blocked him after I sent that last message because I mean it when I say I will cut your black ass off these days. No more sticking around and proving my instincts wrong. No more giving second chances. I’m all out. Sorry guise. I wasted them on trifelife niggas and now, either come right or miss me. Now, the term correct is not synonymous with perfect. But this shit right here…NAW! So as long as planes, trains, and automobiles cover the land and skies and ships cover the seas, I swear I will be God blessed and fine. My mom might be disappointed. I think she liked him. Mom, I think we need to make peace with me living this life to the fullest, solo. Or, as I am coming to wonder, maybe I have many true loves in faraway countries that are waiting for my arrival. I know this ain’t it. Oh and before I could get that block to stick, one final message came back to me from Chocolate Winona that I didn’t bother to screenshot (I only did shots to share w/my sister…but hey, why not the blog).

It said “Ok Ms. Smith. Take care. P.S. The Devil Won.”

N I G G A W H A T? ????

What exactly did the devil win? My soul? Cause that would be the only thing that matters and I’m certain that ceasing communications with someone other than God does not equate to the devil winning my soul….or virtually anything else! This makes me think about Too Black and Amiri Baraka. Too Black often performs Amiri Baraka’s poem “Must Be The Devil” as a tribute, and that repetitive line of “must be the devil!!”, popped in my head when I read that. So, it must be the devil winning, not you fucking up?

Seriously, please offer commentary to help me see the error of my ways. My comment sections are open for the public to leave real thoughts in. I welcome them. I gave you the whole screenshots because I want to get an outside take on how I handled this and if I jumped off the deep end. My conclusion was that based on this pre-convo about trust issues and me not answering my phone, that is how my morning text was greeted with “we gotta do better than this” and a reiteration of trust issues rather than something more friendly and fashionable (as in we just met each other) like “have a blessed day too.” Is that fucking hard???? Should I have really been told that we gotta do better? Nigga. I just met you!!! I don’t have to “do better.” Either you like what is being presented or you keep it trucking, Buck. And one more thing….did he hit me with the angry black woman technique? He suggested I shot him down in my aggressive texts but I never could locate either: not the aggressive texts or the shooting him down.

But that’s not the point of this blog.

This is really about The Savannah Syndrome. One thing that I noticed while we were headed to eat was Chocolate Winona’s repeated interrogation of whether or not I am the type that appreciates a good man. It got to a point that I felt I needed to throw it out there that I too am a good woman and make no mistake of that. It started to feel like he picked up a straggler from the corner who needed to be coached on being in a relationship so long as she was appreciative. I ended up saying yeah I’m appreciative but I also REQUIRE the same. I’m a good fucking woman, flaws.and.all. In order to take a seat at your table, I would have to sell one of my own.

I’m not a bum. But – I’m also still healing and reeling from the whatevers of my life so I took it with a grain of perception. But when I received these texts, I knew I wasn’t tripping. My ex used to do this shit. He would play this “good guy” role in attempts to guilt trip me (also known as manipulation) out of giving up on the relationship. He would say things like “you’ll never get someone who loves you like I love and support you”, “you know no one else will love you like me”, and other similar phrases often reserved for women to say to men but I digress. It worked but not because I didn’t think I would get a better love; but because I thought he was a good man and I wasn’t being ‘fair’ to him. Reality has shown that if someone isn’t loving you the way you want or need to be loved, regardless of their level of good, dropping them will allow you the opportunity for someone else to love you BETTER!!!! Even if that someone is yourself. 

Now, I know I’m one to overthink but I also know old relationships are supposed to teach us what to avoid and what to look for in new experiences. When that flurry of messages came through and I kept seeing about the devil winning and showing up Saturday “after the good man came”,  I was instantly yuckfaced about it. The final message of  “P.S. The Devil Won” really made me laugh. Because I couldn’t help but think what if the devil had nothing to do with this my G. What if God was saving me from something that wouldn’t ultimately be good FOR ME? What if for once in my life, I actually allowed that to happen without asking to be broken down first?

Just as there are still good guys left on Earth, there are good women. Most times, it is good women that raised them. I think it’s worth noting that “good” is a subjective term, which means its definition is subject to one’s own individual perceptions and experiences. What are you good at? Building? Cooking? Fucking? Manipulating? Staying out late? Just because you are “good”, doesn’t mean you are FOR everyone…or anyone. Being a good person or a good man or a good woman doesn’t make you perfect and it doesn’t automatically grant you access to whoever you want. Your version of your good self might be the worst choice for my version of my best self. This is how my last self-proclaimed “good man” left me looking:

Wow my boobs are flat.

It doesn’t mean either of us is bad people. And two good people not being compatible don’t mean the devil won shit!!!

It means yaw don’t mesh. The. End. Manipulation is running rampant in relationships and I’m no longer willing to sink in the murky waters of an unknown nigga ocean of confusion. Even if you’re a good guy. That “The Devil Won” shit rubbed me so ill man. Don’t try to use God to fuck with me. My ex did that shit too and thought he was the moral authority in the house while living a devildick lie of a life. Remember how Savannah’s mom from Waiting to Exhale told her that homeboy was “a good man”??? She said it with conviction in her face and voice. She wholeheartedly believed him to be such.

And good he may have been. He was also an adulterer. A liar. And a manipulator. All these things made him selfish as well. Quite similar to my ex, who again, suffered heavily from Savannah’s Syndrome. I’m not questioning whether he was good or not; I’m just saying there came a point for Savannah where his good wasn’t her cup of excellence.

