Pt III. Melrose Place: Luna Melrose

Melrose.

She was born out of necessity. It wasn’t a formal affair or a planned event; Melrose came into this world as means of escape. She was created to be the voice. The ‘no’, the fight back and the fearless Melrose would be the reason Luna didn’t have to be quiet.

Luna, the youngest of three girls and her sisters were both nearly 10 years older than she. In many ways, she felt alone. When she was learning her way around this life thing, they were on their way out of the house. When she was coming of age and going through puberty, they were partying in college and enjoying their newfound freedom. Her at home life resembled that of an only child filled with self-entertainment, artistic creation, and music.

Her parents were divorced and shared custody, although Luna spent as much time as she could at her dad’s house. This wasn’t because she was the proverbial ‘daddy’s girl.’ In fact, it was the polar opposite; Luna and her father didn’t get along well at all. They started butting heads early when she was about 8 years old. At the time her older sisters were 17 and 18, both graduating high school at the same time, with high honors. Lennox, their father, literally doted on her elder daughters. His pride could be felt as easy as placing your hand on his chest. Lennox Gold, also known in the area as “Spin” for his unique ability to spin like MJ with gym shoes on, loved his girls Lannete and LeAundra. Luna, on the other hand, was a toss-up day-to-day.

She would later come to the belief that his palpable disdain for her existed because she did; simply put. Luna came into the world nine years after what her parents expected to be their last child. They not only wanted two kids but they could afford two kids. When Luna popped up all needy and hungry, she was welcomed by her mother, but her father saw her as a leech of all things from love to money. “Because of you, I had to work an extra job” was a phrase he often bellowed toward her during heated disagreements.

But as life would have it, the very love Lennox kept shrouded in secrecy for Luna was the love she so desperately wanted and actively sought. Her mother and father separated just before her 6th birthday and by the time she had turned seven, they were divorced and splitting holidays, birthdays and weeks up on a family scheduled that hung on both sides of the double door refrigerator at her mother’s house. Her mom, Sydney Square-Gold, didn’t want anyone to have an excuse to say they didn’t know. Whether you were getting cold milk or hard ice cream, you will know where you are to be”, her mother would say.

Both of her sisters left for school that fall, so this schedule only pertained to Luna. As often as she could get her mother to agree with, she would be with her father. Luna and her mother had an exquisite relationship and she loved her mother dearly. She never questioned her mother’s love or wondered if she needed to be doing something or become someone else to earn her affection. Those sentiments pertained only to her father, and because of that, she didn’t feel like she needed to be at home with Ms. Gold anymore but rather, at her father’s house, becoming.

And every time was the same. She would arrive with her bags to a clean room as she always left her small bedroom tidy and start working on cleaning her Lennox’s house and preparing dinner. It may seem like a lot for an 8-year-old, but Luna didn’t have time to think about her age. She was focused on love.

She spent years attempting to morph herself into her own version of her sisters in hopes that it would sway his attention. Her father worked late at an automotive plant and in her mind, him walking in the door to a fresh house and hot food was a way to earn her stripes. There were days when it seemed to work but most times, he would barely acknowledge she was there or had done anything special. She never stopped trying. Even in her teenage years, Luna wanted her father’s love.

Her father, however, wanted Luna.

He was annoyed that he had her.

He was angry that he couldn’t have her.

He also recognized her willingness to do anything for him, so when Luna was 15, he decided to give her something to do.

 

And that’s how Melrose came to be.

 

Dead Man Can’t Email.

Incoming Email from Anonymous Acct:

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

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

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

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

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

 

~j

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why I Chose Visibility

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

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

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

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

M30 w/the Silencer

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

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

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

But I digress.

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

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

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

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

 

Shot by Jo.Seph McCoy

 

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

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

Two of my favorite quotes are here:

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

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

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

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

Shot by Abdul/JusFam Photography

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

 

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

Speak sis.

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

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

~j

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

Savannah Syndrome Definition & Symptoms:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

But about C.Winona…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Staging the Scene:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Him: What do you want then?”

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

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

Monday Mourning:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But that’s not the point of this blog.

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

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

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

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

Wow my boobs are flat.

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

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

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

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

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

So for now,

I’M GOOD, nigga, enjoy.

