Live PD Cam

Self Conscious: Girl stop. That shit is in the past, let it go. It’s already been buried.

 

Me in real time:

I meant, literally. I can dig it…UP.

The color of masochism.

 

Plot twist: there’s no gold at the end, fool.

Stop digging up your past.

It only ends in the death of you.

~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

Intensive Care Unit: The Surgical Yes

I started binge watching Grey’s Anatomy a few weeks back and ever since the onslaught of Owen and Christina Yang’s relationship, I have found myself entranced by the storyline. Yang and Owen had an indisputable love for each other, but their conflicting overall desires for their lives as individuals and as a couple wouldn’t allow them to prosper. Over the course of several seasons, the audience is pulled from north to south in their love story. They have passion, desire, and unfiltered love; it’s undeniably present. But Christina doesn’t want to be who Owen wants her to be (a mother). And Owen can’t shrink his needs to fit Christina’s plans for her future (winning the Harper-Avery surgeon award). On one of the final episodes of her Grey’s Anatomy career, Yang finds herself asking a newly-paralyzed but conscious husband if he would like to end any life-saving techniques, as his distraught but supportive wife stands on side listening. At the exact moment of his response, Yang envisions two different scenarios, neither of which resulted in dual happiness for both her and Owen.

In the first scenario, Owen’s desires to be a father were fulfilled by Yang’s willingness to carry and care for not one, but TWO children (keep in mind she NEVER wanted kids). She lost or gave away the opportunities at winning the research award she once passionately sought after and secretly confessed to her best friend Meredith that she knew messed up. She aged with a disturbed happiness that glowed across her face as she introduced the award recipient who was one of her former interns. This is what self-disappointment looks like.Related image

In the second flash, the shoe was on the other foot. Christina was on her 4th award win and dedicated her time to continued research efforts. Owen, on the other hand, still wanted to be a father and had turned to drinking to cope with the dreams he gave up on for love. This eventually led to him being considered for termination due him working under the influence and creating a hostile environment for the attendings. Christina no longer wanted a relationship with him and while talking to Meredith, she asked her “don’t let me go back to him.“During her award acceptance speech, she asked a series of three questions that encapsulated her daydreaming and aroused my inquisitiveness.

“Do you know who you are? Do you know what has happened to you? Do you want to live this way?

I watched their relationship and particularly this episode during a time in my life where I was mourning the loss of my own failed-future alongside someone. I found myself relating my failures (and wins) to what Yang was going through. Who would have guessed that I would find myself connecting to a fictional, non-black Cardiothoracic surgeon who was once in love with a black man and ultimately married a white one? I found so many parts of my personality showing through her passion for …..herself! When she asked herself these three questions, she inadvertently asked me. And now, after the revelations and epiphanies I had from watching these old reruns, I am asking myself AND you!

“Do you know who you are? Do you know what has happened to you? Do you want to live this way?

I tend to use my age as a scale to measure my life’s progress. It’s not because I really subscribe to the idea that by a certain age certain things should have happened (although I do believe there is a hint of truth to it depending on the circumstances). It’s more because I tend to look at things from the standpoint of how many years I’ve been on earth and allotted the time to get shit done! So when I say at age 38, I should be able to answer these questions without blinking, it’s not because that’s my worldview on humans, age and progression but rather because, after three decades of living, I should fucking know these answers….even if they change in a week!!

In the circumstances where Christina gave birth to two children, she was miserable! It was on her face, with her plastic smile and her aloof conversations. She looked like she regretted her choices, and she did; she had long stated that she never wanted to be a mother and now here she was the mother of two! It wasn’t her dream she was living – it was Owens.

No one wants to or even should live that way. It’s mentally and emotionally dangerous. Owen was in complete bliss as he played with the boys while Yang confessed to Meredith that she knew she had made a mistake. When one of her kids got sick in the middle of her research, she passed her award-winning project off to someone else, who ultimately ended up being the recipient of the award she had spent a lifetime hoping to earn. She had given up her dreams to live for someone else’s, and in the process, the things she wanted most were never achieved. It was a life she was born for that never finished getting actualized. The minute she chose Owen’s dreams over hers, she died and was reborn as a version of herself that he was creating.

So what is the point of this blog? I am asking both myself and you the reader if you are able to answer these questions and what you will do if the answer to the last question is NO? At some point in my last relationship, I began to feel like Christina. I had not been rewatching old Grey’s episodes at the time and maybe if I had, I wouldn’t have felt so wrong. I started to question whether I was eager to marry the wrong person. I never told him these things because I never wanted him to feel like he wasn’t enough. It wasn’t that – everything that he was at face value was enough for me. But I was concerned that in my love for him and excitement for our future, I would end up compromising parts of dreams that my long-term joy needed me to experience.Image may contain: one or more people and closeup

I wanted to leave the city and much like Christina, I expressed that from the start. I never wanted to spend an indefinite amount of time in Indianapolis, but I had fallen in love with an active father of two children. Who was I to move him away? He used to tell me not to worry; that it would all work itself out and I trusted in that. But in the back of mind, I worried that I would hit a point of no return with Indianapolis and he wouldn’t even have teenagers yet (his kids were under 13). I was willing to be the puppeteered Yang over the authentic Christina. I was trying to prove to myself that the things I had come to find I needed weren’t that big of a deal in comparison to love. That love was, dare I say it: ENOUGH.

When you get fed up with your own fronting, as posted by Tamar Braxton

Sometimes, our authenticity will come at a price.  Listen, if you know anything about me, you know I love me some love! It’s beautiful and in many ways, it will carry and sustain you and be enough. But love isn’t the end all be all and it’s certainly low on the priority scale when it comes to goal-setting and achieving unless that’s what all you really want. 

If we are seeking a true unimpeachable human experience, then sometimes, that means choosing ourselves OVER the things that come into our lives and compromise who we are and/or what we want.  Selfishness is a form of self-care. When Christina was envisioning these scenarios, she didn’t lack love and respect for Owen nor did she think he was out to hurt her. To the contrary, she adored HIM. But she didn’t adore motherhood or want it. . . EVER. She wanted to pursue her passions and dreams and to her, they held the same weight of importance and value as motherhood. When she attempted to see herself living without her dream while creating a world for Owen to be happy, she saw sadness and disappointment. Regret. On the flip side, when it was Owen who she imagined doing the sacrificing, it led to his misery and ultimate downfall. His lack of personal fulfillment lead to him becoming an alcoholic. You are going to cope with the decisions you’ve made and it’s not guaranteed to be in a healthy way, so you might as well create and live the life you envision, alongside people whose ultimate goals aren’t out of alignment with yours. At no point did both of their goals find a common ground and therefore, there was no possibility of true happiness, or better yet longstanding JOY between the two of them.

The Bottom Line:

It doesn’t matter what your gender is or how you identify sexually or beyond; choosing to exist in the stories of other people rather than the passionate future you desire to create for yourself will undoubtedly cause you great unhappiness. There has to be a way to co-exist and climb the ladders of life successes together OR understanding and ACCEPTING that you can’t be together due to the vast differences; anything else is just wasting love. It will more than likely HURT to choose yourself sometimes; it’s like a surgery with no anesthesia. But when you emerge from recovery, you are a better, more healthy YOU. It’s worth it to choose yourself when you otherwise being left out of the equation.

Do you know who you are –

What do you like? What is your perception of the world and of life? What brings you joy and what causes you grief or pain? What upsets you? How do you love? Are you awake, alert and involved or are you just existing? What do you want for yourself? What would make you feel successful? What are you dreams and where do they lie? 

Do you know what has happened to you –

What caused you to think and feel this way? Are you ok with that? Who hurt you? Who made you laugh? Where were you when the ball dropped? What did it look like when you got back up? How long were you down? How hard do you fly? What shapes you? What caused you to fear? What has helped you believe? Who did or do you run to? Did you know that you own the rights to everything that has happened to you? Now, what are you going to do with that? 

Do you want to live this way –

If you died today, on a scale of one – five with five being the highest possible feeling, how would you rate your overall satisfaction with how you lived your life?  What surgery needs to be done to achieve a 5…today? How can this answer be YES?!

Welcome to the Intensive Care Unit. Extreme care will be taken of yourself by yourself from this point on. Take a second and ask yourself Christina Yang’s questions. Allow your imagination to create potential layouts of what your future may look like depending on the door you choose. And when you are searching for the answers, be sure to open discernment’s door for the people, places and/or things that you need to let go of. You will find this to be a necessary surgery in order to get a Yes answer at the end of the third question.  