When good dick is no longer the blinding force, you increase the odds of ending up with a confident good man who lacks Savannah Syndrome,

…and also has good dick attached to his beautiful, compatible soul.

So for now,

I’M GOOD, nigga, enjoy.

Today’s soundtrack is a new release from Chance the Rapper:

PS: God Won Again!!!! #AlwaysDoes

Sips from My Lemonade: NOMAD

What a time to be alive. . .

When I started the Sips from My Lemonade series, I had no idea how it would eventually end. I just knew it was a “living series” and eventually, it would be no more. Is this the end of it? I can’t really say. . . But if it is, this is the best possible way to end it !

I always wondered what this would look or feel like. How would it taste on the back of my tongue? What types of emotions would be associated with it and if every one of them would be good or if the release would actually trigger something internal that I didn’t want to confront? I’ve never really been able to put my finger on how I thought this would look. I guess some things you have to go through in order to get to what you feel.

I’ve always hoped I would arrive at this time of my life with a full band of theme music musicians following me, a lover on my arm and a hop in my step. Nothing about that daydream came true; there is no live band or lover. I wasn’t the girl who dreamed of her wedding day. I’ve talked about that before in the blog. I was the girl who dreamed of days like this although, I never could quite SEE it.

The last three years of my life have come and gone with a passion for speed and melancholy. I went from the height of planes to underneath the bottoms of shoes in what felt like a split second. Looking back on all of it with my good ole hindsight, it’s so easy to see what it all was. The best part: I always knew it in the back of my head but I love convincing myself that bullshit smells like Jadore so there’s that. I sometimes wonder if I will ever retire some of the feelings that are attached to me in regards to it but then I also wonder if I just have gotten lost on the pathway to forgiveness, therefore stalling the removal of those feelings. I go to therapy twice a month but still, I find myself at times wondering if love was ever present when I wasn’t giving it. And I don’t mean this just for my last relationship, I mean it for all of them. I’ve offered tons of ‘benefits of the doubts’, as well excuses and understanding in the areas I could provide it. I’ve caped and championed for those who have hurt me and have tried to confront every single detail about me that might affect how they treat/respond to me, whether in this blog or in my bedroom talking to myself. But the fact remains that I will never “understand” the minds of those who have trespassed against me and there is no need in attempting it. I give love as authentically as possible and I am always hopeful for its boomerang effect to hit me and knock me over. That hopeful girl with flowers in her two strands and sunshine in her heart has gotten this adult woman in a lot of unnecessary bullshit and it doesn’t smell good.

Things I have been over time:

  • Too trusting.
  • Too hopeful.
  • Too yearning.
  • Too needy.
  • Too damn thirsty for love.

You can’t be these things. You can only appreciate the love that does exist in your life, no matter what the type is (companionship, family, friendships, animals, etc). It’s ok to be intentional about why you allow yourself to love someone else or what you desire in your future and how you will arrive there, but behaving toward love the way I have in these years of my life will leave you with this face:

5.4.17

No one wants that face. I remember sitting up in my bed snapping these pictures because I wanted to remember how he made me look. #ThousandEntendre

This was on May 4, 2017; I began that year with sky-expectations but was relegated to the dirt floors of the basement instead. My ex and I had a bad arguement on New Year’s Day. I remember thinking if that’s how we were starting the year off, that wasn’t a good sign. Within four months, reality would prove me right. And there I was, laying in this bed with this purple shirt that I haven’t worn or seen since my eyes were swollen from an overnight stay at Mourning Inn. But as much grief and hurt as a few people have extended to me in exchange for love, they have always brought me something else. Something more priceless and positive. And this time was no different.

5.4.17

Actually, this time was different while yet being the same. In this space, with this presence of darkness hanging over me like a new halo, I found something that will be part of my legacy forever:

This time, internal hurt brought me to the next level and I didn’t even see it coming. In Robert Kennedy’s Indianapolis speech on the eve of MLK’s assassination, he quoted a poem by a man named Aeschylus. I may have never heard it but after learning this speech for a project this past March, it became part of my memory.

“Even in our sleep/Pain which we cannot forget/Falls drop by drop upon thy heart,

Until, in our own despair,

Against our will

Comes wisdom

Through the awful grace of God” (Aeschylus)

I feel this poem accurately described what took place at the end of April into May 2017 and throughout the rest of the year. It was totally against my will. I did not ‘permit’ or allow this to happen. I only obliged its presence. I wasn’t seeking it as I have in the past. It just showed up with a relentless hold on my waist, at times pressing down on my shoulders, alternating between massaging and lightly caressing. Though at times, breathing seemed like such a chore in the grand scheme of all of the negative thoughts I was having, I still had this ‘wisdom’ approaching me like a mile marker sign, and pouring out of my soul as if all the windows were down as I traveled at 90 MPH.

I realized it early.

So I paused at the first stop light and turned onto a private drive and kept going.

I admit. . . I checked my rearview. OFTEN. I would check it, turn around and go back and abandon the wisdom that was dripping from my fingers as if my fingernail polish had melted. I tried doing both at once and it was impossible so I made a choice: the rearview. I got out the vehicle and went walking back toward the beginning with a stickbag of my belongings.

