Sweet Winona, Beautiful Chicago: Another Tribute to My Family Matriarchs

A moment in time.

The last out of town trip I took with the women who acclimated me to road trips happened in July 2004; approximately 14 years ago. It’s been FOURTEEN YEARS since I shared mile markers with my favorites: my grandmother and my aunt Millie. My mom was never much of a road tripper. I can only remember no times when she was on the road with us but I know it happened here and there. She wasn’t much for going back and forth to Mississippi, which was a 9-hour drive that I learned to live for. My Gmom was spontaneous. Almost none of our road trips were planned, like the night my mom got married. Netria Parker Marlin’s idea of babysitting for the honeymoon was to hop in the bucket and hit the highway. I still see us leaving that night around 9 pm (it was dark) and driving the Buick Century 9 hours to Winona, MS on a whim. That’s how I can drive across the country and be unphased today.

But this trip in July 2004. The fourteenth to be exact. This was another spontaneous trip. Anytime there was a rental around, it almost always assured me that a trip was coming. My uncle had a Lumina that he rented to go to his hometown of Nashville. I drove the whole way there and up until the changes began in my family, he still laughed about how I drove 90 MPH the whole way there. I had NO license. But I got us where we were going safe and quickly; just like Gmom taught me. It almost brings tears to my eyes to think of the little nuances I took from my Gmom. She didn’t teach me to drive but I guess I was watching.

My uncle kept the Lumina for a bit and like clockwork, one afternoon my Gmom proposed we take it to Chicago to see my other aunt, who had relocated from Winona to Chicago w/her daughter due to a mental decline; she had Alzheimer’s and this trip would ultimately be my last time seeing her able to remember things. Me, my aunt Milli, my Grandmother Netria and my Uncle Lenny all hoped in the Lumina and set sail for Chicago: a three-hour trip. The trip would ultimately take the longest it’s ever taken me to get to Chicago and back. It was full of laughter, arguments, strange things and most of all, love. I had just started performing at Open Mics at the time and carried my notebook with me everywhere I went. This time was no different and man am I grateful for that decision. A week or so ago, I pulled this book out to troll it and saw a four-page entry from the trip to Chicago. As I read through it, tears shed uncontrollably. I remember this trip so well. I remember US – my family. Not perfect by any means but man, we were a good family. This journal entry is a great reminder of why it’s so important to journal and to write your stories. I remember how many times we got lost and how my uncle and grandmother, two alpha personalities, clashed on everything from directions to the weather. And then just like that, it would all be fine. Memories are not promised to us as my Aunt Anna Lee, who developed full Alzheimers shortly after our trip to Chicago and my Gmom, who also developed Alzheimer’s and passed away last June.

Wishing me happy birthday from my surprise video. I wish I could make the sound work so you could hear her voice.

But even if we don’t remember what is being recounted, the words are there. The stories are there. The energy lives. My grandmother’s birthday is August 16. Depending on when you see this blog, that’s tomorrow. It’s the second birthday without her; she passed just over a month prior to her bday. I can still see her in that bed. Still see her hand. Still see her gone. At no point as I stood frozen in front of her, waiting on the coroner, did it ever seem REAL. It wasn’t until we prayed over her and zipped her up at the foyer of the house i grew up in did I know my grandmother had left the building for the final time. I don’t know that I will ever ‘get over’ her death. Should I have to? As I prepare myself to receive my grandmother’s essence from the spirit realm rather than here on Earth tomorrow, I wanted to share this entry from our July 2004 Chicago trip. She drove the entire time and when I tell you, this entry doesn’t even cover all of it. There was so much but ALL of it was beautiful. I’d be grateful for any piece of it today. To be able to open this book and step back into this day was good but I really wish I could just have it all back. My gmom, who’s with God. My uncle, who can’t hear much and is alone and probably going to die alone and my Aunt, who’s in a nursing home slowly passing with each second. Then there’s Aunt Anna Lee, who passed shortly after our trip. Aunt Jessie, who’s death was the beginning of my family heartbreaks (I wasn’t that close to Anna Lee as she never left Winona). All of what we did together – the laughs, the trips, the existing in love – is gone. Even her dog passed about a month ago. But, thank God for memories. Thank God I still have my mom. She was never our road-trip buddy, but she’s no consolation prize either. We all we got. I hope we see a different part of Earth together, many times over, before it’s all over with. If for no reason other than it was once an inadvertent tradition to get up and go live. At least that’s one of THE ultimate lessons my Gmom imparted on me. Life is for living. Death is where the quiet is. Please enjoy this glimpse into my quirky, funny, loving and crazy, wild family and one of our road trips.

7.14.2004

 

I deem it absolutely necessary to document this trip to Chicago to see my other aunt. First, let me say we left at 10 oclock. The time is now 1:38PM. We have been lost more times than Waldo (where’s Waldo). My grandmother and uncle have traded one wrong direction for another. They’ve had yelling matches and I now feel like there is a sledgehammer continuously hitting me in the head.

HELP ME PLEASE!!!!!

We are finally here. Thank the Lord. There are people on the corner selling regular bottled water, towels, every and anything. N-E-Way, back to the trip here. We got off on the wrong exits, even when we were on the right one. We were in Chicago for about 45 minutes just lost. It’s about 91 degrees and it’s hot as hell. I saw pictures of Yolanda’s wedding (cousin) and she looked beautiful. Now about to go see my other aunt. We are following Lillie Ruth & Nate (cousins). I will conclude this data later. They live on the nice part of Chi. Didn’t know that existed.

*Back*

We are about to leave the nusing home and my aunt looked so pretty. We all had some laughs and overall this has been a rewarding trip. We’re going back to Lillie Ruth’s so I can eat, then we are going home. My aunt thought I was my mom, but it’s ok. I hope she doesn’t get full-blown Alzheimers. But there are definitely signs of it. I hope the trip home is easier than the ride here or should I say once we got here.

*Back on again*

We are attempting to get on the highway to go home and he arguments have all started and the curse words and yelling have begun again. Lord if I make it home with my sanity, I’m good.

*10 mins later *

We are now on the highway and the argumetns have ceased for all of about ten minutes. Then they fired back up; now they’ve stopped again. Everything is quiet and we are in between Gary & Chicago.

*25 mins later *

We’ve managed to take another wrong turn and when you mess up in Chicago, you got to travel the 7 seas to get back right.

HELP ME PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!

*15 mins later *

Okay, we are going back to the highway to try this all over again. We should reach home at this rate by this time tomorrow. I need a blunt and a glass of wine. WE ARE BACKING UP ON THE HIGHWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ok, I’m lost. But I’m not the driver, so it shouldn’t matter. We’ll see what happens.

*15 mins later *

I don’t know if I’ll ever see home again. My grandmother cut her seat heater on by accident, my uncle couldn’t get his back window up. My aunt called him a dummy. I don’t know where the hell we are. Where is Onstar when you need it??? I have a –wait a minute. MY AUNT JUST FARTED IN THE BACK SEAT!!!(***Added 8/15/18 – my grandmother had the window locks on. We had to live through the fart. I remember that, LMMFAO).

As stressful as this trip to and from has been, it’s been absolutely hilarious. N-E-Way – I have a headache this big (H E A D A C H E HELP ME PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).

It’s 8:28. We left Lillie Ruth’s house at 7:00 PM. We’ve been lost the whole time. My uncle keeps spitting something out of his mouthbut the windows are up. WHERE IS IT GOING!!!??? He’s right behind me !!!!!

I hope not in my hair.

OKAY! We’re 140 miles away. My uncle said he got bad hips. My aunt responded and said “Bad LIPS”.

Lord, please take me to Indianapolis safe.

 

*****Aftermath.

I think it was after 10pm when we got back to Indianapolis. This was a great trip. I had a lot of fun and more laughs than the law should allow. My grandmother drove 90 MPH the whole way home, which leads me to believe she was sick of us.

My aunt and uncle brought me home and we stopped at Kroger, which was another comedic experience. Overall, my dysfunctional family is the best, funniest family in the world.

I wouldn’t replace them for nothing.

~kendria

To the Parker/Marlin/Moore/Harris family that loved me like I was the greatest thing that ever happened to them, I LOVE YOU and God knows, I miss you with each passing breath. I miss US.

Old traditions gone forever. Gmom & Mom/Summer days in the van.
One of our last photos. She was smiling. <3
Such a classic photo of a G.
My uncle and my gfather. Alonzo Harris and William/Blood Jones. This is where we all sat always. #ThePatio
My uncle Lenny. My Gmom’s hand. We loved.
Isn’t she lovely??? I just love this pic of my mom!!!!!
Easter in Winona, MS. Only child face.
Mom w/the eye liner on point! My resting bitch face is similar but not as perfected as this!!!
My gfather. Aunt Jessie in the gold shirt. Lillie Ruth (aunt anna lee’s daughter) in black; her kids.
Aunt Millie in Winona on the porch of the house she grew up in.
Uncle Lenny in front of Gmoms house. They were next door neighbors.
Aunt Millie and Uncle Lenny w/the winning Nibby Gal. I miss these stories.
Chewy (left) was my gmom’s dog. She died about three weeks ago. She was such a sweetheart.
Final goodbyes to a real G. This day is so blurry.
Usie. She wanted to know what the hell I was doing.
I owe my aunt so many visits. Nothing changed about that number; it’s still the same. She loves me so much. I’ve hurt her more than I care to admit.
Aunt Jessie. Lafayette Square. I damn near remember this day.

Kendria, 8.15.18

Sips from My Lemonade: Stages: Chasing Cars in Denial

“I can’t believe he’s not here”

“I can’t believe this happened”

“I can’t believe ( insert emotion ) ”

Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars plays on Spotify. The mood crashes. Suddenly she is thrust back into that space she is constantly trying to keep herself away from. It’s her way of protection; not thinking is her way of self-protection. But there are times when she can’t run, can’t hide and can’t pretend she didn’t lose a part of her that she really wanted to keep.

Life has a way of teaching us that what we WANT and what we DON’T need are sometimes the same damn thing.