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

PS: God Won Again!!!! #AlwaysDoes

Falling in Love w/Fly Weights

“I looked good on his arm

As if I were candy paint decorating his suit jacket

Cherry red on suicide doors

My sepia arm dripping in jewels like daytime glitter.

Alternating from faux to French diamonds,

Because every girl needs costume and real jewels.

Accessorizing his east side accent like English language blanketing German subtitles,

the paparazzi loved the way we made an entry,

Arms criss crossing melanins.

We looked fly together

But I was interlocking elbows with an anchor that could halt the Titanic….”

~nomaD, J.York, October 2018

To know me is to know how much I love pictures. I come from a picture taking family. My grandmother owned all the cameras and never fell short of snapping her favorite polaroid to capture photos of the moment. It’s been almost a year since she passed and the one thing I’ve wanted to do was go to her house and look at her old picture books. I know if I do, all those people will come alive in her dining room for me one more time.

Gmom looking through polaroids while Gdad was kinda over it.

Pictures are my thing and it’s no secret that I had hoop dreams of learning photography and specializing in black and white shots. I have several clouds saving pictures for me, including Google and Amazon, as well as a site called Smugmug that I found years ago. My photos automatically upload to these clouds so there is never a shot or video that gets deleted w/o the ability to be recovered from somewhere. As of recently, the newest social trend is to give us a glimpse back in the past. It started out on Facebook but now Google and Prime (as well as others I’m sure) have made it where you can check out the photos you took from “on this day”, circa whatever year. Every day for the past few months, I log onto Prime and do something I’ve never been good at doing: deleting pictures. I delete every and any trace of photos that have my ex in them, no matter how fly the picture looks. On Google, you can do a face recognition, so I did that and removed him completely from my Google cloud. Prime requires me to do this every time they prompt me with a flashback. And I oblige it, daily. Matter a fact, let me check now.

 

I do this daily. I remove all evidence of him from my life and from inadvertently “popping TF up” when I least expect it. I know I can’t possibly scrub my IG and FB page clean without some help, but the least I can do is get those fauxtoshoots off my clouds. All my clouds are too high up to be holding onto this many pictures of Polyester Peter. But you know why there are so many pictures (there are HUNDREDS)? Because we looked so good together. I mean, we looked F L Y !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On our worst days, we could snap a picture that would make my eyes flutter hard enough to kick the 808s in my heart. He was always game to snap as many pictures as I wanted him to. I thought he was just as eager and excited to see us frozen in beauty the way we would be. It wasn’t for ‘likes’ or for public consumption although I made the mistake of sharing our flyness with the world (something that will NEVER happen again. My weddings guests will have to read braille to know what’s happening).

I just loved him. I love pictures. We were fly. It was a triple lutz win worthy of an audience!

But that’s all we ended up being: fly LOOKING.

We were anything but mid-flight.

Yep. We were a crash that looked pretty during the fall. The reality was I was holding hands with a gorgeous weight. For all the times I stared intentionally into his eyes, I fail to understand how I couldn’t see the lies I was being told or the fact that he was an anchor on my hand. A body of bricks. Concrete love, and I was lost in his jungle putting on makeup and pretty dresses.

Venice Beach Plane Failure – during a long period of silence between the two of us. I didn’t know he took this.

Which brings me to the point (finally) of this blog.

It is all too possible to fall in love with a fly ass weight. What does this mean? It means the person (male or female) that you have entered into a relationship with has all your love but no wings, no feathers and no ability to help you fly. No matter how hard you pull them in the direction of up, they will always bring you down. It might not necessarily be on purpose at the onslaught, but there comes a point in the relationship where I believe they make a choice to love you ill and pull you towards ashes and dust. I happen to believe if we are “returned” to Earth after our demise, six feet back into the ground, then our lives are not meant to be lived there; we are supposed to be on the up and up until they lower our caskets or spread our ashes. But there are times when we meet and fall in love with people who can only offer us first base. As the relationship progresses, you start to see the ship isn’t moving and every time you cut the anchor free, another hindrance finds itself in the way of your partnership motion. Congratulations, this is falling in love with a fly weight. 