All Rights Reserved to Getty Images

When I arrived back in the arms of the one who loved me, Xscape wasn’t there singing and the love wasn’t enough to sustain the month-long changes I had undergone. I had to revert back to my car and find both me and that wisdom that had fallen on me despite my repeated attempts at rejecting it. I had to go back for what I abandoned in an effort to have love.

Everything was right where I had left it. The car was still running. The new knowledge sat on the passenger seat as if it had waited on my return. I got behind the wheel. I began driving and playing in wisdom’s hair. And nothing has been the same since. What a journey. What a fucking journey. This was a wander around the married-go-round. A slip down the slide you didn’t mean to climb. A toss into the abyss of hope that landed on the needlepoint of a mountain tall enough to reach the end of a sun ray. Adventures of nomadicy – that’s not a real word but I like it and am will be leaving it there.

So what am I talking about? What’s the big announcement I’ve been hinting at? What have all my ex’s from Texas (well, I just had to say it like that…no one’s from TX) brought me?

Well,

Photo by JusFam Photography

if you follow me on IG, you probably have it figured out already as I have not really been secretive about what’s happening as much as I have just not been outright sharing it. That’s for a multitude of reasons that I won’t go into but basically, I have some incredible news to share and I hope you, the reader, will be permanently excited with me.

This October, I am releasing my first book, a collection of poetry, prose and shorts, entitled NOMAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Photo by JusFam Photography

That’s right. Maybe you guessed that already? I mean, what else could it have been right? So, the thing about this book and the story I told just now is that I began writing this book a few days into my breakup last year. They started out as Facebook freewrites until, after reading back over a couple of them, it hit me: I have a book on my hands!! I knew it. I felt it in my soul. Poems were pouring out of me too rapidly to keep up with but every time I felt one coming, I was in front of the laptop. I began being intentional about what I was writing. I posted on FB that I had an upcoming book. I had made flyers alluding to something involving the word NOMAD. Then, I tried to get back w/my ex and in those months we were on/off again, I had abandoned the book, fearing it would cause more issues in an already testy environment. When we broke it off for the final time in December, I b-lined back to my project.

It was March when I bit the bullet and decided that the year had gone too well financially and artistically for me not to begin this process and make this ‘talk’ a reality that I could hold in my hand. So I linked up with a local publisher and got it started. And in the time that I have had to work on this book, I must say I am too proud and even more excited! Is it a book of poetry? Yes, it is. Is that all? NOPE!

I believe this book to be a first-hand look at the onset of a breakup and the year that follows. 90% of the poems were written between 4/27.17 – 4.27.18, which wasn’t planned but ended up being perfect. The name comes from the fact that I have FB posts that date back to 2011 where I called on myself to become a NOMAD. Then, there’s the other part. If you can figure that out, congratulations.

You is kind.

You is smart.

You is important.

Is this book about my last relationship? Yes and no. I’m like the black taylor swift (you will notice I don’t capitalize ypeepoo names I don’t like); when someone breaks my heart, I make art out of them. It’s good for coping!

BUT –

this book isn’t ‘about’ me and my ex. It’s about me. It’s about love. It’s about life. It’s about every ex I’ve ever had. The funny thing about the poems that were coming out after the breakup is how they fit so perfectly with all the men of my past; not just the most recent. But I  give credit where it is due and I may not have gotten the ring I expected from my ex, but I got something better: a book. A novel in sense. A playbook. A guide. Something I hope will speak for, save, change, help/assist, inspire another [black] woman. I really do. I always wondered what it would be like when I prepared to release my first book. While I did release a chapbook, this is actually a book. A real book with so much intentional love packed inside that my chapbook, as proud as I am of it as well, fails to compare to what this is and will be. These poems aren’t meant to highlight me as a great writer but when I looked at what I was writing in the beginning, I just knew it deserved more than to be stored away in a laptop folder.

I have great expectations and high hopes for this project. 

It’s a literal nomadic wander through one year of healing and lessons learned in the process (which will be taken from my blogs). I can’t tell you all about it just yet because it’s simply not the time right now but – trust me when I say you will want to stay on notice for this book. It’s the greatest things I will have ever produced.

And, it has a ONE WOMAN SHOW that is accompanying it entitled “The Stand”. You have no idea how phenomenal this show is going to be. The book is finished. It’s not a process of choosing and writing anymore – we are heading into someone reading my draft and then into the process of production!!!! So it’s not a game. It’s not a joke. It’s more real than even I can believe!

I am currently seeking a choreographer (dance).

If you know any, please send them my way. I also need two dancers. I will compensate for what I am looking for – not seeking handouts. Just a bit of assistance on some things. October seems so far away right now, but time moves so fast these days and what I need them for, we need to get started on asap.

Photo by JusFam Photography

Finally, there is a book soundtrack to go with it! It’s on Spotify under my name and it’s called NOMAD!  It’s all songs that I have listened to during this process and it’s a mixture of people and music styles. It’s anything but predictable. Like the book. Like me. I guess I DO have a band !!!!

My old friend used to tell me that my life would make a great book. While I agreed with her, I could never see how it would happen. I knew how to write but how would I get people interested in MY life? Well, if there’s one thing that life has taught me, it’s that if you kick back and let things happen naturally, you will be amazed how stuff folds together for the greater good of the intentions you’ve set.”

God is incredible.

I can’t wait to share this moment with all of you !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Of course, I’m nervous (AF) and wondering can my stuff hold up to the works of those that I love and admire so much, but hey, it’s not even about that. What’s for me cannot be challenged. I am not an average writer. I’m a dope ass writer. I believe in that. I believe that about myself. And with this book that is coming soon, I offer myself an opportunity to show people what happens when literary poetry marries spoken word and together they birth a blog baby.