It’s a hard lesson to swallow. Some lessons we run from and others won’t leave us be until we’ve accepted their truth. Sometimes it’s a line on a television show or a familiar smell or sound and suddenly you’re back among the echoes of yesterday. For her, this time, Chasing Cars is what sent her searching for the Parked Car she once sat shotgun in.

“If I lay here,

if i just lay here

would you lie with me and,

just forget the world”

~Snow Patrol, Chasing Cars

In these four lines, she pauses the sip of her warm apple cider and looks up from her laptop. Her head, in a slight natural turn, focuses her eyes on the outside window. The leaves are turning colors. For the next five minutes of eternity, she is suspended in what once was.

This is what she mentally runs laps to stay away from. The aftermath of yesterday is haunting when she thinks of it, so for the most part, she doesn’t. She ignores it. She heals in what feels like a quick, slow motion of forwarding steps and controlled thoughts. But again, there are those instances where sprinting through her hurt ceases and all she can do is stand there in the outcome of the war of roses. As unbelievable as it still feels to be here, 8 months after the initial fallout, all she can do is deal with it.

What she always finds perplexing is the level of which she believed in all things them. It seems impossible to ever be able to trust another person with such grandeur but in hindsight, it feels overrated. Suddenly, she would rather have wine and so she pours a glass and places it parallel to the cider. Slow sips from both accompany the recollections: the words and the way they pierced her soul like chars of distressed glass. Insults that snatched her eyelids off and made her stare at the tattered reflection that she could see from his eyes. Shame. Guilt. Things she felt years prior to knowing the man who stood in front of her even existed. she had forgiven herself for everything up until this point and now she stood shortened and defeated by those things she was so good at: words.

Words were breaking her into pieces and alienating the right now from yesterday. Words killed her before: years ago, as a young 20 something, it was words that had her ready to swallow a bottle full of pills that were spread on the living room table. Words have always broken her bones. She found herself falling in love with words after learning how to use them to SPEAK. But on that day, in the second quarter of the newest year, she found words turning against her and ripping to shreds the woman she had become. More sips of the wine and less of the cider keep her tears at bay. She wonders if he thinks as deeply as she does or if the replays in his head seem as harsh to him as they do to her.

“I wonder does he wonder how we got here?”

The song keeps playing, now on repeat, with droopy lyrics that pull at her heartstrings.

I need your grace
To remind me
To find my own

~Snow Patrol, Chasing Cars

She’s all the way in now and might as well allow this mental escapade to run its course. She remembers spontaneous selfies, dressed up events and tons of laughter. Lip syncing contests and long drives to discover waterfalls. It felt like she found her partner finally.  They were a beautiful duo that was the picture of what she thought she wanted.

“I knew you were out there”

She left that message to him on a grid-picture she posted one day. In this moment of 20/20 hindsight, she doesn’t foresee ever trusting herself again. Not in this capacity.  She knows she will get over it and it will become her distant past in due time. Reciprocity is a bitch to catch hold of and until him, she had never felt it from anyone. She’s never actually felt loved, until him. Everyone made her feel a myriad of other ways, but love wasn’t it. She felt loved and supported by him. That’s what hurt her deeply – the love she was confident he held for her was not enough to get him to act on. He didn’t trust who she was and she realized it too late into her love. He didn’t trust her to love him authentically and as is. He didn’t trust her with his truth or the truth they shared. He didn’t even trust that she could leave town and not come back with new dick on her breath. When she thinks back on these things, she runs further away from the idea that they ever existed.

It was all a smokescreen. She was never in a healthy relationship like she used to boast about. He never planned to marry her. He had fleeting respect for her and she couldn’t change his perspective about who she was. She thought he saw her at her core – but it ended up feeling like he saw the book cover and not it’s golden contents. But to that notion, she helped with that quite a bit. She wasn’t the greatest woman like she thought. She was abusive and mean. Cold and tired. She was a survivor who was doing her best to love properly but really had no idea how to execute what she felt. As her backward thoughts played on top of Snow Patrol’s third rotation around the speakers, she realized despite the levels of disappointment and anger she still feels, he most likely loved her as best as knew how too.  NEITHER of them was able to love each other the way they NEEDED.

 

Maybe Jilly w/the Stringy Ass Hair can do him better.

As for her, she never wants to date again. People tell her it will be ok and someone is coming and searching for her and blah blah, meme, meme, blah. . .

She subscribes to none of it. Most WANT this to be temporary feeling for her but she never intends on allowing herself to get that close to anyone else. This was the last time she would share her secrets in someone else’s palm only for them to be thrown into her face like acid. She had done this shit before and was not laughing at the choices she made that got her here again.  Her cherished relationship – the one she would have bet her next heartbeat on – was over and so was her friendship. In losing this friend, she distanced herself from everything and everyone else. It crushed a part of her she doesn’t even want back. As the year prepares to change, she hopes to let go of 2017 in full. But I have a feeling, her tears may continue for years to come.

For now, as other people seem to have LOVE well defined and healthy, she sits in silent envy, controlling her thoughts as best as she can. Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars remind her that she is still healing. She may spend the rest of her forever healing. And man is it easy for the tears to surface.

The song draws near to its close. She wipes her face and straightens her back.

It’s time again –

I’ve learned it’s as easy to remember the bad times as it is the good. Both create permanent records in our head of things that happened, good and bad, and we can pull from either direction. It’s sometimes hard to pull from the good when the bad is present and vice versa. Whichever you pull from, memories can’t decide your future for you…or at least they shouldn’t. But for her, they certainly have. 

– It’s time to stop thinking again.

It’s time to control my her thoughts.

And with that, she stops wondering how they got here, and goes back to accepting this unexpected, permanent truth. Denial serves no one; it only prolongs healthy healing. The last of her wine is gone and her cider is now cold.

How befitting.

Those three words
Are said too much
They’re not enough

~Snow Patrol, Chasing Cars

A Filthy Past & A New Fools Gold #FountainPen ItsRainingPens

It amazes me that I am even here.

That I stand on these shaky, broken grounds, once more in life. Having failed at another relationship, here I stand trying to pick up my toys and relocate my toybox. It’s a trying time in my life, to say the least. But it’s ok. I am not here to blog about the breakup. Or even the guy.

I do want to talk about the past tho.

This was not one of the intended blogs to be released during my #ItsRainingPens blog blitz that started on Monday, disappeared yesterday and is returning today. LOL. I’m going to get this blog thing right one day. Yesterday, I was in no mental space to write, edit, post, share – nothing. I had just landed on these unstable grounds and was trying to figure out who stole my luggage and blogging became the least important thing to do. But I’m here now. And I have something I want to know.

How much weight does the past get to hold on to the present?

Often times, on social media, I see posts that range from typed status’ to memes and pictures that swear no one gets to hold your past over your head. People all over seem to agree that no matter how the past has shaped your current standing, it’s still the past. It has no weight and cannot be held against you in the future. ESPECIALLY if you have already paid the cost of your sins, whatever they were.

But do we really mean this?

Yaw know how much I love the following statement: “You can’t make a hoe a housewife”.

Lol.

Yeah. We know you can’t. Thanks Too Short, or whatever rapper dropped that precious nugget through the hip hop wires and taught us that once a woman stakes her claim under a label (that she likely didn’t give herself), she is forever tainted and unpure.

The reason I bring that statement up is because of this: What if she changed? Is she a hoe forever by default?

Will she ever deserve to be a housewife, IF that’s what she wants? Will she ever be able to reinvent herself or grow or blossom into a brand new woman? No? Oh I get it. It’s because her past is hers and it doesn’t erase because she became a new breed. So no matter what she grows into, what she learns about herself or how accomplished she gets in her life, she will forever wear this stigma and subsequent Scarlet A on her forehead as a warning to the “brothers” that this one is only good for fucking. Will any man bold enough to venture onto my blogs dare tell me I’m wrong ? Or right?

Here’s the point I’m  trying to make. If her past is just that, her past, then who are we to hold her to it for the rest of her life? Who are we to make her repay for the crimes she’s committed against herself? What do we know about her – her past, her personal traumas, etc….what made her the way she was? Who did she talk to? Who tried to help? Often times, no one does, so a younger girl could be stuck in this dimly lit spin cycle of knowing what’s right but doing what’s not necessary smiled upon. But when she makes it out of all of that, alive and still holding her crown and her reflection with a prideful smile, in what world do any of us get to learn about her past and tell her that it’s payday time….again? Who are we to call her names years and in some cases, decades after changing her entire scoop of living?

People who judge folks based on their past absolutely make me chuckle inside (after I pilfer through and cast aside my anger). The reason being is because if you have your finger stuck out towards anyone else’s past, it makes me think that your audacity itself is what is holding up your pedestal. Clearly, you have no past. You have no mistakes. Oh, the perfect places you’ll go . . .

 

People don’t judge folks solely for their past sexual activities, that’s just the most easy and most popular. People talk shit about folks for everything they can pick apart. You have to be careful who’s arms you allow your past to lay in. Some folks will use what they know (past/present…it doesn’t matter. Some folks are just shitty humans) against you. They will spite you with information YOU provided them. They will dehumanize you, talk about you to other folks, call you names, leave you, disrespect you and/or mistreat you based on their personal judgement(s) of what all you have done and experienced….sans their presence as a guide to Godly living. You know that’s why folks don’t really like “Church people” right? It’s because of that entitlement to judge others based on what you know, and then having a PIECE OF A SCRIPTURE to back their argument. In other words they take their favorite bible verses that you’ve been hearing since you were 11 and dropping change in the offering basket, and use it as proof as to why they are correct and you there, you’re wrong. But taking three sentences out of a paragraph or one paragraph out of a full Chapter, in any other realm, means you just changed the direction and perspective of what you’re reading. It’s called ‘taking it out of context’. Is this always the case with ‘church folk?’ Nah. But it is quite often….church folks can take any scripture and make it to fit their current argument. One scripture from the middle of the bible somehow encompasses gay people, promiscuity, and whatever other argument they are having at that moment.  I find myself wondering if they are trying to win a case or speak for God or is this an episode from Candid Camera. What does perfection really feel like? #AskingForMyself

People and their nerves. But more on that later…My final blog this week will be about taking bible verses out of context. So I’ll stop there with that thought but my purpose for even saying it is to speak on the judgment inflicted upon the pasts of people whose current life speaks completely different.