The Money Shot: Show Me The Tank

“SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!!”

~Cuba Gooding Jr., Jerry Mcguire

This phrase captured America’s precious heart (presumably because it was rooted in the foundation of America’s first principle: money over everything). I have never seen the movie Jerry Mcguire but I’ve long heard this catchphrase repeated, re-enacted and pressed out on shirts, solidifying it as a pop culture sensational slogan of a lifetime. Afterall, no one wants the money tomorrow. We all want it right now and would prefer it first! Although in many instances the work is done and the financial reward comes last, we still need some type of assurance that “the money” is coming with certainty.  Paperwork such as contracts and promissory notes exist in order to hold the other party financially responsible, and in the event of a fallout, capable of facing a lawsuit. It is my belief that this is due in part due to lack of trust as well as the unforeseeable trait that some people inherently have where they get personal enjoyment from taking advantage of others (in this case that would be not paying).

For this reason, the phrase show me the money” became another one of America’s beloved expressions and whether you saw Jerry Mcguire or not, you could still relate to the statement. Everyone wants to either receive their money up front or know without a doubt that it is coming because it is owed.

Which brings me to Tank .  .  .

Photo Cred: by way of TheShadeRoom & FashionBombDaily

. . . and his money shot.

The other morning, I awoke slightly before my alarm and rather than go back to sleep, I trolled Instagram. One short scroll through the shaderoom and I came across the R&B singer Tank, gazing out of a picture window while wearing nothing but his underwear.  I believe these are called boxer briefs?

I stared, swiped to the next picture, came back and pondered as I looked with concern. I went to the comments to see what the public thought. Many women commented about the lack of eggplant protrusion and the absence of a big dick print. But there were some supporters, one in particular who said another one of pop culture’s favorite phrases: “Maybe he’s a grower, not a shower.” This got me thinking. First thought, unless he was fresh off an orgasm, that thang ain’t growing into too much more.

This got me thinking even further. 

How much longer are we going to promote the idea of hoping people grow into what we want to see verses either accepting what they have shown us (see Maya Angelou’s statement about this) and not expecting more (also known as settling) OR, not accepting what they have laid out for us when it doesn’t fit our needs and moving along until we what we are looking for?

Show me the money dammit!!!!

Think about some of the conversations you’ve had with people who took jobs at a pay less than the average (or what they were looking for). How many of those conversations included people complaining about the long road towards their desirable pay? Or how they feel boxed in or like they will always be behind because they started behind the average gun line? And how raises come in the smallest tenth of an increment so they never quite feel like anything changed when they get it?

Image may contain: 1 person, outdoor and closeup
Photo by The Sweet Aura

That’s why show me the money is such a popular saying. That’s why we teach our kids at an early age to follow their dreams and go to college so they can get that headstart into the avenue of their choosing and don’t spend too much adult time waiting on the big rewarding moment they should have started with. Our relationships work similar to this.  We can’t ask to be shown the money and then refuse to pay attention to the small change that stands in front of us. Far too often, we women give men the ‘grower not a shower’ safety clause and expose ourselves to unnecessary stagnation and disappointment.

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Photo by Jus Fam Photography

The growing/showing theory may be acceptable and at times plausible from the waist down, but from the neck up, it’s an insufficient and ill-fated way of forming new relationships. Creating bonds with potential is grounds to get you heartbroken and when the ship sails, you know who you will be angry at? Yourself! I’ve spoken on this back when the blog was still A.M(use.D).  You will be pissed at yourself for not listening to and trusting your instincts, and you will have to endure the process of self-forgiveness, but only after realizing you are disappointed in yourself. So many layers.

Every reasonable human being striving for the best in life at some point learns that personal growth is infinite; there is no end to it. This isn’t about finding the perfectly put together man. This is about knowing what you want, deserve and expect (also known as your own individual standards) and learning how to require certain things be present at the onset (show me the money).  For example, if I want a man with his own home, his own transportation, legal employment and no more than one child, I can’t meet a guy who’s freshly evicted or lives with his mother (because she is sick of course) and continue in pursuit due to his ability to grow at a later date. There is nothing wrong with being hopeful that a man will get his shit together but the law of self-protection has shown me that, that type of hope is reserved for friends and family; not someone you are trying to build with.

Show me the money dammit!

Show me that your PRIORITIES are together. < That line is the basis of this blog.

You can entertain poor priorities if you want to but you should know it may come at the expense of your heart aching. and gaining a future Ex. If you want a partner and want to truly create an abundant future with that partner, then the alignment isn’t something you should be growing into together (or one by one). The equal yolk is supposed to be the attraction! It’s the money shot!!! In one relationship, I was told “to love me and be with me means to accept me where I am and hope I get it together.” That was a crushing blow to my heart. You know why? Because it was yet another money shot, but this time it was showing me that loving on potential is wasted talent. I should never ‘hope’ one day you will get it right; you should want it right. You should be intent on getting it right. You should come to the door with it right or stay out the game until it is.

One of the common denominators (besides myself) in my past relationships has been giving men the space to grow into the person I saw them as having the ‘ability’ to be. They presented themselves as a Tank picture and I smiled and told myself “maybe he’s a grower, not a shower.‘ No money was shown (or was it???). No pudding proof found my silver plated spoon dipping in it. They showed me who they were and I saw who they could be. I have even told myself that their growth was contingent upon my presence. Meanwhile, time and time again, I held myself back and shrank myself in order to be on an even level with them. Growing instead of showing only works (whenever it does) in the boxer brief section of the world. But think of how small the men’s underwear section is in any department store vs. all the other items inside. Life is bigger than dick-in-the-pants.And truth-be-told, everyone is showing their own version of the money; it’s up to you to count the bills and decide if that’s ENOUGH.

The problem with some woman, myself included, is we see beyond the wolf eyes and connect to the God in them that they don’t see in themselves. Loving someone’s higher self isn’t going to translate into them behaving from their higher self. The result is going to be you, dimming your light and shrinking yourself in order to fit your love, expectations and authentic human experience into a box it never fit in.  Look at you: Getting caught in a box. Busting out of the seams. Stressed for easy breathing because it’s somewhat claustrophobic when you start to reduce yourself and put you last. This is a breeding ground for insecurities for BOTH people involved. Potential is beautiful. We all have it in some form. But some things can’t be compromised into showing me later; they need to be shown NOW! Your authentic makeup should be presented upfront and that includes what you want and need from another person. If you don’t see what you know you need, then the fair thing for both parties is to move on. Truth-be-told, everyone is showing their own version of the money shot;

…it’s up to you to count the bills and decide if that’s ENOUGH.

Let’s say you fall in love with a grower (potential) and they don’t fall in love with showing (living up to). Congratulations! You’ve just ended up with the Tank picture, which you can’t be too mad at because it’s exactly who he SHOWED you he was.  It was the money shot all along. Turns out, there was nothing to grow into.

Not everyone is going to live up to their potential.

Not every small, flaccid penis is going to turn into a giant, hard dick.

Make me and Maya proud:  Don’t settle for growers.  And,

“When people show you who they are, believe them” (Maya Angelou) !!

TheMoneyShot: Taken by The Sweet Aura

Life comes at you fast! Make sure you’re paying attention!

 

~J

 

***Note: this blog in no way is meant to reflect any opinion on the size or growth abilities of Tank’s penis….although I do have my own thoughts. O.O

Een, δύο, Tres, Quatre, Five: 5 Love Languages to Get You Awake, Alert & InvolvedInYourRelationship

  1. Words of affirmation
  2. Acts of service
  3. Receiving gifts
  4. Quality time
  5. Physical touch

Many prehistoric-before FB years ago, I took a quiz that promised to reveal to me what my true love language was. I don’t remember what the results were, but sometime after, I found out it wasn’t just a random internet quiz. There was actually a book dedicated to the five love languages and for the longest, I intended to read it. I didn’t. Over the years and after this discovery, while I never actually purchased the book, I had become privy to the information inside of it in many ways. This book and this idea of love languages have been recycled in magazines, blogs and hundreds of conversations about love. I admit the author, Gary Chapman, is on to something with this idea of love. All five of these “languages” are legit components of companionship that one or both parties will likely carry, some more than the other. Studies have been done, talk shows have invited Chapman on for discussions and people still today continue to purchase the book in droves and take the random internet quizzes that they hope will inform them of who they are, but as much as I believe in these 5 languages, I also believe there is a great deal missing: The part that comes before the acts of service, gift exchanging and physical touching. In order to have affirming words and true quality time with each other, one should understand there are unspoken love languages that will absolutely make or break your relationship in ways that the five above won’t even light a match to.