Found on IG (via @erickaps)

Welcome to nomaD. Where the theme music is in my head, love lives on my sleeve and I don’t have a hop in my step because there’s too much wind under my wings for me to be on the ground walking!

It’s one helluva a journey, I’ll tell you that much now <3

~J

 

****Oh yeah, I took a picture of me on today so that picture up top won’t be the last photographic look I have #OnThisDay. 

First the Fat Boys Break Up, Now This

I begin this blog with a heavy sigh.

It’s been a hard month in the land of celebrities we love. Several of the people who spit the verses we kick back to and have given us the television we’ve enjoyed have shown their natural asses and proved that it is an unhealthy trait to put celebrities on a pedestal because they are absolute human beings. They do some of the illest human-being shit but often shit that only surprises us because we put them in this ‘light’ or position where we expect (or at the bare minimal hope) them to behave in the most angelic of ways.

But that’s not what reality presents us with now, is it?

First, there was Jay Z and Beyonce, which actually started a few years back with the release of Lemonade. As all of us Jay fans tried to relax and wait for what he would artistically do to redeem his proverbial fall from monogamy’s grace, he hit us with 4:44; a dedication of self-reflection, family, honesty, and empowerment. When he rapped “I’ll fuck up a good thing if you let me/Let me alone Becky” (Family Feud), along with the songs Many Have Faced God and the title track, he gave us the confirmation we’d waited over a year for: that he cheated on Beyonce and Lemonade was a musical biopic of Beyonce’s pain, resilience, and triumph. Jay’s album was so well received by the masses, myself included, that even though we all sent a collective side-eye his way for cheating (like seriously…WHO is she???), we forgave him, as Beyonce clearly has done, and rocked his newest work on vol-max with little trepidation. Were we disappointed? Yeahhhhh, but hey, we survived.

But let’s come closer to today. It’s May 2, 2018, and it’s approximately 4:14 PM as I type. So.Much.Has.Happened!!!!! And I’ m not blogging to talk about it as much as I am to question this insane amount of picked and chosen silence. Let’s take a look shall we:

Kanye West 

I don’t have to regurgitate the bullshit he has strewn all over the press floors that allow him to shuffle his punk ass into their building and begin using his voice but . …. btw, where exactly did this voice derive from? Whatever good his interview w/Charlamagne did him was immediately erased and replaced by his spontaneous trip to the TMZ offices. I can’t even begin to outline the extent of my disappointment at his disparaging remarks that left many of us scratching our heads and hitting rewind just to see if what we think he said was true. Yes, it is true. He said slavery was a choice. He said black folks don’t care about black on black crime. He said he loves trump and that’s his brother…BRO! And I again want to point out this new slaves voice he’s using. I can’t sit through an entire interview while he uses it.

It’s not about his right to ‘free thought’.It’s his approach, his tactics, his voice (whose voice IS this????!!!!)….it’s who he’s aligning himself with and how he even got to that point to begin with. I could care less why he’s mad at Jay Z; I want to know what happened to the Ye that “Never Let Me Down.”

“Racism still alive, they just be concealing it”

~Kanye, College Dropout

Something I felt particularly disturbing about the TMZ interview was when he suggested being afraid that the young black man that read his ass to filth was going to try to fight him.

“So if I come over there, you’re not gonna fight me?”

If this ain’t fresh out of a cigarette pack of white tears, I’m unsure what is. This disturbed me on a level that let me know, not only is Ye not really trolling us (he is a little but not to this extent), but he really has gotten lost in the sauce of rich, white influences, Hollywood and seemingly an unnamed cult of trump supporters. It’s disturbing. It was disheartening to see our Ye treat another black man like he’s fearful of him while conveniently aligning himself with donald trump who happens to believe that police should do more in the realm of “roughing up” the suspects [who, when black, they fear].

That small clip worked my spirit. But what I noticed, that conflicted me emotionally, is a massive amount of celebrity support for Ye. John Legend called him to check on him and offer him a new perspective. T.I. stepped in and even recorded a song with him. Charlamagne interviewed him. Thousands of fans are still lining up for support of his free thought and of course, his wife supports him. In a sense, I love it. I love that people didn’t just jump at throwing him away; that folks like John Legend and T.I. (his friends) stepped in to talk to him – that’s the society I want to live. A place where we don’t just toss people to the side even when they need to be. It’s funny how folks are swearing he has a mental illness but in the same breathe want to throw him away. To me, that’s contradictory. But I digress with a question:

Where was this love, support, and respect for Chrisette Michele,

who not only issued a public apology but spent time at The Breakfast Club explaining her ”bad decision”, the aftermath, her suicidal thoughts, and where she stands with it all today.

There was no love offered her way or even a public display of apology acceptance. The so-called black delegates traded her and there’s nothing we can do about it huh? I posted the video from her Breakfast Club interview and stated that we need to stop throwing people away. I felt for her as I listened to her speak about experiencing a miscarriage then reading the comments to see how many people said she deserved it or offered her no empathy whatsoever. I had four likes. Meanwhile, the capes for Kanye are selling off the shelves.