Pulling this full circle, yesterday, an argument ensued based on my past. Here it is…my past I mean:

….prior to Januarie but somewhere in the midst of NSAY. It was my 27th birthday and had a boyfriend who lived with his mother. I don’t know the true point of me even saying that other than to say my decision making wasn’t the greatest. For my birthday, a friend I had known from my past life invited me to a place I possessed all the curiosity about: TopSided. Indy’s premier sex club.

 

So yeah, I visited the club. It was different than I expected. Indiana laws had changed. Things were quite conservative there…inside the sex club. O.O

All the happenings of this trip were placed in a private journal, which was infringed upon unnecessarily. There was no reason for my journal to be looked through. Dude is a fucking troll for that. A straight troll. I have never gone through any of his stuff. I have respected his space but mine for some reason, I wasn’t welcomed to that same treatment. It’s not the first time he’s invaded my privacy.  And I’ve given no reason for that to happen. NONE! Nonetheless, it did. As a result, I was tongue lashed in the worst way that ended with the ending of my relationship. But this all came from an intrusive, uninvited visit into my past. An 11-year-old past.

Eleven Years Later, and I am being called to task to answer to my current man for my past transgressions and foolish decisions? And for what it’s worth, I don’t have ANY regrets. It’s not something I would do today. I’m in a completely different space and life, surrounded by completely different people. But it’s something I did when I was still in my 20s learning about myself. But just 24 hours ago, I was referred to as a host of things aside from poet, writer, artsy chick, JY, Kennie, etc…..If I were to list what was spoken to me, it would make me vomit. I’m surprised it didn’t when I was reading it, but mentally, I am so numb to this shit that I can’t formulate any more ideas on what to say or do. I give up. I gave my ALL. And it was not enough.

My current life ended because my past life existed. And from someone who once told me that nothing about me or my past would ever make him stop loving or wanting to be with me. Until yesterday……yesterday, I was a filthy woman who he would never have talked to had he known. I’m a woman with a past so disgusting that she doesn’t share it. #MyPastAintNoMoreDisgustingThanANYONES #YoursIncludedNigga #MyPastIsNoWorseThanYourPresentSituation

The thing that the people who stand on this 100 Ft high pedestals fail to realize in the midst of judging other folks about their past is that often times, your past creates a debt that you eventually pay. It’s one thing if that payment date is JUSt now making it to you. But when you’ve paid your dues, when you’ve done your time – all you want is to live. You’re not trying to live under the umbrella of whatever you did no more than a felon is trying to live under his reputation as he tries to go straight and narrow.

I can’t speak for the world, but for ME, my past has cashed checks that came right out of my ass. I will NOT repay for any of it. I will not allow my past to be used against me currently. I will not let it dictate who I am currently. All it can be used for are teachable moments to people that I think can handle what I share. But it doesn’t define me. It can’t. And what it also can’t do is becomes an active resource of proof to show how I am a failure today. Nah.

NO ONE SHOULD ALLOW THAT.

No one has the fucking right to dig up your ghosts and turn your day into a nightmare from Haddonfield. It’s not ok. It’s not love. It’s childish to snoop in other people’s PRIVATE things btw. But I digress….

“No woman I would ever be with would have a past like yours.”

That hurt.

It hurt because of who said it. It hurt because of why he was saying it. It hurt because it’s not something I could ever see myself saying to him…or anyone else. It hurt because I’ve paid for all of my crimes. I have paid with my life in more ways than I care to name in regards to the past. Most people will never know the many ways of which I have been called to task….but I know I have. He doesn’t know how much life it took out of me to get to who I am today. L I T E R A L L Y!(And i’m really trying to stop using that word).

The losses.

The failures.

The missteps.

The molestation.

The ho’ing around (sucking and fucking everyone is what I believe he said).

The abortions.

The loss of self respect.

The anger and hurt.

The suicidal thoughts and considerations.

The wishes and prayers for death to find me without me doing it.

The repeated BV problems.

and my grand favorite, The Infertility.

Belle GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I’ve paid with my life for the life I’ve lived. I fought hard for the me that is here today. HARD. My ex seems to think that I was sucking and fucking everyone and loved to do it so much but don’t want it now. He has no idea about me…..and it’s been 2 years. I guess I should have stepped in and told him just how much fucking fucked up my life, my self-respect, my body, my future…..I should have told him from the gate that sex tried to ruin my life and I had to fight back to get to JY status. But, we’ll color that my mistake.

 

At what point does the past no longer have an outstanding debt on your future?

Idk.

but what I know for sure, is he’s the last person to ever get an opportunity to do this to me again. All that disrespect I received (and he truly believes it’s deserved) reminded me of something: My Past.

And not me going to Top Sided for my birthday.

It reminded me of #MuseRandy. You may remember him if you go that far back with this blog. Randy tore me down every opportunity he got. He made me feel so small and diminutive. Dismissive. Like trash. He made me feel like I should kill myself. I wonder if he suggested it once like I remember? Maybe I made that up. He got in my head and stayed there. I couldn’t get out of his thoughts about me. I believed what he said about me. I wanted to die because I believed it. But I made it beyond that. But I didn’t make it this far to have any of those reminders come from the person I wanted to spend forever with. Nah. Funny how this temper tantrum about my past came to be and he swears he doesn’t know anything about me (or know me at all…his words), but your actions triggered my past in the most gut-wrenching way. WORD HURT ME AND I DON”T CARE HOW THAT MAKES YOU FEEL!!!!! **YOU is an interchangeable word and not reserved for my ex. Idc how mad you get, you don’t get to just fly off the lips with words. You don’t. Not with me. You don’t get to say things to me and then attempt to make me feel bad for being sensitive to the blows that words can give. Yesterday, I stood in front of the man that used to stare so beautifully at me and felt those things. Small. Diminutive. Disposable. Not good enough. Crazy even, but that’s another subject.

Man that’s not us.  If he read this, he would say ‘you’re playing victim I see”. LOL. Nah. I’m playing real life. Just not airing his shit out. I don’t mind airing my own tho. I don’t want to judge other folks based on shit they no longer do or engage in. I don’t want to hold them to the standards of who they used to be as currency. I want to make sure I am cognizant that while people’s pasts most definitely shape who they are as a person, they don’t MAKE the person. And also, I stress this: we never know what all a person has endured to get to the better version of themselves they are today. We don’t know what prices they paid for the whatevers from their past.

And so who THE FUCK are we to think we have the right to stand high like God’s fist,

and redefine them in the present????

***Now Playing: Intruder, Lupe Fiasco

 

~j

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 69 – The (re)Tired Red Cape, Part V of V.

You know why this is Chapter 69? Nothing to do with sex. Everything to do with no matter how you slice it or what way you turn it, the results are the same.

I NEVER intended on being Superwoman.

black-wonder-woman-e1426461792686

Never.

But once I decided to adult, I was immediately outfitted for my red flowing cape that would hang off my back no matter what outfit I put on. When I wear a dress, there is a long, flowing cape behind me. When I wear a suit, the cape is blowing in the wind and sometimes wrapping around my pants legs near the thighs. In sweats, my cape looks like it doesn’t belong but it’s still there riding my back like a cliché phrase about monkeys. And when I am naked, there she is: my cape. My big ass red cape, hanging from neck as if it were sewn into my skin.

Am I to never depart from this role of superwoman?

What’s funny about this title, is there are countless songs dedicated to the independence of women, particularly black women. For some reason, black women have to make their independence known to the world but the dosage must be in small teaspoons at a time. We wouldn’t want to emasculate the men or intimidate other women. We also wouldn’t want Jill with the Stringy Hair to feel like we were coming for her space right? So when we go to the club dancing to I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T, and songs that fit that culture of music, we must make sure we only spell it out once so as not to offend others. Lol. Superwoman – the title that nearly every black woman has but no one really wants.

Folks think we want to be superwoman and that is simply not the truth. We were not built to maintain life and all of its ups, downs and mediums, all the stress and trauma, the good and the great, alone. I don’t believe that. I believe it’s possible to never spend your life with someone else. I believe it’s possible to try love and decide for yourself that you are better without it and that’s ok. But I also believe that we were made to have a partner. The fact that pickings are slim and partners, true PARTNERS, are few and far in between has made more women Superwoman than ever intended to be. We have to be responsible for EVERYTHING. EVERY DAMN THING. We are not just head of household, we are the head nigga in charge and for those that don’t like that term, sorry. That’s the way the saying goes . .  .

“**yelling at maximum lung capacity*

I’M TIRED OF BEING SUPERWOMAN DAMMIT!!!!!!!!!!!

We are the preacher, the teacher, the mother, the daughter and sister, the wife or girlfriend and for some, the side chick (you may not like a woman’s choices but  that doesn’t mean she isn’t out her making other Super fucking decisions). We are the  bread winners, the cooks, the maids, the stress relief, the emotional beings, the love leaders and the dream catchers. In addition to all of this, we must be responsible for goals, dreams, spirituality, teachings, education, orgasms, and manage any mental health issues or problems we may face, all while spending up to a week per month bleeding and trying not to be pissed off about it.
WoooMFinSah.”

Nothing stops when we have kids. It doesn’t stop when our cycles have us bent over the toilet trying to vomit up our mistakes of the last 3 weeks. Nothing ends because we have a bad day or are struggling through another bout of depression. Nothing stops for us – we must keep going.

I know, I know, all of this is true for men and women, white and black.

Welp, I’M TALMBOUT BLACK WOMEN TODAY!!!

While I do believe that women of all races are tasked with holding the world up on their shoulders, it’s no secret that black women are expected to hold the world while flying through the air without dropping a single thing, all while looking good for our flip floppy ass men. If you are a white woman reading this and find yourself offended by the idea that your privilege prevents you from being spoken for in this particular blog, then I advise you not to return here because there is more where this comes from and I can’t tell you when I will vent my black life opinions and experiences and won’t hold them back for sugary words and friendly comments. Besides, if we were being absolute 100 about it, what it means to be a white superwoman is a completely different definition than the black woman’s experience as such, AND someone is always looking to cape for a white woman whether it be white men, BLACK MEN, society, the community, etc….. A white woman’s superwoman cape is always at the dry cleaners and she never takes it there herself. A black woman’s cape is always attached to her MFing back.