Much like the rest of everything that appears on TheIIsNeverSilent, I am basing today’s blog off of my personal experience with love, however, this time, I’m not using my past as a meter reading. My past never taught me these things. In fact, my past taught me, if anything, that these five REAL love languages  I am about to blog on were actually either figments of my imagination, shit I learned from watching too much television or wholeheartedly unnecessary battles that need resisting. But that moment you find yourself in a real, healthy relationship with someone who would do anything just to see you happy, it is inevitable that you will get confronted with  –

-Yourself….…and the love languages that you need to learn how to speak a little more fluently. Unless of course you would rather be in the type of relationship that you can’t wait to get away from.

Ready? Let’s dive in !

The REAL Five Love Languages – According to Januarie York

So many things I’ve got to tell you
But I’m afraid I don’t know how
‘Cause there’s a possibility
That you’ll look at me differently
Love
Ever since the first moment I spoke your name
From then on I knew that by you being in my life
Things were destined to change ’cause…

~Musiq Soulchild, Love

1.Dutch – It’s Not All About Your Ass

*taps on mic and clears throat to sing: mi, mi, mi, mi, mi *

The joys of selfishness are not a welcome tenant on the ship of relations. This should be an obvious fluent language right? Well, in some ways it is. Most of us know it’s not fair to be in a relationship and expect the other person to never drink all the orange juice and in fact, that is not YOUR orange juice (if you are living together). Of  course, you have to share things like the bathroom and the blanket and make time for each other’s passions and families – all things that reiterate that selfishness has no place.

But what about the hidden selfish traits and beliefs that we carry around inadvertently? How does one uncover these secret selfish ways and thoughts? I’ve been with someone for over a year now and we have a beautiful, infectious relationship that everyone who has met us can tell we are a forever type of love. But I’ve never been in a forever type of relationship before. I have only invented outcomes, most times by way of poetry, of what it would or could be. I have never been tasked with taking a deep breath and  surveying how I treat the person I’m with. I say this without a victim mentality, but I have always been the one mistreated. I mean, as my main readers know, I stand full of flaws and fucked up stuff that I have done to people I have claimed to love. But I was never taken to task in a way that caused me to reflect on myself. To add to that, there wasn’t any time to. I had to keep eyes wide open to how I was being treated so that I could call out the poor behavior and boy did I keep a pocket full of stone ass niggas with poor fucking behavior.

Well, when you are no longer being MIStreated, you don’t have to ‘watch’ how you are being treated as hard and as much. There are levels of trust that reign down and you don’t have to watch your own back as you come to understand (and trust that) this person actually has it for you. This is great, but this also turns the mirror on YOU. When you don’t have to watch your own back anymore,  then you can actually see how much you been fronting on love.

In my case, my mirror has shown me many ways that I have made this relationship be all about me and that’s not always a good thing. Matter a fact, if that were a good thing at all, then I would be single…right? I mean, if it’s all about my feelings, my needs, my past, my ways that you need to tiptoe around, my methods, my triggers and my haunting ghosts, etc, at what point is about him? And how fair is it to never be about him? When will it be US? When we argue, it is about me. Not what I did or said that was hurtful; but how the reaction was hurtful to me. And that’s ok to some degree. Life is 10% what happens, 90% how you react. Reactions can make or break your point. I’ve learned this hard way. But there can’t be a REaction without a first action, so at what point do I look in the mirror I’m facing and say to myself ‘ok, let me check myself because this behavior I’m exhibiting is a spawn of something else.”

By the time I decided to throw myself back into the dating pool in 2015, I had a mental list of qualities I wanted from a man, things I would not accept and an ever-growing list of shit to be on the lookout for. I only ‘dated’ (loosely used term) a small amount before I met the person I am with but with each guy I was able to pinpoint signs of stuff from different lists (mostly the shit-to-be-on-the-lookout-for list…it’s an easy list apparently). In this relationship, those signs do not exist, therefore we do. But this is when the thin line of selfishness and togetherness attempt to criss-cross. When you become involved with someone, it might be easy to think that you are supposed to be fighting for your right to be loved correctly. There is a degree of truth to that. But if you are fighting so much for YOU, at what point are loving them?

At what point are you alert, awake and involved in your current relationship and not currently living by way of past baggage? Let’s say you both are ‘looking out for self’ while in a committed relationship together (assuming it’s healthy as this entire blog is ONLY in regards to a healthy relationship). Who is looking out for the other and who is being loved for real? This is a real life conversation that took place in my relationship  that gave me cause for pause because I had never looked at it like that before.

“So what you’re saying is I can’t look out for me anymore?!!!”

….followed by stuff like: “But I’ve always looked out for me!!”, & “If I don’t scan the area and make sure I’m good, who will?” , & “How dare you suggest I not protect myself or lookout for myself”

IYiYi… …this is why they say love is hard. The hard part lies in looking in the mirror and check yourself in the name of saving and protecting not YOURSELF, but your relationship, which if it’s a healthy one, automatically includes YOU. It’s not about your ass anymore!!!! And on the flipside of that, you are not letting go of your self-concern – you are rerouting it to include someone else who, on the opposite end, is looking out for your best interest. THIS is the relationship we all want and imagine we have many times but don’t. Trust me, like I said in the beginning, I’ve written many poems and lived them out in the lies of my love life. I wrote a whole book of poetry on one nigga that stopped reading me after page one. Shit happens. 

If you are with someone who is giving you the best they have,  it’s their job to look out for you and your job to look out for them. If you both are watching your own backs, then two things are happening:

1. No one is looking forward.

2. Yaw don’t have each other’s backs.

You each have your own. In other words, you are exhibiting single behavior in a 2-party relationship.The idea is to trust – if that trust is not there, then why are you? Trusting someone isn’t exclusive to monogamy. Trust is a well-rounded word that encompasses many areas of the relationship and when that trust is there in full, then it’s ok to excuse yourself from the watchtower of your own lighthouse and join the duel space at the top of the [relation]ship with your partner by your side.

To love someone requires the breaking down of one’s self. You have to be selfLESS enough to let go of old habits, thoughts, desires, PLANS, etc that were created with a single person in mind. You have to change your route up on some things and other things will have to die off (see #2). All in the name of love.

Love is a selfless, action word. Loving someone else requires that you open yourself to a new type of growth; no more single growth. No more superwoman (or superman) growth. This is now your growth as an individual AND as a partner. Your outlook on different aspects must be open to change. If you look at my blog, “The Real Tea“,  you’ll see me writing from the battlegrounds of my single vs plus-one life. I’m not single anymore so those exact plans for leaving in October 2016 won’t work with someone who has children in Indianapolis. . . unless I wanted to choose ME only. And that would be ok if I did. If I wanted to say fuck this relationship, I want what I want the way I planned, then kudos for me for having the balls to stand up and do that, IF that’s what I really wanted in the grand scheme (as opposed to the here and now). You always have to do what’s best for you and sometimes that comes from trial and error and other people will hurt because of it. But that’s why they say love is a choice. And when deciding to be with someone else, you’ve decided to choose the needs and goals of the relationship over 100% self-oriented plans. It doesn’t mean I have to live my life out in Indianapolis. It just means it will be a little longer and WE will plan this grand leap together.

2.Greek – You Will Die and Tears Will Be Shed

 

A few weeks back, I wrote a blog on people dying and being reborn again. No, not reborn as a Christian, but reborn as a living, breathing human. It was a story I wrote from my life in current, that had me questioning my happiness while fighting my answer (yes, I am extremely happy and that makes me uncomfortable). It has been a constant battle for me to find comfort in being in love with someone who is visible and physically yolked up and in love with me. Trusting that (see number 1) has been like pulling my own teeth one by one. Allowing him to be free to love me hasn’t been simple. That blog was me having the epiphany that for once I have everything that I want and everything is going well, very well in fact, and that makes me fearful subconsciously. As a result, I begin to react in an almost self-sabotaging way.