But there’s something else. There’s an apparent media blackout on Nas & Fabulous. Two more of our beloved hip-hop celebrities who have fallen from grace, both due to domestic violence allegations. Kelis accuses Nas of being a heavy drinker and abusive to her over the course of their marriage. Emily B. accused Fabulous of punching out her front teeth. Then, of course, there’s the video of him threatening her father, holding some type of knife-looking weapon and slow-charging toward Emily. You know what people say when they see that video?

“We don’t know the full story.”

“They were together at Coachella.”

It’s disheartening AF. What does it take to make the voices of black women a priority worth listening to? I listen to Joe Budden and a ton of other podcasts and have heard plenty of excuses as to why these two aren’t being reported on. Charlamagne even went so far as to suggest that women come out with some sort of statement because Fab and Emily were seen together in Cali. THE FUCK? He suggested an apology until he realized how stupid it sounded. Few, if any, have mentioned Nas. Is it because it’s old? Or because it’s Kelis, someone the industry hasn’t always taken very kindly to? What’s the reasoning behind the silence on the abuse allegations against some of our hip-hop favorites while simultaneously flying across the air in a pair of Yeezy sneakers, YeCape blazing in the wind?

I know.

It’s been a hard month. We can’t lose everyone at once, right?

Some of our favorites have disappointed us with actions that don’t reflect the head bobs we enjoy at the expense of their music. It’s hard to put a thought to our beloved Nas, the mastermind behind “If I Ruled the World” and Illmatic in general, being drunk out of his mind and abusing Kelis in halls of a Calabasas home. I get it. The same for Fabulous. We’ve watched him grow from a crooked tooth young cat to a reserved elder in the game and it’s not easy watching him look like the accusations made against him might be true. Still, they both get a pass of silent non-judgment. If Emily stayed with him, it must not be true. He must not be so wild and uncontrollable that he would dare knock her front teeth out and threaten her father (without a valid reason…lol). And Kelis is a wild-card that was releasing ‘crazy’ music until she got with Nas so she must have hit him first right? It’s been nine years so what difference does it make now? She stayed so it must not be true…right?

Kanye West is trending across all social media platforms as well as YouTube, meanwhile, Fabulous and Nas don’t even have to publicly address their situations and none of their industry friends are talking about it. Its likely that if these things did happen, the very people that aren’t talking also aren’t surprised. No interventions are being staged and there are no stand-up guys that are trying to talk some sense in them. It’s just silent.

Who would these people be if they were not famous? Fame doesn’t change the soul of their personality. So if they weren’t in the public eye, who would they be? What was their environment growing up and how did they see women treated? How were they taught to show love? Celebrity status doesn’t erase any of these things, it only magnifies the mistakes of them, so I ask again, who would they be if we didn’t know their names? I ask this because I wonder why it’s so impossible to believe that they would do the things they are accused of? Because we love One Mic and still think Breathin’ goes hard? According to https://ncadv.org/statistics, 1 in 3 women have experienced some form of domestic violence while 1 in 4 has been a victim of severe domestic abuse. With stats like these, I ask one final time, why is it so hard to believe they did it? Listen to that video of Kelis and convince me that she’s making all of that up. Why isn’t there more outrage? How does it not rank as dangerous and important to address as Kanye? Finally, why aren’t the men of hip-hop flocking to the phone lines, twitter pages and studios of these brothers to talk to them and help them heal their demons (so as to protect other women from experiencing such harm), as is the situation with Kanye? If the Nicki Minaj is dating Nas, why ain’t Drake asking him “what’s good?!”

BTW, Russell Simmons stands with pulling Kanye to the side and trying to save him.

R. Kelly. Nelly. Too Short.

I’m not saying these men are guilty at all. Well, we know R. Kelly is guilty as fuck but the rape allegations against Too Short & Nelly have either been dropped or stalled so I will stress these are alleged accusations. However, I can’t help but notice that when it comes to harmful acts against black women, there is collective silence and/or the assumption that she is lying until she proves she’s not. Anything she does that seemingly condones the harm done to her invalidates her claims so Emily B. showing up to Coachella with Fabulous makes him not guilty in the eyes of the same public court that is outraged about Kanye’s slavery comments.

I’m outraged by his comments…and by this weird all-white college frat-kid voice he’s talking in. But his explanation of why he said that didn’t change what he said or how it made people feel. So why does Emily B. showing up with Fabolous or Kelis staying with Nas make their claims invalid?

I love being black. It’s no secret and we all know that much. But who would we be without women? Why is it when acts of brutality are committed against us it spawns no outrage? No memes calling for boycotts. No suggestions of removing support of the accused; nothing more than a brief appearance on theshaderoom.

Interesting concept.

It’s been a heavy few months. Quite frankly, it’s been a heavy few years. We’ve either lost some of the greatest performers that ever lived or we have been let down by their private antics in epic proportions. It’s hard. I still love Your Body’s Calling Me by R. Kelly but I refuse to listen to it. REFUSE. My ears can handle the loss and there is a world of music out here to replace it. The same with Kanye. No, I won’t find another Kanye, but I don’t have to listen to this one. I may still reminisce over old Spaceships and walks with Jesus, but this new Ye, new voice and all, can kiss my black ass. The same with Nas. The same with Fabolous. I may be one of few, but I’m paying attention to more than the moment. And some of what I see really makes me sad. But I will tell you what:

The black race can’t be more important than the black women that populate it.

And saving Kanye, who has clearly abandoned his black pride, shouldn’t be greater than saving someone’s life.

Man it’s been rough.