We are the ones that seem to be continuously pushed to the bottom of the totem pole no matter how hard or fast we climb. Our men turn their backs on us at the drop of a white tear, jobs act like they don’t see our qualifications despite our continuing advancement up the education meters and journalists try to refute any good information released about us at every opportunity to click-clack their typing fingers.

I had another blog that I started writing on this topic but decided to start over from scratch after a viral FB thread that I scrolled upon. By now, you may have seen it and might even know some of the women commenting. I don’t at the present time know the origin of the thread or what brought about the tearfully white comment but a precious and privileged white woman left this in a black women’s comment section: “I wish I could have been born a black woman because you all are so strong”, or some derivative of bullshit like such. The post has gone viral because of the eternal dragging that she received, but the comment and the subsequent responses got me thinking about the title of superwoman and our addictive disdain of such.

Superwoman Can’t Die…

…Because if she does, the rest of everything that has been dependent on us for survival will fold and not many of us will chance that. Either we have to be taking care of the kids or going to work or working on our schoolwork or cooking and cleaning or tending to our men or finding out they are cheating and caring for our own feelings or caring for ailing family or marching on the frontlines or pushing our not-for-profit or having contractions while signing paperwork for keys to new buildings after burying close family members and remembering to feel beautiful inside and out. Much like a run-on sentence, there are no breaks and or breaths. We push through and plow unbroken grounds in search of ourselves all while trying to maintain our professional and personal lives. Sure, as I said earlier, this is nothing no one else hasn’t experienced. No, you don’t need to be a black woman to go through this. But as a black woman, I guarantee the Superwoman title is exacerbated by a thousand knots. Let’s use that FB comment I saw for example, which you can find here. One of the commenters shared some screenshots from a black man that inboxed her separately asking if “all white women were considered ugly” and how “in his opinion, most of them look better than black woman, who look like dogs” or some other type of animal he referred to us as.

Wait –

Bish what????

We can’t even stop to take our fucking worn down heels off before we have to stand back up, cape blazing as usual, ready to defend ourselves and our sisters because some flagrant ass nigga thought it necessary to socially degrade us as a whole while casually forgetting that his blanket statement would also include his mother and any other black woman in his life. But I don’t know, some black dudes act like they were pushed out of Jill With the Stringy Hair’s snatch. FoH.

And for that, we must be on at all times. We must always be in charge of who we are. If we don’t command and demand our respect and for that of our sisters, we will be disrespected at all costs. You don’t get the title of Superwoman because you get up and go to work every day. You get it because YOU are work…every day. It takes work to go beyond every barrier set in place to be the ending factor. Superwoman has to be dedicated to herself in an unforgiving way that opens up the valley for her ascent. But she’s hardly ever traveling alone. There is always family, friends and lovers in tow. . .

We are grinding for everyone at once to a point that we don’t know if we are putting ourselves first or last anymore. At the same time of our Super Grind, we are watching our sisters be killed by the police at a rapid rate. We are holding names like Sandra Bland and Korryn Gaines close enough to our hearts that we can feel their final breaths. We stand in the front of the protest lines with signs and grief and strength unfounded because we refuse to sit quietly while our men are hunted, our children are unprotected and our women and girls become easy targets for police assaults and murders. It’s a weight that sits on our hearts relentlessly and even when our emotional hope is drained, we still stand in resilience and solidarity with each other. This is why I say this isn’t about white inclusion. Sorry, not sorry. White women will never know what it’s like to hold the house up, keep self together and watch our families be ripped apart or worse, to be on the burying side of a racist system that supports the hunting and killing of black people. This is a daily occurrence. There are instances that happened last week that we may never hear about and those women, those black superwomen, will experience their losses and grief alone. They won’t have the nation marching and begging for rights that should be a no-brainer for every human. Even when our home lives are in an uproar, we still find time in our stress to care about someone else and see to their needs. 

Superwoman can’t die. She can’t pass away quietly in her sleep or take a vacation indefinitely and leave her calendar book at home. Superwoman must always be on. If not, who will? If we don’t get it done, who will? Who’s going to take the overflowing trash out the door without us having to be a reminder or do it ourselves? Who gets the furniture moved and the rooms changed for a fresh feeling in the house? Who will fearlessly climb up a southern flag pole, snatching down the offensive confederate flag all while knowing the repercussions of doing so will be grand? Black women, in particular, have this Superwoman thing down to a science. When we do ask for help, we have about five to ten minutes maximum as a grace period to allow for it to start to get done. After that time is up, we toss our cape in the wind and fly to solve the shit ourselves.  Recently I saw this meme:

Recently I saw this meme: black-womenIf this isn’t a perfect description of superwoman, I don’t know what is. I almost want it tattooed on my arm but I never wanted the title of superwoman to begin with.

The Title We Never Signed

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Photo Credit: Roberto Nencini

Superwoman is a misleading title that none of us signed up for. I didn’t grow up with my head in comics and I was never a fan of Superman or any of the other Marvel heroes. The closest I got to that type of stuff was enjoying the Thundercats theme song but even still, I never watched the show. On the flip side, I never expected to get married, birth two kids and live in a suburban household with the perfect Ken-doll looking husband. I didn’t grow up with adult expectations and no one ever really tried to implant anything on my psyche. I just grew to know that one day, I would be able to do whatever  I wanted to do with my life and I was looking forward to it (adulting per a teenage mind, smh). I did a mad dash out of the house at 19 and never looked back. But in hindsight, I’m certain I wasn’t looking forward either or else I may have noticed the big ass red cape standing in the way of the door that I would have to put on in order to exit.

I came flying through these Indianapolis streets, cape blazing, weave blowing with crooked smile on my face in attempts to save the world from itself. I offered up every saving grace I could muster from a couch for flagrants to sleep on to my credit for niggas to fuck up. At one point, I had two apartments in my name, neither of which was home to me anymore. Saving people is what I grew accustomed to doing until I counted more losses as a result than wins. But my never-ending flight through the sky was far from over.

My sister has been a single mom for 20 years. She worked her way up working customer service for a pizza company to earning her MBA and becoming a senior analyst at her company. In addition to that, she’s a professional accountant, an Uber driver, computer savvy to the highest degrees and has done all of this while raising a daughter alone. My mother is an only child, much like the daughter she birthed. She has been a caretaker since I was a junior in high school. One after another, a sick family member would make their way into our lives and deem my mom responsible for their well-being until their death. She has been fixing meals, running errands, going to doctors appointments, talking to hospitals, doctors, insurance companies, washing, cleaning, bathing and caring for as many as six people consecutively over the past 21 years. Let that marinate: TWENTY ONE YEARS. She did all this while going through her own health crisis including but not limited to breast cancer that, at times, left her hospitalized on several occasions. All of this took place while she was raising a daughter. As I wrote about in a previous blog, my aunt has struggled with depression for as long as I could remember. Her depression was intense and she would spend days in the bed sleeping or melancholy in spirit. Although she was a married post office retiree, she was expected to hold the house down. She paid the mortgage, the bills and since my uncle couldn’t read, she took care of anything that came in the mail and all things in between. My uncle, although a very great uncle to me, was not a great man to my aunt and definitely not the head of household. Still, he treated the home as if it were his and like she was a squatter. It’s not a lifestyle I could condone for myself but my aunt handled her business, through her depression and a relationship that was detrimental on herself. She may have seemed weak to other folks but as an adult woman, I can see how thick her cape actually was. #CapeStrong. My grandmother was the second oldest of five living children. I’m not sure where her amazing strength of life originated from, as she seems to be the only one of her siblings with the tenacity and the resilience that she possessed. She was blessed to love and be loved several times in her life. I know of three men, one she was married to and two who were long-term mates, who had her heart but not her mind. Each of these men passed away and while I was not around to meet my grandfather and see my G-Mom’s strong will, I can only imagine it based on what I have seen: she never grieves. Not the way most of us do. When the last love of her life, the man I refer to as my grandfather, passed away somewhat suddenly (no disease…he fell and hit his head), my grandmother never let anyone see her cry. No tears were shed at the funeral and just like all the other friends and family I bid farewell to alongside her, she was stoic in her demeanor and always found a reason to flawlessly smile. I’ve written in blogs about the day I was leaving my house a few years back and saw her outside crying. Her tears were so huge I could have stepped inside of them. I will never forget it because I had never seen it. I saw her try to wipe them in enough time for me not to notice, but I did. I often find myself thinking of that day and wondering what caused her tears. Was that day a culmination of life??? …a climactic moment of weakened shoulders hoisting a tired red cape?? She has Alzheimers now and truth be told, I don’t know how she could not have it. How could one store as many emotions away as she did and be the matriarch to her family AND her friends and it eventually not wear her thin in some way? I think being superwoman stole my grandmother from us. 14054582_1059928167431556_446721301327248467_o

No one signs up for this invisible role of impossibilities. We aren’t numb, non-humans who fly across the sky without catching a breath. We aren’t superhumans and we aren’t God, although each of us has the presence (IMO) of God within. To be super is to be excellent. Glorius. Splendid. Marvelous. These are all synonyms associated with the word itself and I don’t deny that they fit every black woman I’ve ever met. But it’s hardly a round-the-clock situation. I belong to a group called The Healing Circle, where women post their prayer needs, vent, uplift, cheer up each other and more. It’s a safe, sacred space on FB (can you believe it) where women have gotten to know each other simply through trying to empower each other throughout the day. I see first hand through this group that every day isn’t a great day. Some days are mental game changers and others seem like finales. There are moments where we have nothing but questions and feel undesirable to even ourselves. Our gears get tired, our immune systems get weakened and we struggle sometimes through bouts of depression, anxiety, and panic. Superwoman, by comic definition, would never experience these things and therefore she would always be able to fly with ease. There is no trouble that scares her backward and there is no past that she just can’t get over.