I create drama out of nothing. Find attitudes in the midst of laughter. I get angry and lose control. I go backward. I go find the old relationships that I had become some accustomed to fighting and ‘self-protecting’ and I dredge them up just enough to react in them rather than be right where I am, with who I am. In other words, I get mad that I’m happy and scared it’s all a front or a cruel joke on me and I react based on my past. All of this has threatened to kill my relationship….but the funny thing is, he won’t go. He’s like IDGAF how hard it is or how long it takes or what it takes – I’m staying. And we’re going to get this right.

 

Say what? That throws me every single time. Because anytime we beef and I go off the deep end (which honestly is too often…stay tuned for the blog on me confronting myself for real), as I stated earlier, I’m arguing with my past as my refuge so I’m expecting past results. I expect him to leave. To walk out on me and everything we’ve promised to each other and have begun to build but he doesn’t. And truthfully, it’s been hard to actually SEE that for the lack of trust. The lack of trust is nothing he’s created – it’s a monster I have pulled from the graveyard of ExWhy Chromosomes failures and it has no place in this relationship.

That’s a hard language to learn like Greek. Sure the bag lady is gonna miss her bus if she don’t hurry up but if the beat goes too hard for her to get the full message, she might just be running in circles with bags in tow. In a healthy relationship, you don’t get to hold on to your past as reasoning forever. You express what the past has done to you and how it has shaped you and you work on killing off the dead leaves, letting go of old luggage and loving in the current – but you can’t hold the past as your way of reacting to the present. It’s not about your definition of love, it’s about the other persons. This was another real convo at home. He/She is not going to love you for the reasons YOU deem lovable; they will love you for the reasons they deem it. Why? Because it’s them falling in love with you and it’s their love on the line. You don’t get to dictate what they love about you or why. Or for how long. The same goes with the shoe on the other foot. There is much dying to do once you get involved on a safe ship. That death will bother you. It will crush you in some ways. It will hurt your feelings. You will resist some of it. #GrowingPains.

Literally.

Go ahead and confront what needs to be confronted so your other half can watch your back while you bury the dead parts and give way to a new birth. A fresh crown. One that will be cared for delicately and not stained, chipped and broken.

3.Spanish – You Can Kill Their Blessings (Soul Ties)

When dealing in soul ties, if you have not given yourself the proper chance to cut loose old ties, you will stand in the way the growth of your future. We don’t know sometimes that we are still carrying people with us. Sometimes we do, but the ways we are carrying them are ways we think we ‘need.’ I recently read a FB post where a woman was applauding herself for letting go of the last of her past – the last connection she had to a scary place. She was proud as she should have been. But what she let go of was something she legit thought she needed until she realized she would be ok without it (and any inconvenience its absence causes will come into a blessing soon enough).

What I have learned is therapy is sometimes VERY necessary (as I begin now to seek it myself). Sometimes you really do need someone else who has an unbiased, objective opinion to help you not just express what you have internally that you may not have healed in full from, but how to put into ACTION the lessons you’ve learned and bring the energy you desire your way. People always say “you attract what you are.” Oh ok. Well, if I keep attracting shitty people that don’t mean it’s a lot of shitty people? That means I’m a shitty person?

Nah. I don’t accept that in full. To some degree perhaps, but I also think that sometimes learn things and then don’t know how to act in them in the moment we need to. So whether you need to read a lot of extra books and do some research on cutting soul ties or light candles, or find a life coach/spiritual mentor, the cutting of soul ties is not necessary just so you don’t have to feel the feelings – it’s necessary so those ties don’t inadvertently block the blessings of your companion. I heard it as loud as music in a car turned on MAX VOL.

“If you don’t stop behaving like this, you will ultimately block his blessings, which if you two are going to be one, his blessings are yours, therefore . . . ”

Yeah. I was walking down my hallway after an argument about something really petty. This was a time where I had gone overboard and as I walked away with steam coming out of my head, I heard that sentence. It hit me hard because we have been hit with so many blessings from God and in this instance, I saw how I was taking it all for granted. Not just the blessings, but the person as well. Honestly, I’ve shown my ass in this relationship and it’s been 90% unnecessary. #RealTalk

And when I heard what I believe to be God speak that to me – I knew that if I continued to act like this as often as I do with no goal of getting better, my energy was going to begin to negatively impact other things and areas within this relationship. It’s important to know that when you are in a relationship, you are not alone anymore. YOU ARE NOT ALONE ANYMORE I SAID !!!!!!!! EVERYTHING is two people. So that negativity you exude so confidently …that won’t just bite YOU in the ass; that could bite him (her). We have to be awake, alert and involved in the idea that in a relationship, there are two people on the ship. Our soul ties can keep us reacting in a certain way or behaving in a way that we otherwise wouldn’t so it’s important to make sure you get those cut. Not everything will be cut before you get in a new, healthy relationship (gotta keep stressing HEALTHY), so expect to do some cutting and maybe even identifying, together!  The single-minded mentality must end stat. Don’t let your pride stifle their progression…or yours.

4. French – You Need A Couple of Inspire

What is love without inspiration? Everyone needs to be inspired. Inspiration can come in many forms so there is no wrong answer on who or what exactly inspires you. But as an individual and in my opinion, as a couple, you need a source of continued inspire for your relationship. Why?

Well, what does inspiration do exactly? Let’s do my favorite thing! DEFINITIONS !!!

INSPIRE:

Fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.  So, to be inspired means to be filled with an urge to make a move. I hope my blog is inspiring to someone, if not everyone. I hope one person reading this is inspired to look into the validity of these languages I’ve designated necessary for relationships. What I say may or may not be truthful for everyone, but it hopefully will, in the language of Gary Chapman, at least open up the door to in-depth conversation.

  1. <<<can’t get rid of this BS. O.O 
     That’s the way couple inspiration works. I don’t think there is anything wrong with two people having other couples that inspire them to be greater as partners and individual people. Other healthy relationships remind you of the importance of having that other person. If they are your personal friends or family, they can be a source of comfort or a safe place for conversation when things get tense. Mostly, couples of inspiration serve as a reminder that love isn’t perfect or easy, but it’s worth it…and that it IS possible. I think black people especially need couples of inspiration.
    Also, WHO inspires you isn’t up for debate. It’s not a public decision. So if that’s Jay and Bey, who are on my list, or Desi & Lucy, it’s up to YOU! Ossie & Ruby, who were not only a power couple in Hollywood but they were die-hard activists together who’s love story was so palpable that they played a couple on film, are sure-fire sources of relationship Light in my opinion. Michelle and Barack, Megan Goode and Devon Franklin are a few others – look for couples who don’t pretend to have it all or be perfect. Look for people who aren’t ‘in the moment’ or all over the front pages. When I say inspiration couple, I don’t mean famous. Inspirational couples should have an air of privacy to them. They should be a dream team of two. It can be family, it can be animals, it can be puppy love or golden love. You decide who inspires you to be great as a couple.
    They should inspire you  to reach high and hard and never give in. They should inspire and remind you that love wins, every single time. That’s why I loved Lemonade. I didn’t really sit around and try to guess and piece together whether it was a true story or not or speculate when Beyonce would serve Jay w/divorce papers. If you did, you missed the point of it all. Her final video to the project, which is my favorite song from that album, was a tale of love winning out, despite the times that it could have faltered. She didn’t tell a story of a perfect relationship but rather one that has endured true hurt and pain – but one that was bigger than that very hurt and pain. Something that was too rare and  too necessary to just be thrown away. That’s love. Like it or not, if you think the folks who have been together for 50+ years have not gone through some shit where the average person would have sought the help of lawyers for, then get out of a relationship and start researching just what love really is.

    English – Know the 5 Love Languages

Gary Chapman was on to something and this blog is NOT here to refute any of it. I believe in the Five Love Languages. They are of great importance to know. How can you make your person happy if you don’t know what it is they like or what speaks to their happiness the most? There is no sense is buying dozens of roses for a woman who hates flowers right? It’s the same w/these love languages. They give you a way to see a direct line of communication of love. They are real.

I believe I speak all five languages. Yeah, I took a quiz way back when and I believe my language was tapped as Physical Touch. I don’t remember, but I went ahead and took it again for this blog to see what it would say. Well, I can say I was leaning towards exactly what the results are: Acts of Service/Quality Time/Words of Affirmation – I scored all the same on these and they are the highest. Physical Touch was next, off by one point and Receiving Gifts was last.