As Bony T said in Boomerang: “First the Fat Boys break up, now this. Nothing to believe in . . . “

~J

Sips from My Lemonade: Cum’ing to Terms

Damn.

I’m a fucking liar.

A filthy, dirty liar.

Who knew????

I faked it. I faked it with every single one of you. If we had sex, you got lied to. I’m no better than my ex. Maybe this is my moment of clarity as JayZ would call it. To the guy that thought I had 17 orgasms  – I didn’t boo. I’d be dead before number 10. That shit goes to your heart if it’s real. To my ex, who I told had the best and at the time boo, you did, but I lied to your ass too. I know, it’s not right, but it’s ok, as Whitney would say. I didn’t have all those orgasms. You didn’t make me cum like that, that one time. That wasn’t my body convulsing as you said you felt; it was simply extra kegal pressure and a little body shaking for extra effects. My bad.  There were a few times though. But the truth is, I don’t like orgasming during sex because it means I want to stop and the odds are, he’s still not finished. Just like when a man has an orgasm and his penis goes soft and it’s game over time, I am similar in the desire to end the body contact and relax. So it’s always been easier to pretend and just enjoy sex. BUT – this means I have to be a liar. A phony. A faker.

A fucking Nomad spelled backward. Fuck. 

I should do better….in the future. I should be intent on being honest in every facet in life and my relationships, which means if the sex is trash, I should tell them with no hesitation. Ok. I’m down for that. I’m down for not pretending. It’s a bit tiring anyway, especially on those days that I don’t feel like it and still have to because otherwise, he’s looking at me like ‘why ain’t you cum yet?’  I’m thinking in my head “my nigga, I never do.”

I’ve been lying to them since I lost my virginity. Shout out to the few and far in between moments where I actually did have an orgasm. Only one person has ever been able to make it happen without me putting in intentional concentration and body movements. He’s married now with a family so I won’t call his name nor does he cross my mind anymore. But he had it figured out somehow. The rest of you guys –I’m not sorry. You deserved my lie. Well, some of you at least. A few of you deserved to be told the truth to your fucking face: you suck at this.

Bitch, you be lying.

I needed this moment of lemonade. I would call this lemon a bit sweet because my intentions were always good. I only wanted to stroke their ego well and not make them feel inferior. The reality is, it might have been a lot of fun to explore giving me an authentic orgasm. I tried that w/my ex. I told him that I usually don’t have one (my attempts at whole honesty) but I guess I’ve institutionalized myself so much that I fell right back in line with being a liar. Oh, his eyes were so beautiful and when I looked into them, I couldn’t tell him that he didn’t make me cum. It’s really me, not them! Hmm…maybe MY ego can’t stand to be bruised in that acknowledgment? Well, I now am looking at myself as the tall storyteller that I have inadvertently turned into sexually and pause. I need not indulge in anything until I can spit the truth. Maybe that’s why I attracted a liar. Afterall, he was a disservice to my emotions, but my lies, even orgasmic lies, are a disservice to my physical.

But  –

I’m not the only person.

TONS of women lie. Yes, you too may have been lied to. The odds are stacked against you that you haven’t had a woman moan-a-lie to you while giving you eye contact and calling you daddy. Yeah. World-class performances. The same way yaw talk about hoes, conquests and whatever other behaviors you enjoy sharing w/each other, us women talk about the lies we have told in the name of his orgasm. Seeing as though this lie-culture is in such abundance, perhaps some of you guys should stop putting so much stock in your dick? Maybe that shouldn’t be all you have to offer. You might want to turn to the mirror, give yourself a long stare, speak some affirmations and understand that you are more than dick. I’ve listed a morning affirmation for you here:

I AM more than my penis.

Yep. Say that every morning with your coffee until you change your mind. At least for those that put so much weight on the fact that they have a dick that needs fucking. Oop. Yeah, I said that.

BUT – the facts remain: I lied.

Many times.

Every time.

Just about every time.

I’m a liar.

A filthy dirty ass liar.

And you didn’t make me cum. . .

Not even once my nigga.

So be more and offer more than your dick. You’re better than my lies.

~J

 

 

“We Gonna Have To Put Em’ On A Pussy Diet”

“Yeah, yeah this is my palace, champagne in my chalice
I got it all covered like a wedding band
Wonderland, so my alias is Alice
We gon’ start a motherfuckin’ pussy riot
Or we gon’ have to put ’em on a pussy diet
Look at that, I guarantee I got ’em quiet
Look at that, I guarantee they all inspired”

It has been nearly ten years. Not exactly that long but closer to it than one. My number has been the same for over ten years so when he shot his shot in the dark to catch up with an old friend, he was in luck. I always thought we had really inhibited, dope conversations despite the fact that our previous attempt at ‘dating’ (when I was in my late 20s) proved that we weren’t after the same things in life or other people. So it wasn’t that big of a deal to hang out with him later that week because I knew him, I could use the conversation and quite frankly since my ex left, it’s been pretty quiet. Yes, I’ve been doing all the proverbial after-breakup things such as ‘loving myself’, ‘dating myself’, ‘me-time’, ‘working-on-myself’, etc, etc….

I’ve spent so much time fucking (with) myself that I’m JY’d out and ready for something different to spice up all this self-love. We had a good time and talked up a storm. He told me about the success of his ongoing business and I was honestly proud of him. A black man who has made it from where he started to where he stands today is not only a success story but worthy of a toast to the good life. I was here for it. It was a good catch up for someone who I hadn’t seen since I pre-2010.