That weight might dress well, have beautiful eyes that beckon your staring and their skin might appear to be made of golden sunrays but that doesn’t mean their arm doesn’t require a forklift or that their love isn’t the foundation for being grounded. No matter how much they support your grind (which is usually just above the surface) or how often they call themselves “your biggest fan”, they will begin to treat you in ways that don’t reflect what you expect (or what their mouth says). Soon enough, you will become disgruntled and sorrowful when you look around you and see your flight has been halted. Realizing letting go might gift you your travel back will undoubtedly be a painful recognition.

Let go anyway.

Flies vomit when they land btw. .. on whatever they’ve landed on.

The question becomes why is this person a ‘weight’ instead of a wing? Well, there is often one simple answer (although depending on the situation, there may be several more): Jealousy.

The wrong person will see your natural flyness (including but not limited to the way you look, the personality you own, how you carry yourself, how you handle life, how you chase down and achieve your goals and where you are in life) as a hindrance to their personal greatness and the relationship overall. I’m not sure why it is, but some people don’t notice when a person is trying to BUILD WITH them instead of against them. I’m sure it’s associated with whatever baggage they have in tow. But their blindness can keep you out the sky indefinitely while interlocking arms with them and snapping selfies for the gram. Your IG feed can easily become your relationship’s only means of protein.

Jealousy is dangerous, ugly and unloving and it camouflages itself as support, love, and light. But in reality: welcome to the darkroom. It will either kill you or stop your train. Muthafuckas will take from you when they are jealous of you and in a relationship with you. Money itself is too simple. If they know you as a hustler, they will see money as replaceable; they can’t take JUST that (although they will take that too). They take/want your soul. That’s where the satisfaction comes from. Your spirit. Your confidence. Your pride. They take one feather at a time from your wings until they’ve grounded you in a position where they can start trying to mold you into who they now believe you should be to or for them. Their greatness is defined by how weak you are for them. If they can put you in a position to compromise what YOU think, want, know, deserve and push back against, they feel empowered. If they, in their insecurities and fears, shortcomings and missteps, can put an ounce of mental control on us, to tame us, to mend us towards fixing their shit and not working on our own, to pull us down from their words, their ill-fated love, and poor decisions, then they have empowered themselves even more. The more power they collect, the bigger they grow and better control they have over something (usually these people have little control on anything else in their life).

We, the women of great internal power and audacious love, LOOK good on their arms. We look fly. It tells the world what they can pull and keep. It shows people something.

“Look who (s)he walked in with!!”

“How did (S)HE get HER?”

This is ego-lower self food, and it does more speaking on their behalf than they are willing to do for themselves. That’s why they accuse you of caring so much about what other people think. It’s not because you do and they know this. It’s projection baby!! When I tried getting back w/my ex in the late summer of 2017, I hosted a party shortly afterward with my friends. He got mad that he wasn’t invited and accused me of caring about how my guests would look at me if they knew he was back around. Let’s be 100 tho: I couldn’t give a fuck what anyone thought about who I choose to love and why. It was never that. It was all about what I thought about it and I wasn’t ready. But that grassroots attempt at a mindfuck almost worked. THEY care what other people think. Don’t fall for the projection!  Their (wo)manhood has plenty of stock invested in the “fly look” of the two of you that is based on your flyness PRE-their ass.

Here we are: these daring, brilliant, talented women with exquisite beauty that we don’t even rely on. Women who know ourselves.  Women who care for our loved ones. The villagers. Women who uphold honor, love, and respect and demand all of it. Women who build the table and pull out our own chairs. Women who aren’t content with chasing dreams; we massacre goals and create new ones to tackle.

To have US on their arm shows the world they are fly.

Then WE look fly in pictures.

No one can see our secret: that our arms are attached to weights.

And no wing can fly above an anchor. The only means is cancellation or cutting the ropes. It may be one of these most painful retractions of your life. You will ask questions that won’t generate responses that kiss it, kiss it better. Your trust may be broken as well as your heart and your mental state might be challenged for a period of days or weeks (and for some, months). You’ll indeed feel HEAVY as fuck !!!!!!!!!!!