But in the real world, our past effects our current decisions, our hearts are bruised and at times broken for extended periods of time and we are in and out of confidence depending on who we are and where we are in life. Times get hard and we aren’t detached from how it makes us feel. Things need to be done and we aren’t in the position NOT to do them. #FuckItIWillDoIt. We are in the process of forgiving, understanding and moving on, on a daily basis. Four out of four women are trying to forgive someone right now for some type of transgression. I made up that statistic and I highly doubt I’m wrong.

We don’t want this fucking cape yo!!!!!

We don’t. We have earned our crowns but these capes are overrated…yet so necessary. If not us, then who? After so long of caping for thyself, it becomes hard to let go of the ropes. Trusting another person to take of things the way you know you would can be such a stressor that it’s just more simple to BE superwoman at all times.

We don’t want to do everything ourselves. I have proven it to myself, my family and the world that I can handle life. I can make a way out of no way. I can sleep without electricity until I get paid, I can humble myself and talk to Citizens Action Program to help me with winter assistance. I can swipe my food stamp card at the grocery proudly. I can weather the stressful storm of unemployment and I rock THE FUCK out of interviews. I can work for Goodwill and Target for minimum wage during my maximum 30s. I can swindle, scam, scheme and finagle my way wherever I NEED to be. I can and I will maintain my household at all costs. There is no question about that. Now I want some help. At nearly 38 years old, after having been on my own for nearly 20 years, I officially want to retire this ugly ass red fabric that is weighing my back down and I want someone to help. I want some contribution to these bills. I want to be able to buy myself something without taking from something else. I thank God that I no longer need to ask and give my uterus up in order for the government to give me assistance, but even if that weren’t the case, I don’t want to do all the talking. I need someone else to call the plumber and the mechanic. I want some help washing dishes because sometimes I let them pile up too much.

I have two dogs and when it’s vet time, I need help dammit ! I want to not have to pay for my own entry, drinks, and parking; I want to be treated like a Queen by my man. I want my friends to give friendship that is truly unconditional and in return I seek to provide the same. I want them to reach out to me when I’m struggling and can’t do so for myself. I want to let them know that I am thinking of them when they think they are all alone. And everything that I want for myself, I want for every woman who is battling this superwoman role. It feels good to accomplish stuff that people think you can’t, but after so many accomplishments, sometimes, you want to kick back and relax.  There is an ever growing list of expectations associated with bearing this title of super. You become EXPECTED to take care of things and to have it all together. Sometimes tho, you fucking don’t want to ! You want to stop being the caretaker for the day and stop feeling like you can’t grieve your losses. You want the bills out of your name. You want help raising your child. You want a loving ride home from the hospital and you want get well soon flowers hand delivered. This isn’t about having a man. This is about not doing every damn thing ourselves, all the fucking time. That help can come in many forms…companionship is merely one.

Even superwoman needs a day off.

But if history has taught me anything, it is that our role as Superwoman is immortal.

Eternal.

It is forever.

Superwoman can’t die.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t often want to retire our tired, red capes and just be women. 

 

~j

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shall we?

Depression is not an Adjective:

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

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

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

Anxious for the Panic Room

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

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

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

This one is pretty well detailed in the symptoms.

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

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

Fuck It, I’m On One

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click this link for their information.  

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

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

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

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

Blogtrack:

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

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

 

 

WOMAN’ing: Chapter 37, Pt I – When Seasons Change.

“I’m kicking bitches out like Pam nigga/Go ham nigga/Me and Jigga.”

Recently, Kanye West took to the stage at his Seattle concert and began to air out the relationship between him and JayZ. Not only did he rant and release to the crowd of thousands of people about his issues with Tidal (or because of Tidal or…whatever Kanye found beef with), but he also spoke with a bit of vulnerability on how Jay called him in regards to Kim K’s robbery instead of just coming over. When the  tirade was over, there was no denying who he was talking about or the fact that at the very least, he was standing on hurt feelings and Ye Tears. He also shared how much he hates to hear/perform Niggas in Paris, their breakthrough hit from the Watch the Throne album, because it reminds of him of ….idk. It reminds of Kanye of something. I’m not sure about everyone else, but when I finished listening to the video, I was a bit disappointed. Not only was this a bad choice of places to air grievances and dirty laundry, but the fact that it was so unnecessarily public and mid-concert (temper tantrum-ish even), almost guarantees no possibility of getting the friendship back to the Big Brother stage it used to sit upon.  While Jay has yet to make an official comment in retort, I find it highly unlikely that he will do so like this. Perhaps on a guest verse, we’ll get a smoke signal acknowledging this happened. In fact, the irony of Ye being mad at Jay for not coming by but rather calling to check on him is laid thick by the smoke and lights of the arena he (Kanye) choose to address these topics in. In fact, if I were being honest, I would say that I think Jay has been trying to distance himself from Kanye since before he married Kim. I don’t know if Kim was a factor but I believe that Jay-Z has wanted to distance himself from the flashing lights Kanye keeps in his vocal chords. Sometimes when he opens his mouth, all I see is strobe lights blinding and confusing me and I suspect Jay, with all his privacy and low-key moves, was over it. Sometimes you don’t want to pull people to the side and say something. For whatever reason, you’re just too tired and as a result, distance is created. I think as much as he loves Ye, and I believe he does (this is all strictly opinion based btw), I believe he wanted to love him from afar, and as a result, his actions, efforts, and conversations began to reflect such.

Sometimes you have to let go of people who no longer serve to make you feel joyful, empowered, inspired, better, good, great, beautiful, love, etc. . . . And once your mind locks in on this notion, your actions will soon begin to follow so if you don’t end the useless friendship (useless if it’s not bringing positivity…no sugar for today’s tea), you can rest assure that your subconscious will affect your behavior. And with that said, I would like to welcome you to Chapter 30 of my #WOMAN’ing series. Today’s special is friendships and letting go. Because fuck complicity with people and really, fuck explanations too!

We all know that seasons change and that some people come into your life, you fall in love with them, and then without warning sometimes, they have to leave because the season is over. This might occur due to a fallout or bad argument between the two of you or because of life itself: death, moving, new relationships that put distance between your friendship. The reasons why a friendship has come to an end are plentiful. Even like Ye & Jayz, sometimes it was already a simmering fire that just needed a pinch more of gas. But the trial of ending friendships and letting go of someone you once held so dear to your heart, whether in life and especially in death, can be one of the hardest things you will be tasked with in your womanhood. I’m not saying this doesn’t happen to men. Kanye is proof that it does, but being that I am a woman, I am speaking from my experiences so I hope I don’t come as if women are the keepers of friendly attachments.

I said no sugar right? Ok well let’s go.

There are two very basic parts of friendships:

  1. The type of friend you are
  2. The types of friends you have

I assure you, if you are not aware of these two things (meaning CONSCIOUSLY aware), you are bound to be surrounded by a plethora of differing energies that will also affect YOUR energy, thus leaving you open to changing into the type of person you otherwise wouldn’t enjoy. They say you are the company you keep right? Birds of a feather . . . This is real. Women’s periods are known to sync up the more they are around each other. I know this for a fact. So you need to know who’s around you because they are affecting you. Does a feather feel it’s fall?

Probably not. It’s too soft. In other words, sometimes you will be impacted by the company you keep and not know it until it’s too late. So you better know who got around you…and you damn sure better know who YOU are! I have a line in a poem that goes:

“I’m the strong type of woman that knows that everybody I meet, really ain’t my friend.”

I am always surprised by how much this line gets to people.  As a performing poet, you tend to know what lines and stanzas will get audience feedback and this particular line came as a surprise to me in regards to reactions. Every time I perform it and speak that part, I see women move in their seats, high-fiving, oohing, shouting, etc .. . I’ve even done it at schools and received the same exact reaction from girls in middle to high school. Apparently knowing that everyone isn’t your friend is heralded as important and me declaring that about myself in a moment of poetic honesty, gives women and girls a reminder or maybe confirmation they needed, or just a boost of good advice. But trust me; I haven’t always been that type of woman. Lol. I’ve never been shy about struggling to make friends growing up and being bullied or fucked with a lot, but what it did to me was intimidated me from all people. I was picked on by boys and girls, so I grew to be immediately intimated by everyone when I would first meet them. I was so overwhelmed with going to cosmetology school in high school because I expected to be in a room full of girls that would not like me. It turned out to be a room full of girls that were cool AF.  It helped change my outlook a bit, but even as an adult, I still felt fearful of new people. When I started making ‘friends’, I did think everyone had my back. I thought I could share everything with everyone and perhaps part of that was having spent so much time alone (aside from my sister til the end, Lydia and my girl Candace who rode w/me from 7th grade on) that finally being able to have folks I thought I could trust meant I could be free. Well here’s the lesson from this paragraph: You cannot be free in a friendship until you know what type of friend you have and what type of friend you are.

I’ve had my private business shared. I’ve been talked about and of course it got back to me. I have had a ‘best friend’ slip all four of her lips on my man. I haven’t seen her since I found out but I happened upon his Facebook page and couldn’t help but notice her precious profile picture next to a comment. Some things and some people never change. But learning who you are and who you are surrounding yourself with (notice I didn’t say notice who you are surrounded by) are the keys to the Mercedes-Benz in the parking lot with your name on it. At no point in my 20s did I know who I was or who was around me. I stayed surrounded with people. When I was dancing, I had smoke parties and cookouts and hung with people who pulled knives on me, fucked other women while I was in the living room, stole from me and otherwise didn’t regard my life or my life’s possessions with respect. But on the flip side of that, I talked about folks, gossiped and even slept with an old friend’s ex without blinking. Looking back, I can’t believe that was me but for the memory that I know it really happened. In short, I wasn’t a good friend and therefore, my energy did not allow me for me to have good ones. I got what I put out and it was all mediocre at best. Friending takes practice; it takes listening and learning how to act outside of your own thoughts and desires. Befriending someone doesn’t mean you put them before you; it simply means you add them to the list of people I should consult before making a decision XYZ. It means you take into account how they feel and even if you want to go against what they feel, you don’t because you value them and their emotions. This is why people say the word FRIEND has so much meaning. It absolutely does!! There is love and effort put into that word so it is an honor to be and to be called such, but consciousness is necessary. #StayWoke #OrWakeUp

“My Enemies Yo’ Enemies .  .  .”