Time passes and a message comes through one day. Now let me preface with the fact that we had been texting A LITTLE BIT in-between time. I’m not interested in being anyone’s anything, so I’m not giving out anything – sex, too much me, effort, etc. But, when he would text ‘how’s your day’, I would be courteous enough to say it was good. There were a handful of other messages like such, and one textersation where we briefly touched on the fact that I was celibate. Now, why, since when and for how long I am living this life is no one’s business – the fact is, as of the second I said it to him, it was a thing. . . at least where WE were concerned. This was understood and up until the day his message came in asking if he could “ask me something without me getting mad’, I thought we were on easy associate-grounds. As soon as I read his request, I knew what it was. We weren’t strangers to sex although the last time we saw a bed together was about 2006/2007. Honestly, it may have even been 2005, but who’s counting? This means nothing out here in the real world. Because I had been drinking wine and indulged in a bit of THC, I was in the mood to be humored. As the detective on Night of the Creeps said, “thrill me.” I gave him the go ahead and this is what I got:

“I want to drink and then smoke then eat you out from the back. No sex though”

I knew it. I knew whatever it was, it involved sex. I promptly informed him that not only was cunnilingus a form of sexual activity, but that was not interested in his or any others as I don’t enjoy it very much. He then proceeded to ask me what I liked. My response?

Travel.

Our conversation ended there. He hasn’t attempted any more sexual plays but I know it’s only because he’s trying to formulate a better plan and I can honestly say if it doesn’t involve leaving this country in order to eat it, he can die in a pool of his own pussy starvation because sex is the last thing on my mind.

Which brings me to the purpose of this blog: why men so quick to want to eat the juice box? There is an unbelievable amount of men out there that are looking at women and basing her AIDS/STD test results on her shoe game and eye color. It’s as if all of the women are running around like hot-in-the-ass teenagers, fresh out of the locker room from experiencing their first time. Are we supposed to be impressed? By head? By the desire to give us head? Ok, let me speak for myself here because some women willingly let a brother down there for a feast. I have in the past. I’m certainly not knocking it and with the right bed buddy or relationship (because I don’t know which is better for the soul at this point), it can be a glorious affair, but all this ‘hey, what’s your name, can I eat the pussy’ is dangerous, disgusting and not appetizing to most women…certainly not myself.

Even the whole ‘I just want to eat it’ line is so “1991-And-Look-Whose-Burning” (Ice Cube).

NO, YOU DON’T NIGGA!

You want to prime the pussy up, get it wet and sloppy and then suggest that you insert your dick, which is undoubtedly hard at this point, inside just a lil bit. Might as well say ‘just the tip.’

 

This code language for “want you to make me cum” is played. While I do know there are some guys that really will just eat and keep it moving, the man at the top of this blog is one of them, they are few and far in between.  Standard protocol dictates that if a man has slobbered all over your snatch with his bare lips, odds are he is going to be ready to fuck and will probably need convincing that condoms don’t ruin the experience. The whole damn thing is so unnecessarily exhausting and if we aren’t having this debate thousands of miles outside of our home city, then at least for me, it’s a waste of time.

Who are the people who are content with laying up in Indianapolis fucking and getting/giving head all day? It’s not me. I know that for a 100% fact. I always prove myself right or wrong in regards to my perspective on things.

Niggas are running around texting offers of head jobs and sloppy lip-on-lip action but its 2018 and that’s not where most will stop. They also are likely to bring those groceries in the house for you. I’ve learned from personal experience that getting your ass licked doesn’t mean you’re a special person; it’s just part of the package these days.

Since I’ve been single, which technically has been exactly one year but if you go by the law of us ‘dusting ourselves off and trying again and another again’, then we would consider it almost five months. Big difference right? Well, for the last five months, it’s been an asinine amount of offers on my table to kick my legs open and let a random tongue have a moment. I just don’t understand it because it seems so reckless. Being reckless makes me feel so stupid that I correct my actions as fast as humanly possible so as not to feel that ignorant again. And it goes without mention that if this were women dropping “let me come suck your dick” messages in men’s phones, they’d mansplain her hoe-ness with one statement: “she doesn’t love herself.” And let’s not forget she definitely wouldn’t be wife material.. ..which is another upcoming blog for another day.

So do these niggas lack self-love? Is head really supposed to be that impressive OR are THEY still impressed by head? Again, don’t get it wrong. Head isn’t a bad thing. But it’s certainly not impressive by any standards outside of the bedroom. Getting my pussy ate ain’t going to feed my stomach or my dogs, it’s not going to make sure my grass is cut, trash is out and bills are paid. Getting head isn’t going to get the contracts I’m waiting on signed any quicker. It’s not going to speed up the book release process (more on that later). Getting head is going to do nothing but, if I allow it, prep my vagina for penis entry. Dassit.

Maybe I’m scorned. Maybe too many damn bruises sit across my chest, marked out in fives, taking as many rows to exist. It’s possible that my experiences with men using head to ‘get me in the mood’ for something I said I didn’t want has something to do with it. Whatever the case, I’ve talked with other women of different ages about it and I’m not convinced that this is something that I’m alone on. It’s as if men have realized that asking a woman to give him the pussy up front might be too messy so they try a roundabout way of getting what they want. If they can offer the women first rites to the pleasure center, then she’ll be geared up, ready for some dick and too hot off of her orgasm (you know, the one they promise to deliver ) to turn down a good stroke.