Um, I love gifts tho !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

LMAO! Well, as I have always thought of myself, IAM all five love languages. I don’t regard one higher than the other but honestly, if I had to choose, it would be in the exact order it’s in. Receiving gifts would absolutely be last (but I love gifts BAE if you’re reading).

LOL! Love languages are important tho. Seriously. Don’t read this blog and think they aren’t. Go ahead and take the quiz if you haven’t before and see for yourself what your love language is. If you are in a relationship, you and your partner should absolutely read this book. It’s only going to open up healthy dialogue and open doors to learning each other in an emotionally intimate way. Do it.

And while you’re at it, apply my additional five as well !!! Kill off what’s dead, open yourself up to trusting yourself (if you trust you, then it becomes easier to trust who you’ve chosen to be with and trust), get some inspiration, remember you’re a couple now and not a single and get the book and grow !!!

Love is hard. It really is.

But it’s so worth it. Some people don’t mind spending their lives alone and I would personally rather die by my damnself rather than spend 25 seconds with a shitty person pretending to love me right. But when you have something worth dying for – die for it.

And be born again in love <3  15235807_1155079907916381_2805255673501856876_o

~J

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shall we?

Depression is not an Adjective:

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

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

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

Anxious for the Panic Room

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

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

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

This one is pretty well detailed in the symptoms.

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

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

Fuck It, I’m On One

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click this link for their information.  

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

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

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

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

Blogtrack:

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

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

 

 

WOMAN’ing: CH 40, Bullies & Bullshit, Part III of V

Remember those metallic vertical blinds that came out back in the late 90s? You know the ones that looked really snooty and cost a lot of money; there used to be a store that specializes in those blinds in Lafayette Commons (a former popping area of the Westside of Indianapolis).  Yesterday I drove past a house that still had those types of blinds up. It caught my attention in the same way they used to when I was a teenager….well unless you count the fact that upon seeing them, my initial thoughts were ‘they STILL have those??!!!!” Nonetheless, it instantly took me to a nostalgic place. My aunt had some – hers were metallic gold and faced just enough sunlight to create a blinding glare when the rays hit them. I loved them. I remember when she first got them installed. I was quite mesmerized and had promised myself that when I finally got out on my own, I would have some of the same blinds. I hadn’t decided on silver or gold, but I did love the way the gold accented her dining room both in and outside.

She had plans on getting more. I remember her pointing to the living room windows and talking about how she had planned on getting more. She wanted some that had a design going through the middle in a different accenting color. That never happened. I would guess myself to be about 14 or 15 when her blinds were installed and I was excited to see her house get outfitted in these expensive looking blinds, but again, it never happened. To this day, those gold blinds still cover her sliding glass doors as the only metallic in the house.  When I drove past that house yesterday and had that quick run down memory lane of metallic blinds and my aunt’s house, it hit me: that’s part of aging.

Having all these grand plans for the home you live in that never pan out seems to be part of growing up as an adult. I’ve done it hundreds of times for each place I stayed at. The last house was supposed to have an office/prayer room that even got as far as having the room blessed only for it to sit idle with nothing in it until I stored someone’s new bed for them (that was ultimately left for me to keep).  But sometimes, life happens. So with that, welcome to part III: Bullies & Bullshit.

 

Bullshit:

Sometimes –

Wait. Lots of times…..

Hmm…

MOST times, I have hair on my legs. Lots. The good thing is I don’t grow excessive amounts of hair in places I don’t want it (or even places I do), but that does not equate to me not growing hair in places I don’t want it. Lol. Starting with my legs…somewhere after age 30, my silky smooth legs became a hot spot for hair growth. By about age 34, I started to take conscious notice that I had enough hair on my legs for it to be  visible and unattractive (to me…this is not coming from a societal standards place. I simply don’t want to rock unnecessary excessive hair and that’s ok with me). The problem with this is I didn’t always grow hair on my legs. I never shaved my legs  growing up or in my 20s and the few times I did, it was just to see what it was like. So I have this ‘my legs don’t need shaving’ mentality and I rarely remember to take a razor to them. So again, most times, I have hair on my legs. Lots.

And I still wear skirts, dresses and rock high heels with a model walk, unapologetically.

In my late 20s, two lonely but belligerent pieces of hair started to grow beneath my chin in a place dark and quiet enough not to be easily noticed by most folks but I knew they were there. I would yank them until they were gone. Pluck them out. Snap them off with fingernail clippers and at times, play with the longest one because it confused me how it grew so long, thick and fast when the top of my head seemed to struggle bus it’s way through my life. But I digress. I also have two chin hairs.

Lastly, in the last year, I noticed a new tenant on my body. Another hair. On my face. This one more visible than the chin and my legs put together in an army. It is right above my lip. Like a lone mustache hair. It hardly lays flat and it is visible. My guy has seen it and laughed at me. I was embarrassed of course, but not for long (he don’t care). But it’s there. And the same treatment I give to the chin hairs, I dish to this one. I snatch it out with an attitude while thoughts of ‘how dare you grow on my face’ circle my head.

Hair.

Hair growth is a part of aging that I had long seen in my family but never understood it as part of the process. I believe I thought the women in my family who had faint mustaches and chin hairs was due to a flub in their DNA; not something to do with how many birthdays they celebrated. Turns out, I was wrong. While I know it’s quite normal for women to grow hair anywhere (seeing as though we are humans and that’s what human bodies do), that doesn’t make it any less irritating to wake up from your 20s and notice some random, permanently growing hair in a shiny suit, dancing and waving a checkerboard mark towards it’s friends from the cliff of your chin.

This is bullshit.

Aging, while fun at times, eye-opening and full of epiphanies, laughter, tears and cheers, is bullshit.

Reasons why aging is bullshit sometimes:

I’ll be 38 in about two months. That’s a hard pill for me to swallow emotionally because I don’t ‘feel’ 38 but then to again, what does 38 feel like? I remember turning 25 and not feeling this great big difference although  I knew there were some subtle changes that would take place. At age 25, you are officially of the age where people can’t turn you down for alcohol, clubbing or cigarettes. You’re grown. But what is hardly said about 25 is that is the age where life kicks up a notch and goes into high gear. I am now an age I consciously remember my mom turning. When you are a kid, your mom feels old. You know she’s older than you and because of her authority and wisdom, 30s, 40s and 50s all seem like one big, old age. But as a nearly 40-year-old woman, I understand that not to be true. I feel young in many ways and like the things that happened in my 20s just happened a handful of years ago. I mean, nothing seems like I should be about damn near 40 !!!

! Except this hair. All this unnecessary hair…..

But that’s just part of it.

Some of my aging issues:

Black DOES crack!!! Just ask my black ass back and my black ass legs which crack randomly throughout the day for no reason. Why is stretching so important now when I used to get out of the bed and go all day and all night with no stretching and no problems. I’m heavy!!! How come I haven’t been able to do a push up in forever or pull myself up on the ariel silks? Once upon a time I could!!!! Why does my left leg randomly hurt like it needs to pop but won’t and so it stays in this suspended state of OUCH all fucking day!!!!???? Why does my stomach hurt for no reason sometimes? I hurt my toe on a trampoline and it stayed hurt for  THREE MONTHS!!! Was it broken? Shit. WTF? Why have I started loving flats more than heels (but still buy heels just the same)? Why does the new music sound like TRASH and the old music is what I bob my head to? I’m still shouting No Limit from Master P while yaw bumping and grinding to Usher’s attempt at staying relevant.

 

Aging does something to you when you really stop to see how fast time has gone, where you are in your life and your goals and what concerns you have today that you didn’t have last year or five or ten years prior. 2016 has been one of the biggest years of death that I can recall in my life. Some of THE greatest celebrities that I always thought to be immortal passed on this year, but it didn’t end there. Animals that were family staples at my mom’s house went over to the rainbow bridge this year – one cat, one german shepherd who was still young for his death.  Growing up, my mom and stepdad kept a house full of people playing cards, listening to funk music and hanging out. I used to want to be able to hang with them but of course, I was sent to my bedroom. I would fall asleep on the weekends to the sounds of laughter and cards smacking the tables. In addition to that, my grandmother hosted card games at her house. I used to ‘work’ those card games, bringing the players plates of food, coffee and pop so they never missed a beat or lost their seat. They’d pay me in dollars and quarters. I couldn’t hang out in the basement with them because I was too young for the cussing, the gambling, and the excessive cigarette smoke, but man do I have hella memories from that time period and used to love going to my grandmother’s house. I would fall asleep to the sounds of 5 Card Stud arguments coming through the bedroom vents.  My uncle owned race horses and I spent countless days hitting the road with him and my aunt so they could sneak me into the track. My life has always had a sense of G-ism in it. LOL.