Friendshipping isn’t for the faint at heart and I believe that’s why so many people do a sloppy ass job of it. Folks will pretend to be your friend for life while casually using the knife in their hand to give you deathly kisses. Some people will actually THINK they are doing a good job at being your friend and they aren’t but what I have learned is they won’t know (ever) until you SAY SOMETHING! Some folks will simply not care about how you feel and do whatever, whenever with no regard to how you might receive it. Some people are extremely selfish. Sometimes, YOU are that ‘some people.’ And if you are not carefully checking yourself, you won’t even know that you are being that person to someone else.

I know I have failed friendships over the course of my life.  I admit that and find myself in a continuous cycle of questioning whether or not I’m accurately portraying the type of friend I think I am. And honestly, sometimes I’m not.  Don’t get that wrong – I’m not insecure in my befriending; I’m just always checking. And even at checking myself, if someone doesn’t directly tell me their grievances with the type of friend I am, everything is a guess from my perspective. But I can say I’ve friended many a people who had no problem writing me letters, sending me inboxes, emails, face to face and phone conversations that discussed where my failures were and what was expected of me in the future. Lol. It can be hard to receive criticism but if we’re being honest, it’s so necessary.That’s how you become better or become the person you are striving to become – by someone else calling you out on your shit so you can correct it (if they are correct…which is not guaranteed). Again, otherwise, you will continue to be who and how you are and not realize why your turnover rate is so high.156531-jocelyn-wildenstein

There’s no blueprint on being a friend and this blog is not me trying to tell anyone HOW to do so. This is me Woman’ing. I’ve been doing learning more about what type of friend I am and what type of friends I have [had].  After Queen passed, I was forced to deal with the type of friend I had been to her in a way that crushed me. I didn’t feel worthy of new friends or even the old friends I had. I had stopped talking to her, and it must have seen abrupt in her eyes, but to me, I had just had enough of her trying to fix some stuff that was broken. So I put lots of distance between us. And in that distance, I wasted four months of the last six months of her life that I can never get back.  Even though we started back talking and had started to hang out again, I stood in front of her casket and couldn’t figure out if she knew how much she truly meant to me. It hurt me to put that distance between us. But I let my ego win that race. The SISTERLY response would have been to talk to her as opposed to the distance. Shutting down is a flaw I own up to. Instead of speaking what I feel, I just shut down and drift away slowly. When in a friendship that means something to you, there is no ego. There is conversation, compromise and understanding . . . but there isn’t and cannot be EGO.

Ego will make you sacrifice everything for nothing. Don’t wait until it’s too damn late to figure out who you are to your people and vice versa. Check yourself as necessary. Be honest with yourself – Are you mistreating the ones you love in any way? Are you pushing your friends away or do you act as if their love and friendship is not necessary? Do you know what level of importance friendship is to you? Not everyone desires friendships. I’ve been around several people who have adamantly stated that friendships are overrated and unnecessary stress.

Well…..to each their own. I tend to believe that sister-circles are sooo necessary, especially for black women. We need other women and other like-minds to decompress with, laugh and interact with.  We need circles of love and trust that we can count on, depend on and pray with/for. We need sister perspectives that differ from ours and help empower us and grow us as individuals. Friendship (imo) is NECESSARY. We cannot hold the title of superwoman and the weight of the world plus the stresses of day to day living and mothering (where applicable) and NOT have someone or (preferably) at least a few people to exhale alongside. My friendships are very necessary and needed. I cherish them because I realize these are people who make a conscious CHOICE to be my friend, as do I to them. I have no option but to step back sometimes and ask myself, am I being the friend to them that I need them to be to me? If there is room for upgrading self and thus our friendship, then it’s a job I surely signed up for when I decided I wanted friends. You have to check who you are being to other people because it will shed quite a bright light on why people are who they are to you.  You have to love others enough to ask yourself the tough questions. To apologize when necessary and sit your reflection on the shelf for a second while tending to the friend in need.  YOU HAVE TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE TYPE OF PERSON YOU ARE TO OTHER PEOPLE!!!!!

Because although that won’t be the only determining factor, it will definitely show you what you deserve.  After all, you can’t expect the best from others if all you are willing to give them is the rest of whatever is left of you.  It’s not about 50/50; it’s more like the Legend of Billie Jean: “Fair is Fair.”

Know who you are.

And know how you treat people.

“You Ain’t Neva Had a Friend Like Me”

A noun is a person, place or thing. You will find a noun in every complete sentence, as every sentence needs a noun to be legit. Otherwise who or wtf are you talmbout???  Proper nouns are nouns that sit on pedestals with their pinky fingers pointed up and a plate of French crumpets in the other hand. Proper nouns always have their first initial(s) capitalized no matter where they are in the sentence; they demand to be noticed and respected.  Our circles often need grammar checks. We need to run through them with a fine tooth comb for updates of information, fragments, run-ons and to make sure our nouns are placed properly and that our proper nouns are draping in respect.  Over the course of my woman’ing, I’ve had several different women that I referred to as my best friend.  I’ve never sat down and noticed the similarities of these women or even their differences, but I can say that I only have one person in my life that I would call my best friend and to me, calling her that is an insult. We’ve surpassed friendship so it feels like I’m dumbing her down when I call her my best friend. Best friend has a twang on it to me. A curse even. Any time I have attached to that title to someone, something happened and seasons changed.

I remember being introduced as someone’s best friend once years ago and thinking to myself “ok so you just introduced them to what type of friend I am to you, but what type of friend are you to me?” I wasn’t even looking at it with a negative light, I simply paid more attention to words that night than average. I went heavy on the meanings of things and realized when you introduce someone as your best friend, you are not saying that you are theirs; simply that they are yours. In other words, this person does a great job, in fact, the best possible job, at being my friend. But again, it speaks nothing about what you are to that person. I’ve been wondering about the best friend title and friendshipping ever since then. Do some friendships really need to be proper nouns? Are you/am I capitalizing  the wrong people, places, and things? Shit, am I proper to someone else and that’s the extent of it? Or are they proper to ME …and that’s it? Am I just over here collecting and getting advantages but giving nothing (or little) in return –  Sorta like a beneficiary??? Lol.dsc_0135

What type of friends do you have is not a question that is meant to box everyone in under one label. I have several different types of friends.  Some who are computer techies, some artsy, some outspoken, some shy and introverted. I have friends that hit above the line only and friends that live below it. I have atheists and Christians, Muslims and Excommunicated friends on my roster. So it’s not about having the same type of person around you. It’s more about being aware of the type(s) of people you are around. You allow these folks into your space as well as your mental and emotional health so the truth is; you better fucking know what you are around!!!

I learned that it would take other friendships to teach me about friendship and what I wanted, deserved and needed. It took other people doing the things I thought I deserved, naturally, to show me when I was tripping vs. when I wasn’t. That won’t be the case for everyone I’m sure, but for me, it certainly was. Once I found a melting pot of friendships, I was able to swim around and see what everyone offered in common vs what was different about each. When it came to the negative traits, I was able to see what was a personality glitch vs what was a result of something (i.e. conflict in friendship, something I said, etc.…). I was able to prune as necessary and say goodbye to ended seasons after that. It’s not about comparing friendships; it’s more about noticing what needs are being taken care of where and why? Whenever you get through with it, you have the right to evaluate the folks in your life and decide or say ‘you are not loving me in the way I need” and move on or try to fix it. If all you need is your friend to call and check in you once a week, and they never do, but you meet someone else who does it without you ever expressing the need, it might show you a different perspective. You might think ‘ok I need to tell this person how necessary it is that they call’ or you might think ‘ok this need is covered so I’m good on it” or you might think “I’m ready to let go of you not meeting my needs.” I mean, it really is an individual experience a with all things. I’m simply saying, check your circle and make sure it satisfies you.

Checking your friendships is necessary. I know that as I have aged, my needs have changed as I have. So what was ok at 15 was not ok at 21. And what I accepted at 21 is not what I would condone at 32 and so forth. I had a good friend I used to work with. I have done things for her and she has done things for me, outside of work. We weren’t best friends, but we were what I would consider friends. She attended some of my shows even. But she’s voting for Trump. And that means she’s NOT my friend. Unfortunate but in checking who I love and who I let love me, that type of energy that is detrimental to me. So I am letting her go from my life. I’ve had other friends that were much closer that I have distanced myself from completely. It’s not a knock to someone else that you all’s season is over. It is a reality check. I’ve had people dismiss me from their lives. Shit.fucking.happens. Truth is, there are some lonely days ahead when you let go of [a] friend(s). The phone stops ringing and you stop texting.  The visits end and there will be days when you are tempted to reach out and see if that person wants to hang out or go eat or simply talk on the phone. Ending friendships means accepting that someone who got you in certain ways is no longer applicable in your life or you have to introduce parts of yourself to new people and you don’t know if they will even ‘get you’ like others. But it’s a sacrifice for the greater good of your well-being (both of you). If you don’t like how they are or who they have become (I’m looking at you Kanye) or if they are just fucking not doing it for you anymore, it’s ok to want to love them from a distance. If you want to talk about your issues with them, it’s ok to do that. But this social media driven age of public all-access passes to your dirty laundry is not the way. Do not make a concert of your issues. Make a phone call. Neither Kanye or Jayz seem wrong from my perspective in what they feel (using this term loosely because who knows what Jayz feels), but Ye’s approach would be the casket drop for many folks. Kicking people off the tower of your excellence is ok and acceptable and let me tell it, not requiring an explanation. But don’t wait until you have an audience to decide to prune your friendship gardens. Sometimes goodbyes are unspoken and no love is lost but life moves on.

No matter what your friendly decisions are, know that it’s ok to decide what’s necessary for your growth. But you can’t do that if you don’t know you or the people closely attached to you. Get in the know…stay there. And do frequent safety checks. Don’t wait for soundcheck to decide to speak your heart.

And don’t ask them to drop you off if it’s time for you to move on.

Hitchhike instead.

Blogtrack (it’s back!):

“I’m down for you so ride with me/my enemies your enemies/cuase you ain’t never had a friend like me/nobody knows where we’ll be/my enemeies your enemies/cause you ain’t never had a friend like me.”