Photo by ANKH Productions

As if you weigh 3 tons and can’t be bothered to pull your weight throughout an entire day (or you may instantly feel great, unbothered and ready for a do-over with a better candidate). But trust me when I say releasing the hand/arm that you are holding, snapping pictures with and looking good next to (also known as a WEIGHT) will open the sky up for you. The sidewalk will become a liftoff. You need not run. Just keep walking.

I assure you, as God and myself is my witness, you will be flying before you know it. While there might not be a hand to hold onto during your ascent, don’t trip. Fuck em and feed em’ concrete! FLY sis. Evict any negative energy from that person (pictures off cloud, phone, old gifts, left items, etc) and move UP with your life.

Fly until you fly into someone already up there, looking for you….we gotta learn that stopping to catch your breath doesn’t mean to pick up worm unless you’re eating it.

Don’t accept less,

Don’t be sorry,

Photo by ANKH Productions

and never settle for being grounded after you’ve left your mom’s house.

~J

 

***Dedicated to my sisterfriend that inspired this conversation recently. I hope you know who you are <3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hey Baby What U Cut With: A Good Thing?

….Then there was that one time that I was standing in a trio of associates and friendships having general conversation and enjoying an ending moment when the sole male of us three noticed a woman drawing close on our triangle. As she eased in on us, he began introducing all three of us to each other; this was his girlfriend. To my surprise, she didn’t stick around and make a quadrant. Instead, she opted to recognize her man, speak to us and walk away with a smile and a book or two (we were in a library). As the two of us girls began childishly teasing our male associate about having a girlfriend and falling in love, someone mentioned marriage (as a joke). He quickly shot down our leap of love faith but confidently said: “but she’s wifey material though.” We all smiled and our proverbial ‘awwws’ before ending the night with goodbyes and hugs.

Nothing wrong with that right?

Right!

But something he said struck me one day while I was driving down the street letting my mind wander.

“She’s wifey material.”

Wifey material.

Wife-y.

Material.

You know what I’m about to ask right?

What is wifey material exactly? What does it mean to be or possess personality traits that make you wifey material? What type of material are wives made of?

Before I go any further, let me state matter-a-factly that this blog is in NO WAY about the male associate or his observation of the woman in his life. I don’t have a problem with the phrase; I’m just wanting to unpack it a little. So this is not a knock on him – he just was the conduit for this blog.

So about these wives and their specialty material . . .

Are they silk? Able to be pressed? Do they need to be washed on delicate? How about Cashmere? Is there such thing as a mink wife? Chinchilla wife? Linen perhaps? Linen definitely sounds like wifey material. The way I see it, rayon, cotton, polyester, and burlap don’t really sound like they would be firmly marching down the aisle of love. Those would be the non-wifey materials, saved for the throwaway girlfriends, the accidental teachers (who show the men how to love which usually goes to a different woman), the baby mommas and the hoes. . . ?

Hey, don’t shoot me here. I’m not labeling; I’m reaching …for understanding. What exactly is wifey material? And let’s not try to convince me it’s goofy stuff such as cooking and cleaning and sex on a regular basis. I’m talking about the subconscious stuff, the shit that can make or break a person – the REAL relationship glue. I remember something my ex said to me while we are arguing the day we broke up.

“No woman I would marry would ever have a past as filthy as yours”

Ouch, my nigga.

Damn my G. That hurt

…annnnd it was also kinda funny because no man I would want to marry would have a present like his (at that time), and I risked my love on a hope anyway. But I digress. . .

Still, it made me wonder, especially in conjunction with the phrase wife-material, does your past affect the type of fabric you’re wrapped in? Does time, youth, ignorance nor time elapsed not make a difference? Do you OWE your other half a rundown of the life you had prior to him (as was reported to me by my now ex), and if so, does that imply that your past shouldn’t be something you wouldn’t be eager to share? Or does your past, much like bad credit, affect your ability to be seen as a qualified wife?