“I wanna eat it from the back”

“I just want to eat it”

“Can I please just taste it”

“I bet you taste good”

“Can I see what you taste like? I don’t want nothing else”

“No penetration baby, I just want to lick that pussy”

Ahhhh, the language is so extensive. The one-liners pack less punch than an empty keg at a college frat party. All so predictable and with little true purpose. What happens after you’ve eaten the juice box? Then what????? Anything spectacular? And I don’t mean by the way of how you move and groove that dick; I’m talking everything else about life. Is there a promotion we can get from it? Some type of leveling up? Furthermore, if niggas are so nonchalantly offering up their tongue and lips to me, I tend to look at it like they are doing the same w/other women. So you got this mass text of head offering going out in the church of pussy and you think I’m supposed to jump on it? Because head is so hard to get? Or is it because they think all we do is sit around and wish for some? What’s on your tongue (or who) before you get to me and why should I be ok with it? Why isn’t giving head as precious as they want their (future) wives number count to be? I’m not impressed by it and I’ll be honest and say I’ve taken a nigga up on it before out sheer boredom and guess what: I wanted my pussy back and it was tewlayte.

What about the ones that SUCK at licking pussy? Let’s be honest: there are some trashcan tongues out here pretending to know what they are doing but arrive at the labia and clitoris just as lost as a milk carton photo. They be down there going to town with no ride and no bus fare; biting, tongue-jabbing and fucking (please don’t fuck me with your tongue. It’s stewpid), making a bunch of noise while doing little, looking at you (so you can fake in their face) and all the other false narratives they have convinced themselves are proper ways of cunnilingus. I either have to fake it or I have to hurt your ego – either way, I end up finishing the job myself.

Whew.

Shit’s exhausting and I leave the spirit of exhausting with every upward motion of my wings and trust me, I’m doing a lot of flying these days. I simply don’t have time in what’s left of my life to spend it wasting away getting head just cause it’s there. Just because he’s a man, I’m a woman. I want to see as much of this ENTIRE WORLD as I can before I expire. I want to publish tons of books, I want on the NY Best Sellers list, I want my poetry to be heard, I want the LiT Ball to change the course of women’s lives forever and I want everything new that I’m creating to be just as successful or better than everything from the past. Nowhere in there does time exist for mindless fucking and head. I’m no prude. Horniness ain’t for the faint at heart and celibacy is no fun, but it’s better than sitting around after the fact wanting the impossible: to retrieve the given pussy and strike it from life’s records.

Sex is beautiful with the right person. Who that right person is or how long he/she is around for is your personal preference, but the point is interrupting my (your/our) daily flow to make someone else happy with a body tour and a buffet ticket isn’t happening anymore. It’s not like I’m sending smoke signals or using social media to reel in a random fisherman looking for a catch. I’m putting nothing out there to suggest a need that requires fulfilling. But it’s everywhere. I have one guy on my IG and all he does is post stuff about giving head. Like, seriously?

I don’t want head based on the fact that you have a tongue and I a vagina. Is that all it takes? To quote Tupac, “I don’t want it if it’s that easy”. 

I want joy. Pure joy. Stuff memories are made of. Not interested in a situation. Even if I wanted a fuck buddy, I would be the one doing the picking and I guarantee these fuckboys would remain in the cotton field.  The only head I’m interested in right now is Head of Household. I mean even Cardi B let him “get what he wants”, but in return, he bought her Yves St. Laurent. Meanwhile, in Indianapolis, niggas wanna drive in circles up 38th Street, sit idle and lick pussy.

Someone picking up their phone to think that after a decade of not talking and two glasses of Pinot to catch up, that I would be interested in hopping on their face with no second thought is a misguided nigga. So is the guy that has a secret ‘crush’ (yeah right) and thinks this is the way to me. Let’s not forget the guy that has been in the cut daydreaming about tongue acrobatics- yeah, don’t want his tongue either. Mr. I-Had-It-Before-I-Can-Have-It-Again doesn’t stand a chance. Sir Let-Me-Shoot-This-Text, his brother Monsieur My-Dick-Is-Bored and their cousin Lick-Em-And-Leave-Em-Cause-FuckCommittments, Esquire, have all been asked to get up from the table and don’t look back. Hoe ass behavior. These niggas that loosely toss their tongues and dicks don’t have self-respect and can’t be turned into no husband. WTF can I do with them besides be wet and ringless?

I’m sure for some women, this is all they want and need and it’s perfectly fine for them to jump at the opportunity. But I’m good. The shit that impressed me in the past either has been outgrown or never should have impressed me in the first place. TextoGrams of head offerings are underwhelming and overpopulated in a world where disease is rampant and hoe’s still can’t be housewives. GTFOH.

I’m good my niggas. I’m not reduced to my flesh or someone’s desire of piece of it.  All this talent and love and niggas still want to try to serve me in shots of saliva with a side of 3 AM texts. I’ve been invited (or suggested) to threesomes, I’ve had sexual innuendo about my niece shared with me (that about floored me), I’ve even been asked to hold drugs and a gun and while that has nothing to do with this blog, I’m just sharing the audacity levels that exist. NAW. Not with all this smart shit in my head and this dope shit being sewn from my needles. Nah. Not only am I good my niggas. I’m too good…for this shit. Damn right Janelle, these niggas are officially on “a muthafucking pussy diet.”

Walking out of nigga scenarios like:

~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