Those were the days.

I’m 38 now ….well, I will be in two months. The card games at my grandmother’s house stopped a long time ago. The people whose faces I can see right now in this flashback are gone. About 95% of them have passed over. My grandmother doesn’t remember most of their deaths. She’s alive but suffering from Alzheimer’s and living with my mom. The most self-sufficient woman I know can hardly recognize me when she’s talking to me most days and looks to be in a world that doesn’t include the current us in it. When she laughs and smiles, I can feel warmth take over my heart. I just want to see her do as much of that as possible. My uncle is in a rehab facility where he now lives and I haven’t seen him for at least two years. My aunt stays w/my mom as well and doesn’t get around well physically. I often wonder does she consciously realize my grandmother has Alzheimers because sometimes, it seems like she just doesn’t get it. The horses are all dead and gone, the sound of the gunshot signaling the horses to run is a distant memory. My grandmother’s basement is silent. And my mom’s living room……

Man……

This year saw Ramon, Cobb, Duff, Tony (stepdad’s last living brother), Uncle Willie and several other  people who were staples in our front room, go be present with the Lord as they say. Ramon and Cobb really hit me. They were two of my stepdad’s closest friends and helped him build the house that he and my mom live in today. It’s hard to believe either of them are gone for good. I’ve attended very few funerals – but I’ve experienced a lot of death hitting my family this year and truthfully, the years preceding it. All of my stepfather’s brothers are gone.  Some of my good friends have lost their parents. My mom is battling her own fight again and my stepfather has started to slowly break down as well. It’s hard to watch. Hard to believe and crushing to think about. This is aging. This is bullshit.  You can’t get older without getting closer to your own death and that of others, but how often do we think about that?

Bullies:

My period is a bully. A big 3Oclock High (a movie) bully in a long flowing dress with strappy sandals that are too damn high to be walking in. My period is an asshole. It has no loyalty. No set date. Just a time frame that it’s expected and it usually drops the week before.  I have read several times from women online shaming each other about asking for tampons, having period accidents or anything related to coming on your period and needing to clean up on aisle ten. I wonder what type of bodies do they have and how can I purchase me one? My period lack of loyalty almost always leads to a surprise because it’s not supposed to be here until next week. My period’s extreme heavy flow has lead to me running out of tampons but because of the judgment I’ve seen other people receive when asking another woman for a tampon, I will leave work and go buy one before I ask for help. And that’s a shame. That’s bullshit. That’s some bully shit too. Ugh….My mood, which used to be unaffected by PMS, has now seemingly turned into PMDD or whatever the initials are for CRAZY MF WHILST BLEEDING !!!

I abhor my period and love it at the same time. It reminds me of my strength and abilities as a woman but it’s so bothersome and irritating. How about it show up for one day, serve me the inconvenience and then leave? No? Ok. What used to be about three to four days is now closer to a week, full of attitude and always a problem.

SN: I have no issues talking openly about being a woman and having a period because at damn near 40 years old, if you have issue w/the fact that I’m discussing this, then not only are you on the wrong blog, but that is not my problem. That’s part of aging too – no longer giving a fuck about sparing EVERYONE’S feelings.  If you don’t piss off someone, you probably need to work harder anyway.  * shrug *

The aging process really teaches you a thing or two about bullies. Well, maybe not so much about bullies, as much as it teaches you about how you will deal with them. In your 20s, you might be quick to jump bad or fight someone but as I inch my way closer and closer to 40, I have no patience for that. I have no space in my head for the stress of bullies. I pray for them and mostly, I pray for myself to handle the shit gloriously. So far, so good. I cut people off, move on with my life, apologize when I’m wrong and take my responsibilities as necessary, but I will be damned if I get bullied around. Folks will try you. The older you get, the easier it is to spot when someone wants you on their plate. But at this point in my life and aging process, if someone wants to eat me alive, they better be prepared to get poisoned as they chew. I have venom that is only activated when I am in between the jaws of someone else’s life and once that happens, I can’t be responsible for what is said or done.

Which is a great segway to my patience at this age: I’m not sure I ever had the gift of great patience, but I know it wasn’t always this thin. I’m actually working on bettering it. Currently my patience is like the movie thinner.

Does anyone else find themselves losing patience with people (or maybe it’s just with bullies and bullshit) the older they get? I will snap on you. I will pop off on you and I will say some things that hurt your feelings but you know why?

Let’s think about stats real quick:

The reason I bring up these statistics is because by the time a woman is nearing 40, it is highly likely that she has been a victim of SOMETHING, whether it be domestic violence, sexual assault as a child or assault as an adult or one of the many other crimes that people are eager to commit against women. While no one wants to walk around and play or feel like ‘the victim’, there are effects that come along with having been treated to a particular type of behavior or assault. Trust and patience are two traits that get hit the hardest. For me, I’ve had my share of shit happen to me. As a result, my patience is thinner at 38 than it was at 30 and much less than it was at 21. My trust in others is a lot more skewed and my expectation of being disappointed or hurt is the highest it’s ever been. It comes out in my actions, my words and especially my arguments. If I have lost patience with you at any point, my responses to you might stem from some of these areas, but not in a ‘carrying baggage’ type of way. Everything a woman has with her isn’t baggage. We are constantly being shaped by our experiences and surroundings and our personalities take the biggest hit when it comes to transgressions done to us. The older a woman is and the more she’s experienced, the less likely (unless she is heavily grounded in the Lord Mon-Mon) she is to play the nice role for an undetermined amount of time. I have learned that I have triggers. And when they are pulled, shots ring.

It probably shouldn’t have taken me this long to realize that, but it’s true. That realization led to me obtaining a therapist. Aging allows you to be honest with yourself in a way that begs the question: do you need someone else to talk to? Someone unbiased?

My answer was yes.

I’ve noticed the people I know tend to have one too or at least not be against it. Aging gives you the keep experience to know what you can handle and what you can’t and the closer you get to 40, the more you should know. Matter a fact, I think most women need a therapist by age 40.

Mentally, I feel good about turning 38. I’ve never really had any beef with aging. I’ve always thought it to be an honor and not a guarantee so I’ve embraced every age I’ve ever turned. This one will be no different although when I speak the three and eight as one, it feels ….odd.

I still feel like I’m a young woman. I’m an old head to some. A ‘G’ to others. But to my grandmother, I’m still young Kendria. She calls me a baby. My aunt calls me a baby. My mom calls me chicken. To my family, I’m still the same little Ken. If it’s weird for me to be aging, what must it be like for THEM!!!!???? I’m the kid they raised. I’m no longer working poker games, listening to living room get-togethers are whispering that the horses are going “buggity boo” with their hoofs.

Now, I’m working. Living. Trying my best.

Learning my passions daily and the reasons my gift was gifted to me.

40 will be beautiful, but I must master 38 & 39  to make it there. What are you doing to master your age right now? What are you doing to make yourself better this year than you were last? I always view birthdays as a new year. WOMAN’ing has always been about not telling anyone your age. I’ve always broken the rules as a woman. Always.

I’m Kendria ‘JY’ York and I will be 38 on January 23, 2018.

This day seemed so far away 20 years ago. But it seems like yesterday that I thought that. My ovaries are almost dried up and my period will be on her way out soon enough. My infertile issues are permanent but I never let it take me off my square. I’ve found blessings in other people’s children. Mentally, I could be better with a lot. My patience and my tongue can become razors when I feel fucked with. I am a highly sensitive person (HSP) with a teaspoon of undiagnosed bipolar traits and mild depression. I suffer anxiety, introversion and panic attacks sometimes. Most times, I’m together. I take no medicine, lean heavily on prayer and trust  God to send me to the right therapist. I am scared of cancer with every passing day. I have always been high risk and I’m now of the age of mammograms.