When a man finds a wife, he finds a good thing. Proverbs 18:22

One of America and especially black people’s favorite Bible verses to quote. I am not here to dispute this piece of scripture. In fact, I completely agree with it and at least have some understanding of it. Personally, I love the fact that finding a wife is gaining favor in the Lord. If every woman has the potential to be a wife, then every woman a man meets is cut from that same wifey-material…she just has to want to be a wife and intentionally align her actions, choices, and prayers up with it? I joined a group on Facebook at some point this year that was to go with this five-day challenge a friend suggested we sign up for. The challenge was about opening yourself up for Godly love but the FB group is called Young and Married. Yeah. I feel out of place but the people in it are mostly hopeful brides and grooms to be. I received an inbox asking if I wanted to sign up for a book that would help me prepare myself for a Godly marriage. Some of the emails I’ve received have been about molding you to be ready to be a wife (or husband). There was one video that Ciara posted a while ago that got her into all kinds of opinionated, social-media driven hot water. In it, a pastor is discussing being a wife before you have a ring. He repeats the scripture from above and addresses the fact that it doesn’t say “he who finds a girlfriend”, but rather “a wife”, suggesting you are a wife (or of wifey-material) without a husband, ring or marriage certificate. It is up to this elusive man to find you, realize who and what he has in front of him and then you get all the bells and whistles (proposals, weddings, marriage, etc). But in the meantime, you are (or should be) emotionally and mentally grooming yourself as who you want to be: a wife.

But what if I don’t want to be? What if I no longer care about getting married as much as I am concerned about living this life to the fullest? Even if that includes me dying single? Am I thot-material? Does the price of my fabric go down? Do I slip from the smooth edges of the silky shelves to the half-off clearance bin of leftover fabric parts? Can I never be of wifey-material because I am not reading books and ultimately preparing myself to be “the good thing-wife?”  Am I NOT “a good thing.” What exactly does a man find when he’s not finding a wife? A bad thing? Forgive me if I’m thinking too hard but if a man finds a woman that’s not a wife (or of wifey material), what exactly did he find? If this was answered in biblical terms, would she be a Jezebel? Are those of us who aren’t that man’s wife simply pieces of used fabric that no one wants to sew with?  What if we are no one’s wife????? #ThenWhat?

Actress Jennifer Lewis did a recent interview on The Breakfast Club where she was asked if she was married. She said she’s been engaged four times and still has the rings to prove it but she never went through with it.

“Honey, I’ve never been married. Listen, I married my career and I have no regrets.”

I’m not one of those people who believes there is someone for everyone. There are people who die every day without having ever been married, and many of these people have lived joyful lives and never once felt deprived of anything, especially not love. So for the women that fit that under this umbrella, what are they? Sluts? Whores? Devil-worshippers? Or just pieces of standard cotton that God tossed in the world to spice things up?

You know what made me want to be a wife? Power.

No, not the television show. As I came to understand wives based on readings, conversations, and random documentaries, while the husband may be head of household in many cases, it is almost always the wife that runs the house. She keeps the order. She balances the money. She inspires and raises the children and the husband! When I would see husbands gush over their wives, they would speak of her like an enigma. The ones that are truly in sync w/their marriage seem to almost shy away from understanding how they got so lucky. They know they fall short of her love and find themselves better and greater because of her. She leads the charges in their heart and is half the inspiration of their grind. All of this PLUS (depending on the beliefs) she gains them favor in the Lord. It’s a power-filled, selfless, spiritual act of love no matter what your beliefs are. By all means, finding a wife most definitely means finding a good thing and I’ve longed to BE a good a thing.

A good thing.

Not wifey material and I’ve hated that word since I first heard it @wifey. I never even longed to be a ‘wife’ until I started husbanding these stray, polyester sewn mutts looking for shelter and food. Playing house with my Barbie Doll raised imagination and my dry begging, cheap denim, Jegging-style boyfriends led me to want to be more than the role I was playing because they left me feeling like I wasn’t enough. And how could I be? Most of them needed their mommy or a parole officer, neither of which I was. And although I never really dug the live-in pussy situation, I somehow found hope that it would turn into a proposal a time or two. The only thing ever proposed from those mistakes were passions for fucking up my credit and my trust. Let Ciara’s pastor tell it, I guess I’ve been living as a girlfriend and not a wife, so every man who has found me, found a girlfriend, which doesn’t make me a ‘good thing’ as much as an easy conquest or short-term practice.

Interesting concept. . .