~Pac, Friend Like Me

~J

Finding AlbuquerQUEEN

FORTHEBLOG

“The joy of learning how to stop asking Mr. Wrong for the right treatment.”
~januarie

Us women learn the hard way sometimes. It’s probably more of a human thing than a woman thing, but I’m speaking solely from a woman’s perspective. The above quote was a fbersation that took place based off of a meme similar to the one in the picture. There can be so many contributing factors as to why we (women and teenage girls; and sometimes prepubescent girls) accept and love the men that we choose: missing fathers, present but emotionally absent fathers, distant or unavailable mothers, environment and peer pressure. The hows and whats of our behavior is an endless list and often a list that doesn’t get confronted until we are well in age. But we are tested, at times on knowledge we don’t rightfully possess, throughout the majority of our lives. For some of us, learning the hard way means repeated visits at the same closed off door until one gets tired of not receiving that hello from the other side.

I’m calling this ‘missing the turn at Albuquerque’. My buddy BB will illustrate how many times I’ve missed my mark:

Rihanna’s “We Fell In Love” song comes to mind. It used to be my ringtone while I was with someone. He hated it. The irony. I’ve decided to break this blog down in a few steps of self-confrontation that have helped me learn where I was missing my turn on my journey of love and why.

Step One: Missing the Turn:I’ve been on this journey of love since I was a young teenager. I started early because I yearned early. I wanted to connect with masculinity in some way although I never quite understood why. I thought I could do it sexually and that basically messed up my teen years. There were rumors about me in the neighborhood. Some true, lots not. People picked fights with me, harassed me, bullied me, stole from me; it got so bad that I had to switch schools. I hated walking in the neighborhood sometimes. Scratch that…most times. I don’t say any of this for sympathy. I’m outlining how early and hard this mission began and was. I’ve been in several ‘long term’ish’ situationships and potential relationships, as shown by this blog. I’ve tried love as much as my heart could handle. I set sail on the road to find the place my heart belonged to and it has driven me every since. Carelessly I have gone top down, hair blowing, pushing pedal to the meddle around mountains.
….As I imagine this drive, I can see rocks and boulders falling in my way. I forgot to keep count on how many I actually dodged, how many times I stopped for repairs and how many times I was smashed underneath piles of hard Earth. But failure after love failure couldn’t stop me; I’ve drug my bruised muse of a body to the car, hopped in and moved towards the Sun again and again. This has been a relentless journey I’ve so wanted to abandon many times over …..

I cringe at how hard I’ve yearned for it.

…And how many left turns at Albuquerque I’ve missed. I can see it as vividly as Bugs Bunny up there. Me, popping out the ground with my suitcases of heart and heels talmbout “I’ve arrived”. Only to find out I’ve landed on some misfit’s doorstep that don’t know shit about reciprocity and is only good for adding to my luggage.

Every relationship, every “Parked Car” space that I occupied for longer than my season was the hopeful romantic in me trying to hold onto the strong belief that someone was out there for ME. What I didn’t realize is I was exhausted. This entire journey through the abyss of my heart has been exhausting since the first step I took during my teen years. I’ve entered adult relationships as an exhausted child, hopeful that the person I’m with is the person I will die next to. I’ve been seemingly a passenger in the car on this quest.

Watching my blood father take care of so many other kids but not me left a stain on my mirror that Windex and newspaper couldn’t get clean. Not being able to emotionally connect to my stepfather gave me a feeling of inadequacy. Knowing I had a brother yet not being able to maintain a lasting bonded relationship with him opened a 3rd gap to be filled and all this happened before high school. There were holes all over my body. There were needs untouched and unspoken for; and a teenage brain that thought she figured it out. I was in counseling at age 12 and I opened up a lot but I don’t think it helped. I was 12. I wasn’t having sex yet so it didn’t address the worse situations. And it didn’t fill those gaps. My choices as a teen didn’t fill those gaps. As a matter a fact, both widened the gaps. I started to feel ugly and only good for sex. I wasn’t the girl people asked out. I was the one who’s ass they looked at and who they tried to sleep with. And sometimes, just being honest, it worked…in their favor.

On my end, my thirsty behavior breached the chambers of my heart and left voids that needed to be covered in dirt. I needed something a seed could grow in. I needed growth that I didn’t know I was even without. And unfortunately, no one was telling me to do anything different.

By the time I was an ‘adult’ my exhaustion levels had peaked. If it could have killed me to be run down and worn out from chasing love, I would surely be dead. I was at the very least, mentally dead and I needed every relationship I got into to be ‘it’. But of course they weren’t. I was in a relationship for seven years with a guy that I knew within the second year would not be my husband. There were echos in the space where my brain should have been. My relationship prior to that (#MuseRaggedyAndy) was a dual-physically abusive gauntlet of drugs, sex and danger. At the end of our relationship, I was tired enough to have let him kill me. And that’s how I knew it was time to go. I hadn’t stopped fighting; but I had stopped fighting for my life. Every one of them (3) was a man that I just really needed to be the one. To kill the search and let me catch my breath…finally.

After the inspiration of this blog settled in, I started to think that maybe I missed my mark with #MuseSlevin….let that sink in yo.

I started to think- I -Januarie York- The same woman who wrote and countless times professed “I am too much woman to be loved in a measuring cup”. I, SHE, started to think I lost out by not giving #MuseSlevin the chances he begged me for. He got married. And I started to mourn with curiosity. “Was it really him?” A man who couldn’t love me properly at 21? I started wondering at 34 if I missed out on something. Lol. L OH to the emm effin L. I started questioning if I missed out on a downgrade??? I mean, I’m sure he’s great for his wife, but he was never for me. Maybe my self esteem hopped out the car and hit that left turn like the Kwan or something. In hindsight it’s a frightening epiphany to say the least. I was a repeat offender of looking for the wrong man to give me the right love. How Sway????

These are missed turns. That whole situation there is a missed turn gone wild. This is like driving a roundabout and not knowing how to make that left turn without crashing, so you just take the next street and hope that you end up where you’re supposed to be….only to get there and realize you should have made that left turn at Albuquerque. Some times, the places we end up are places we overstay our welcome at. Maybe we’re too hopeful. Maybe we’re stupid as some would say. Maybe we’re just tired…and wanting to make this one somehow turn the dial and be better than anything in Albuquerque. It’s as dangerous as drinking and driving. But the most dangerous part is this: Not knowing that a big part of this missed turn is the person looking into the rearview mirror.

Ever feel like you’re trying to turn left on a Rights Only street? Sheesh, that line needs to start a blog about being Black in America, but for now, I will digress it back to this blog. That gif has been my love life for YEARS.

Step 2: Crown Fumblin’: Someone should always tell us we are royalty. From the time we arrive onto this place called Earth, there should be someone, somewhere constantly telling us and reminding us in both words AND action that we are of Royalty. Because if not, it can be real easy to think you are a peasant that is deserving of peasant pooridge and bread crumbs. And that’s exactly what you will accept. I didn’t know that I had low self esteem AT ALL! Women wear so many masks on a daily basis that it can get hard to even think you are lacking in reconizing your worth and magic. Think of how often we get our faces beat and go out. And who we are at work. Who we are (or try to be) for family. The rock for our friends. Its simple to buy into your own hype and not realize you don’t even really believe it. YOu don’t believe you are or can be a rock. You don’t see the beauty beneath that beat face and fresh hair. And that was me.

Off stage, when it was just me at home, I didn’t really see my beautiful anymore. I questioned my value or my worth of having the type of love I felt like I deserved. These feelz started when I was a teen. I think it started with watching my father take such excellent care of other children. It always made me question my worth. We act as we believe. I had to reconfigure myself again. My self esteem has gone up and down like body weight. But this last time had to be my last. I’m too old not to sustain the notion that I too am black girl magic gone free. I survived the wrath of 2014. This blog will forever be proof, just in it’s evolution. Shining all over 2015 was a must do. And by shining, I mean shining up mirror. Taking a good look at who I am. No wing tips half right, no filled brows. No poems. No man. No hurt. I had to rebuild. I had to love me all over again, reinvented. Every day you see me or read a post from me is me in this constant evolution of myself. I’ve learned life will sit you still if you won’t voluntarily do it.Maybe it’s not so much us missing that left turn as much as it is us not being ABLE to take it. We can’t advance to Albuquerque without knowing the Queen within ourselves. Until we awaken her, until we know her, respect her, love her, shout her out, indulge in all of her….we can’t make that turn. At all.

Final Step: Conquering AlbuquerQUEEN: The air here is lovely. The wind is calm, the presence of tropical fish swimming in oceans that are presented crystal clear for Queen eyes is a lifetime lullaby. The fruit is plentiful. The men are buffcakes. The food is cooked to order and served piping hot. There are no reality shows. LOL. Ok I quit…seriously, the air here is lovely. Finding AlbuquerQUEEN is the greatest gift you’ll ever give yourself. I believe I was always seeking a love for myself, given by myself. This whole time and through each fumble of a relationship and seemingly missed turn, I was searching for something within me that I thought had to come from somewhere else. I mean, the feelings of inadequacy were gifts from others. I was inadvertantly raised to dislike myself. To see something wrong with me. I wasn’t loud enough or tough or enough. I wasn’t kid-enough or pretty enough. There weren’t enough streets in me. No one ever actually said these things…this is what my mind filtered the rejection of my father and stepfather as. This entire journey until now has been me finding the true Queen in me. Hell, the GODdess. I had to tend to my own dysfunctions and still am. Sometimes, it’s not fun at all.

But once I started pruning…and I mean really purging the leftover demons and self pity parties and ‘i’m not pretty enoughs’ from my system, I couldn’t stop. I started having less moments where I felt ugly and more where I felt beautiful, no matter if I was beat or not. Which was new. Sometimes, I look in the mirror and expect to see someone not that attractive staring back and I surprise myself by being pleasantly shoulder dusting by the time I walk away. The aura emitted from me is free. Talk about setting the caged bird free…..and THAT is how I learned to stop asking Mr. Wrong for the right treatment. I first gave it to myself. I REALLY gave it to myself. I treated myself to myself and indulged so much that someone took notice of the glitter party and said ‘heyyyyy, can I join?’ And that someone was the first one to EVER meet me and want to indulge in me as much as I have myself. But this isn’t about him or this new love.