There are words and things that never mattered before that matter now. I look in the mirror sometimes and wonder where the time went while plucking asshole hairs from my face. Recently I gained ten pounds and have not been able to see myself the same. I’ve been low on my reflection and in between feeling dangerously close to going back to 200 lbs, which is not good on me, I’ve also been feeling less than ….beautiful. BUT-

On the flip side, I have found more beauty in my face and my struggle than ever before. I accept that everyday is not a flawless feat and sometimes, I have down moments. But I know my truth. I have learned how many qualities I possess and I allow myself to feel DOPE AF, no matter what anyone else has to say. I try every single day to be a better woman today than the days before. Sometimes, I win. Sometimes, I lose. All the time, I keep going.

This is aging.

Or at least,

my experience with doing so. My aunt never got the rest of her metallic blinds, but I got my office. Some things aren’t meant to be and some things are. Aging will show you which is what. As a matter a fact, aging will show you what is important to your overall happiness, and how far you will go to obtain it.

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~j

“I look in the mirror and I see this old lady looking back at me, but I have no idea how she got there”

~Cher

Blood in the Ocean: Maybe There’s a Shark in the Water

He was looking for his car keys when my brother pointed to the ottoman and said “there.”

“No, those aren’t the right keys,” he replied.

 “Nah said, my brother. “I meant the phone. Grab your phone!”

“Yes, grab your phone baby. ALWAYS take your phone!!!”, I reiterated in a calm but serious tone.

As they walked down the stairs, I heard them speak on how much they both hated the NEED to take their phones everywhere they go. They were going to the store and it was two blocks up the street. It should be ok for them to drive two blocks up the street without a cell phone but the truth is, for a black man in america, simply standing on a square of public concrete could get you killed. To be black is like being blood in an endless ocean and maybe there’s a shark in the water. . .

…so you must always carry your phone because never know when it will be the only eye witness.

On this night, I had gathered with some of my close friends as well as my partner in an effort to decompress our spirits from the Alton Sterling video and collectively generate enough love in the room to soothe all of our spirits, even if just for that moment. We talked and laughed and of course, the conversation made its way to the racial tension that was heating up and the video of Alton’s murder. Little did we know that the very next day we would once again be drained of the energy we assembled together. There were five of us; two women and three men and everyone in the room was in a committed relationship, married or otherwise. We are all good friends so the vulnerabilities were palpable.

Time and time again I have written about the plights of black women. I push for our respect and our right to be free-spirited, life-givers who are in control of our own minds and bodies. I speak often of our softer side and our empathetic nature. But on this night with my friends, I saw black men unlike I’ve ever seen them before and it put a spotlight on how quiet I’ve been in regards to the literary love I type up and share. Right in the comfort of my chill space, I saw three black men worn out and tired from the american race for personal freedom of black people. It’s a race you don’t sign up for; you are born into. You have the choice to not participate and actively fight alongside your brothers and sisters, but you won’t be excused from the results.

Men = strong unattainable beings that lack empathy.

That about sums up my formative years with men; I either struggled to find and maintain a personable connection (stepdad, brother) or they were absent (my father). But then there are men like my uncle, who I never questioned his love for me but I also saw how he emotionally abused my aunt and my grandfather who was proud to call me his granddaughter. But even he was shrouded in darkness and damaging secrets. It’s pretty predictable what this resulted in for my dating life so as you can see, I’ve not had many healthy examples of men. I’ve had some hits, lots of misses and a lifetime of questions. Becoming part of the arts community exposed me to me black men who don’t shy away from emotions and taught me that they are just as scared as women are sometimes. I’ve been able to see behind the mask and the hardened exterior. It’s something I’ve long needed to witness. After all, it is rather unhealthy to think that an entire gender lacks the ability to feel. Through poetry, I channeled feelings and emotions within myself that surprised me. I wrote about the plight of black men. I pushed them from behind using my stanza’s as hands and I gave them tight embraces by way of poetry. I loved them loudly on stages and spoke of them as Kings. I spoke to them like Kings.

“I need for you to stand for yourself Black Man…”

I tried to be their reminder.

“…for each one of you who have let go of the block and rock uniforms, time cards and minimum wages as compared to the streets/still you keep your feet planted in solid soil/often covering up your desire to relapse back to the hood in the same way aluminum foil shelters Sunday leftovers…/” ~For You I Write

I had to write for the health of black men as much as I wrote about everything else because what if there was a shark in the water, and my poetry was the only ship to safety. I tried to write them to safety….so to speak. Somewhere that stopped.  There was a turning point where my writings became less inclusive of black men upliftment. The more I spoke to women, the less I spoke to (and for) men. And honestly, the more I got hurt, the less uplifting I felt like doing in the black man’s honor. It was not intentional shade or nothing; it’s just not where I was in my life or in my writings. Now I’m finding myself making a full circle evolution because as I listened to and watched these three men lay their hearts on my floor, it tapped into that part of me that used to write for them. I was reminded that black people are all blood in the water. Our melanin attracts the sharks and the sharks are armed with guns, tasers and cell phones that they use to make anonymous phone calls to 911 that result in our deaths. One phone call can lead to our death and the caller need not even stick around to watch. It’s usually more innocent black people witnessing (and recording) and getting psychologically damaged in the process. Can you imagine being the person who shot the video of Alton Sterling? Or Eric Garner? Mentally what happens to these people who just stepped out for a Sprite and some cigarettes and end up witnessing a homicide (aside from being harassed by police, locked up on  trumped up charges and other bullshit to derail the case and the life of the witness)?

Sharks are swimming circles around us and we can’t act like we don’t know it anymore. Coming together isn’t an OPTION; it’s necessity. Humbling myself and quieting my arrogance so that I may speak to and for Black men with the same passion I use to speak about strippers being equals and women deserving respect is pertinent to my growth as much as it is to our growth as a people. Black women, children, teenagers, and men are all swimming in these treacherous oceans, but black men (boys) are especially singled out and targeted.  They need to be loved on and lifted higher. They are in need of a network of people to push them to continue to fight and excel because this society is not going to do it. It is up to us to help strengthen each other. The inhumane treatment of black people is condoned and appreciated by a society that fears them yet wants so badly to BE them. They want that smooth chocolate skin, the confidence, the [alleged] big dick, the baritone voice, the cool factor …

Black men are hunted…and wanted. Who am I to excuse myself from writing to and for them, especially in such troublesome times?  

Sitting there with my friends, I listened to my partner and two men I consider brothers speak their fears in the comfort of me and my sisterfriend (wife of one of my brothers). Black men are taught not to be frightened of anything. It is suggested that they don’t show too much sensitivity and where there is no father in the home, there is no man to be the demonstration of balancing testosterone and feelings. During slavery, when the men would get whippings, many of them took it on the chin, meaning they wouldn’t let the ‘master’ see the pain he was inflicted. For them to scream or cry out in agony meant it was so unbearable that it surpassed their ability to save face. Black men have been holding strong since. They are instructed not to express their emotions but no one tells them that they won’t feel, which is a good thing because they absolutely WILL feel all kinds of shit! You don’t get to tap out of how the reality of some situations makes you feel because you are a man. It doesn’t matter if it’s death of a loved one, stress from work or lack of work or trying to be the best provider possible for your children (which is another set of potential stressful FEELINGS), everybody gets a case of #TheFeels sometimes. Even black men. You can hold it in and pretend to be unbothered but deep down, when something upsets you, that disruption of peace has to be dealt with in some way: art, talking with friends and family, vacation, drugs, killing sprees –

-because what you feel doesn’t just disappear simply because you refuse to appropriately acknowledge it.

While growing black boys are being taught to disregard their feelings, white boys can cry and throw temper tantrums all over the room and the white mother will ignore it and keep it moving. Black mothers halt that crying at the first tear. Many black fathers do as well. We teach young boys (and raise young men who turn into adults) that when you feel like crying, DON’T! When you feel angry, punch something if you need to but don’t whine, bitch, complain, cry, or ‘act like a little bitch;’ suck that shit up and be strong in the face!!!  Who can blame them for the times they choose unhealthy coping mechanisms, and even when they go postal? What else can they do? Even when they come to us as their ‘missing rib’, we (women) demand that they be put together enough to help us deal with our own shit. We need them to be strong, emotionally present but not crybabies, patient, in control of self, mentally healthy, job, house, car, no more than X-Kids (or none), etc… But WHO is being THAT for them? Seriously, who has allowed them to be mentally OK? Who has suggested or given them a healthy outlet for their feelings so that they be whatever it is we as women need them to be for us? Unless they are artists with an actual outlet they’ve tapped into, they are often men with a world of exacerbated endurance inside of them. 