Becoming a wife wouldn’t have changed any of my relationships aside from putting me in the position to contact a cheap divorce lawyer. In all honesty, I  do want to make life art with someone and attack the world’s canvasses as if we have the only paintbrush left in the world. I want to be a good thing to someone and in return, receive a good thing back. But I don’t want to work to convince a nigga that I’m dope enough for the position. I also don’t want to give wife benefits to boyfriend material. I suppose there is a certain way I should be living or a certain hem of fabric I’m supposed to be cut from in order to have that and I’m not sure either of those is my priority or origin.

And I’m ok with it. I’m ok with never being married. I was ok with it in the past. I am ok with it now. It doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to be joined with one person and we go forth and change the world and each other’s lives for the better. It simply means I’m not waking up daily trying to align my feet with the wedding two-step or praying nightly for a man to come find me waiting.

Either a man will SEE me, or his legally blind ass won’t.

Hell after almost marrying my future divorce, what I know now is that being wifey material doesn’t make a man husband ready. Because let’s be honest: all the good men aren’t taken but the single ones are picky AF and some of us will be left out. Period. It doesn’t mean he’s not fresh off a block of abandoned sandpaper and masculine tears. What good is a wife to a man going through his third round of pre-pubescent attitude changes? Is she supposed to “good thing” him into adulthood? What about the dudes out here slanging unprotected dick front, back, and side to side (also known as hoe’ing and we know we can’t wife them), dropping babies at every missed left turn to Albuquerque? Sounds like my favorite scripture that asks:

“What does it profit a man to gain the world but lose his soul?” Mark 8:36

I’ve met my own share of wifey-material raised women who gained the husband and lost her soul and essence because that nigga was cut from strips of fleece and rayon.

What I know for certain is I am not living for the hope and prayer that a lifelong companion will find me and gain his rightful favor. I am living for me; not for this riddle or trying to reconcile with the fabric of my creation. I am flying to the places I want to and experiencing all this world has to show me. I am intentional about healing myself, helping others heal and creating safe spaces for those that need them. I create as I see fit and insert my voice only in the necessary moments. I love openly and wildly and for the most part, without any apology. I am intentional. I am light. I am beautiful and I am love. To experience me, in all my qualities and pitfalls, my vulnerabilities and my confidence, is to experience a good thing.

Who says I have to be a wife in order to be a good thing? What comes first? The chicken or the egg? Or in this case, the ring or the good?

I know I am definitely a good thing. Anyone who doesn’t see me as a wife is missing out. But after many years and tons of mistakes, I found my damn self and discovered someone pretty amazing living inside of me.

Found on IG (via @erickaps)

So I guess I will gift this good favor from the Lord to me!

Call me Pink Cashmere.

~J

September 27th – Pt II Puerta Va-Hopelessplace

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

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

Airstream – Hell Yeah Babe!

Cruise somewhere – YASSSS Zaddy !!!

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

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

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

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

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

“Kendria!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Will you marry me?”

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

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

A higher strain of trust.

I really tried hard not to ugly cry. 

But, I think I did.

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

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

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

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

….”In a hopeless place.”

~Rihanna, We Found Love

 

“Not All Black Men”: #PinningTheTailOnTheDonkeyOfTheDay

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

~TK Kirkland

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PICTURE IT:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by ANKH Productions

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

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

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

The Common Denominator

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

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

In Summation . . .

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

There it is folks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by ANKH Productions

 

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

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

~j

 

Resentment: Stages: Sips from My Lemonade

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

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

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

-me.

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

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

Unlimited tea and lemonade are included in your ticket.

Stage Left: Resentment

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

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

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

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

Or Geist.

Carmel perhaps? Fishers? California? Morocco??

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

Image may contain: 1 person, outdoor and closeup

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

Oh love,

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

like a stork delivery

minus a return receipt

and I undo the locks and open the door

eyes staring into soul windows with curtains drawn

we pull each other in by the scent of our connection

and figure it out. You tell me,

you came to figure it out.

And we do. Like they do on tv.

Oh love,

how I have waited for you to show back up,

at the doorstep.

Ready.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

~j

 

Intensive Care Unit: The Surgical Yes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Bottom Line:

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

Do you know who you are –

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

Do you know what has happened to you –

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

Do you want to live this way –

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

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