My point of this whole blog is to say this: We as women ask Mr. Wrong for the right stuff all the time. We beg Mr. Wrong time and time again to make that left turn at Albuquerque for us. We think that we ‘turn’ Mr. Wrong into Mr. Good Enough. Or that we can turn ourselves astray from the ‘right treatment’. I recently read a comment that said ‘falling in love is a choice.’ That’s something I didn’t believe until recently. But you know what? It IS a choice. We meet, we like, we fall. But in between the like and the fall, we have intuitions. We CHOOSE to listen or not and anything that follows is a direct result of that choice. We cannot adhere to our natural instincts if we haven’t fallen in love with the woman who bears them. If I don’t love myself, why TF would I trust my gut? What is my gut but a place where food goes to be enternal? You have to love yourself beyond what you THINK is loving yourself. That means if you believe your self esteem is good or at least fair and you still find yourself in relationships that are require you to be a lesser version of yourself, then it’s time to up the ante. It’s time to revisit your love for yourself. It’s time to go stand in that mirror and really take in all that you see. Let go of everything you think you are and rebuild yourself on the spot. There is something missing that you need to confront, so do it. Truthfully, it might take the rest of your life. But what better way to spend your days than building yourself UP? And don’t stop until you see your reflection wink back at you.

Control your journey. Realize that you are NOT in the passenger seat ma’am so steer this thing already!!!!! Make that left turn and change how you love and who loves you back….

Find AlbuquerQUEEN.
It’s the first left after you finish loving yourself.
Change what you receive forever by how you perceive what you see in the mirror.

#AlbuquerQUEEN

“…Not Found Clinging to the Surface of Teaspoons, Pt II of II

I want you so bad
I’ll go back on the things I believe
There I just said it
I’m scared you’ll forget about me”
~Edge of Desire, John Mayer

I’ve blogged to this song but today is less a somber blog and more of a declaration. I hope this blog reaches my readers right in the thick of your hand held mirrors. I hope this reminds you. Remembers you. Speaks to and for you. I hope this is the blog that you read and say to yourself ‘you know what…she’s fucking right!!!”

Last week’s comeback blog was all about a particular line from “Being MaryJane’’, what that line means to me and what changes have occurred in my life since the last time I blogged. I had so much more to say than what I did so I decided to make this a two part blog and so here I am w/part deux!

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“You deserve more than just an I Love You”

Words spoken from the lips of Mary Jane’s brother as and MJ had a back and forth about love and all its trials and situations. Of course, that line jolted me from where I stood. How could it not? That is the thing we ALL need to hear as women. Unless we were taught what to look for in a mate and how to recognize the wrong ones, we all need to hear it. Hell, even if we have been given the necessary tools for relationshipping with another, we still need to hear those words or some derivative of them: YOU DESERVE MORE THAN JUST AN I LOVE YOU.

When I think of this John Mayer song, and how true it fit into my life from the moment I first heard it until somewhere in 2014 as #MuseWeasel was falling off of me, I realize this song, particularly the quoted lyrics, are exactly what is at the other end of the statement Mary Jane’s brother spoke. When all you chase is the I LOVE YOU, not the action, you end up with these John Mayer songs as your way of thinking. “I want you so bad, I’ll go back on the things I believe” – because isn’t that what we do? Don’t we say ‘yeah he cheated but I believe him when he says he wants to do right by me?’ Don’t we give more and more chances when the lines that were crossed were unthinkable? Ever seen a woman take a man back who had a side/break baby? Or stay with someone who is abusive (all forms of abuse)? What about a man who ain’t holding his weight around the house or relationship? What about people we KNOW for a fact (because they have provided us w/all the facts we need) are WRONG for us but we still find ourselves falling helplessly and lovingly in their arms, wearing acceptance as our crown and stifling our true beliefs about who/what our significant other should be? This is all a chase of an I Love You. Then once you yourself are in love, regardless of how that I love you has begun to sound, to save self from hurt, sometimes, you stay put. You stay put and cradle your love and a bushel of hope in your arms pretending like it can salvage what’s really beneath the mask.
We’ve all done it. We’ve all chosen from the half-off-free (yes, I mean that as in half off free, which is less than free) bin of love in hopes that just for a moment we could be at peace and share that peace with someone who has helped us get there. But if a person is wrong for you, no matter how scared you are that they will forget you (as I have been many times) or how many personal desires you can stifle, they will still and forever be wrong for you. Nothing you do can change that unless your choice is to alter yourself – needs & wants – all together.

I was so scared ….make that terrified that I would be forgotten by the original muse of this blog that all I could do was flood his inbox after the fact with questions, comments, going from zero to 100 niggarealquick, just to get a response from him. When he didn’t respond, I got even more terrified. When he did respond, I felt some awkward and uncomfortable ease; like I wasn’t forgotten when the truth is, the moment he started a relationship with another woman, I was certified forgotten. It took forever to let it go; to get over being forgotten when I tried so hard to be memorable. In a life of people who walk up to me and remember poems I did back in the early 2000s, here I was faced w/someone who didn’t remember that I was a real person and/or that I loved him right then. I was stuck in a spin cycle of my own creating for the whole year. I could have saved myself by simply adhering to words that I wouldn’t actually be exposed to until nearly two years later: “You deserve more than a I love you”.

So what if he forgets you?

I remember the excitement I thought of at the mere hope that he would trade those words out with me.

I wanted to expose my ears to his voice giving me what I thought I needed. He never did. When he finally mentioned love and me in the same sentence, it was after the fact and he assured me that our love was not created equal. But how could they be? I was acting in love with the hope that I would hear love in return. I didn’t seek the action. If I had of sought the action of love, I would have left him alone before we got to the levees breaking because his actions were never grounded in respect for me. He could have never acted in love or given me the love I needed. ALL he could do was TELL me ‘I love you’. I would have to do the rest. I would have to be the Queen and the King.

I don’t know if, had I heard this statement during, before or even right after him (or any of them), that it would have resonated the way it did when I heard it two weeks ago. Idk if the new man in my life who has yet to show me any reason to NOT believe in him has anything to do with it being an easy to understand concept. But what I know is that it’s not limited to just me or the fictional Mary Jane. It’s one of the truest statements I’ve ever heard regarding love and so here’s what I want you to know:

You (the reader), deserve more than an I love you. I love you sounds pretty. It can be ear orgasmic and beautiful for the mind (on the surface at least) but a shallow I love you that is not grounded with action-based love, respect of love languages or eagerness to learn and grow together is just three words. That’s it. It won’t go beyond that. The other person can say it until they are blue in the face and if there is no true soul-binding love being shared, all you will ever feel is what it’s like to be cut all over by letters that gathered together to form a lie. This blog is just words until I act like I wrote it. I can write a blog a week for the next year and it can be full of prolific entries and ideas, but if those entries and ideas don’t make it past the blog shares and into the day to day actions of my life, then I will forever be writing this blog, making the same mistakes and LISTENING for an I Love You.

That’s the other thing I’ve learned: ‘I love you’ is heard. Someone loving you or you loving someone is felt.

To feel is an action just like to hear is an action, but you can hear without feeling. You (the reader) deserve to feel. You deserve to see the love held for you. Fuck your ears. What if one of the senses was removed??? Love transcends ALL senses, so when you can’t hear, you can feel. When you can’t see, you can feel. When you can’t taste it, you can touch it.

You can’t smell love; but you CAN smell bullshit. So if you’re smelling something that you think is love, what you are actually experiencing is probably a bed of roses. Thorny flowers covered in shit to help them grow. #LetThatSinkIn and then save yourself before you sink.

You deserve more than a nigga gassing up your emotions and leaving ALL the rest of you to drown in what you wish were true. You deserve more than questions, especially those unanswered. You deserve more than a metaphoric collision of ears and hope. More than symbolism in word form, more than like or as, more than a poetic number somersaulting off of his lips in believable fashion –
…more than a mouth fashion statement.

More than a subject and a predicate with no recognizable verb, more than “a lie covered in handsomely hidden tracks”, more than what he thinks will make you get them legs in the air. More than a number dialed by accident. …
….more than bullshit.

You deserve more than bullshit.

You deserve more than the WORDS I Love You, hanging loosely on lip threads that die away after a carmex application. You deserve more than the words I Love You that are followed by actions of Who Are You?

You deserve an i love you in the front of the church pew, science class or even the baseball diamond. You deserve ringed fingers (if that’s your thing) or at the very least a trustworthy agreement between each other. You deserve monogamy. Folks say it’s not normal but what’s not normal is bed hopping in a time where folks don’t like condoms, AIDS is running rampant and break babies and side pieces are trendy. You deserve to FEEL what is spoken to you. You deserve to hold hands. Have embraces where you literally feel love exchanging bodies and forms and diving in and out of you both. You deserve to make love: not JUST sexually, but in general. The two of you should be MAKING LOVE at every stop and go in your life. Make it beautiful. Make it simple. Make it strong. Make it guided, grounded and understandable. Make love last. Make love eternal. Make love immortal. Make love together.

Make up – nothing. Only live in the truth and the truth is an I Love You spoken is just as whored out as the biggest Pimp’s bottom bitch. Stop accepting i love you’s from the halls of fools gold mines, tucked behind broke-heart mountains. We gotta take back our hearts. We gotta take back our NEED for love. Love should never make you feel bad about yourself or your decisions, so if that’s how you feel with him, then his ‘I love you’ isn’t capable of being true.

We have to remember that we ARE love, therefore, anyone giving us a lesser version of ourselves is already striking out.

Nina Simone said it best: “We have to learn to leave the table when love is no longer being served”. You deserve not to be served food on trashcan lids, or worse, eating air on porcelin plates.

You deserve I love you in the form of action. Those three words should only be a verbal reminder of the constant energy being served.

You deserve MORE-
– way more-
than JUST an I Love You for your ear.

You deserve to BE LOVED, so righteously, that your soul FEELS it forever.

You deserve “love not found clinging to the surfaces of teaspoons ”