The black man is a threat to this society and his murder is almost always justified unless it’s at the hands of another black man. When that’s the case, as long the murderer is caught, there is hardly a problem with gaining a conviction. If there is anything this system likes more than killing black men, it’s locking them up. 108269216When his death is at the hands of the police or even random, local white citizens, it seems the burden of proof rises and even clear, videotaped evidence isn’t enough to prove an unjustifiable homicide. The death of Alton Sterling was a death we’ve seen far too many times in the last three years alone. With technology continuing to advance and bring us mini-laptops to our fingertips and calling them phones, seeing death in progress is no longer something reserved for those working the crime scene. And black death is trending like tribal print shirts at the Black Expo. If people could wear the body of a dead black man, I have no doubts in my mind they would. They would hang his head above their cherry wood furniture and make a hat out of his locs, while using his skin to create a luxe-high-end leather for shoes and purses.

Oh, black man….you can’t be worn but you can be looped. We are bombarded with images of his death-in-progress that we can rewatch and YouTube as much as our hearts can stand. Major news stations and award-winning journalists use their platforms to showcase his dead body on covers of papers and tv screens while the weather data scrolls beneath his picture.

What's the Difference????
What’s the Difference besides time????

Black death is porn and some of the tabs are: black man death, black woman death, black teenager death, black kids with toys death, black man running away death, black man hands up death, black woman mental illness death and the extra sickening, black couple killed ,  Black couple shot at 137 times deathblack couple w/baby in car death.

As I listened to my brothers and my guy talk, I noticed how the tears alternated from one set of eyes to the next. Some fell, others were stranded on the brinks of their eyes, almost as if afraid to drop. This time, it wasn’t the women who were emotional. It wasn’t about us. As much as it INCLUDES us, it wasn’t about us that night. Our men were scared. They were scared for their sons. Scared to say they were scared. They were scared as and for Black Men. As providers, husbands, sons, companions and fathers. They were scared….AS FUCK. Sure we’ve seen a story similar to Alton Brown’s many times before. It was a bit reminiscent of Eric Garner. But something about this one stung unlike anything else. Something about ALTON hit home with thousands of black men. We always say ‘it could be me/it could be us’, but Alton Sterling put that notion on blast. Watching his son break down in his grief at the press conference was another factor that took it over the edge for most folks. It was direct insight on what grieving children look like.

In the privacy of my house, my guy, and my fam spoke in freestyles and conversation about being blood in the ocean. We didn’t heavily discuss the video and Alton; instead, the conversation lingered on personal uneasiness. One of them shared a video of his son singing the words to Kendrick Lamar’s “We Gon’ Be Alright.”  The room quickly lit up at the young black child who even in his singing is still so oblivious to the destructive nature of this world. It was a piercing reminder of what we stand to lose. It gave the room light yet we all felt the sting of reality: we are blood in an ocean. And maybe there’s a shark in the water.

To be black is to be a threat. A problem. A beast. A monster.

As I stated in one of the other blogs in this series, we aren’t considered human. But the night of Alton Sterling’s death, I sat in my room with my circle, dubbed ‘the circle of light’, and on that day, there was no better place to be than within the presence of friends and God. We took shots to help with numbness. We laughed at silly jokes that went on for longer than they should have. We exhaled together for as long as we could.

But the men that night –

-they seemed out of place despite being in a home where they had always been welcomed. It wasn’t about being at my house; they are out of place in America. CncT1ErWgAAiUbuThe hairs on their arms were sticking up and the red in their eyes painted an obvious story of brotherly grief and close possibilities. You are as close to being Alton Brown as you are black. None of them want to trade places with Alton. Or Philando, who we would all wake up to. They work with the youth, they cut grass, know how to cook and they are all raising sons. They love their women and are involved in the arts, the neighborhood, church and mentoring. All three of them exceed the ceiling white America has placed over their heads. Pillars in the community is an understatement to who they are. They are beautiful black men deserving of life, deserving of love and rightfully, respectfully HUMAN.

It stung me to see them in grief. The body language wasn’t its usually jovial openness despite us managing to have a great time fellowshipping amongst each other. But the low hanging eyes and the wear and tear on their heart was at high visibility. They were saddened for Alton and his family. They hurt for his sons. They feared for their wives.

They cried for themselves. And I hurt deep within for all of us; especially them. The boys who may have been raised to hold their emotions like secrets, who were now sitting with melancholy faces and a hand full of tested faith.

We can march and chant and protest and boycott all we want; none of it effects the racist who’s hand hold a gun pointed a black life that they don’t think matters. What we do when we fight back is to incite concern and change in society…as a whole unit.

But nothing can prevent an individual’s actions except that individual’s conscious. You’ll be hard pressed to find a conscious floating in the sea. So no matter where you go, even if it’s only a mile up the street and back, remember to always take your phone.

Because being black in America is like being blood in the ocean. . .

… you always have to watch your back, your sides, your front AND your people-

because maybe there’s a shark in the water.

…and that’s the scariest part of it all.

 

**NOTE: I would like to challenge us all, especially women, to be a source of Light and comfort for the black men in and around your lives. This is no way gives anyone the permission to mistreat you, mislead you or use you. But as much as we need them to be strong for us, we need to allow them to be vulnerable in front of us.

Broken Jewels: Guest Blog by Tony Styxx

Alone in my room, I could hear the millions of questions my 6yr old daughter asks her grandmother… Some are of food but most are about a game show that has been modernized that her senior still enjoys the nostalgic moments from, answering as if she were a contestant.

Then the channel has a change and a news report speaks of a current movement not seen since a King had a jewel knocked loose from his crown or since a Queen was told to leave her throne. In the walls of my home my 6yr old daughter’s questioned echoed: “Grandma, what do black lives matter mean?”

And in that moment, I was a coward. How could I explain to her that as special as she thinks she is, it means nothing in the eyes of her oppressors???

…That her laugh is only accepted when it is at her expense and that if she is going to take a picture, make sure her ass is out and her head is cocked or they won’t see you. Be caked up in so much makeup you lose your childhood. Dress older than you are, shake your ass, fight your kin and maybe you will be lucky enough to hear them say your name with distaste for its pronunciation. I laid as if postmortem had me in its grasp as I tried to find the courage to tell her she can be whatever she chooses as long as it is socially accepted or can be spun into media gold and used as a conduit to spark taboo debates about her womanhood. [I wanted to say] that you will always be the blame for our heritage’s downfall and that you are fit for pleasure; not happiness. You are only as good as your degree and only as important as their needs.

How do I tell the one I hold the highest, that she is seen as the lowest no matter how tall her spirit may be? That no matter how good she is at behaving in our home and being obedient in school, one day her reward for this kind of integrity might be a beating with white pillows that resemble daddy’s hands. [And] that ebony men will hate you for not submitting to their lack of growth and that women of noir will spite you for being original as if they can’t do the same. That no matter how diplomatic you are, the rest of the world will call you a threat.

You are no equal here.

Her voice haunts my inner sanctum.

“What does black lives matter mean?”

What DOES black lives matter mean?

It means to wear your hair with pride because your bravery should not pay the balance of their inferiority. It means to be as smart as you can and make them keep up. It means to continue dreaming in purple, walking as if rainbows fall at your feet, and keep laughing like the wind whispered a joke from God for only you to enjoy out loud. It means you have the right to be you, with no consequences.

Be thankful if you are slim and smile about your A’s, be it cups or plus. [Black Lives Matter means] a big brain beats a big behind any day. That your southern draw is an extension of your mother and you are the sweetest fruit of her roots. It means you too deserved to be loved by the world for who you are and where you come from; not as a cash cow where culture is the currency for other races who live in debt.

It means to be magic baby!!!

You carry the universe in your Afro puffs, all of Africa in your skin and generations of women weak or strong will watch you take your place in the world of struggle only to emerge a citizen of greatness.

But I speak none of this.

I only come from my door to be greeted by a chestnut grin standing less than 1000 lifetimes from God’s throne. And she says “hi daddy”!

And I cooked up the will to smile back.

I hugged my 6yr old daughter.

…Hoping that even though my words never made it to her ears, my intention made it to her heart.

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King.