Live PD Cam

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

 

Me in real time:

I meant, literally. I can dig it…UP.

The color of masochism.

 

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

Stop digging up your past.

It only ends in the death of you.

~j.

II. Afterglow Leftovers: Luna Melrose

Melrose.

It had been a few hours since the test confirmed what Melrose already knew: Luna was pregnant. As Luna lay on the couch trying to lose herself in reruns of Law & Order: SVU, Melrose recalled the taste of her ex’s penis on her lips. It was a cross between stale memories and Scarlet Letter divinity. She never once tasted the new woman in his life but she attributed the extra flavor to her presence. That night, Melrose eagerly got on top of her ex and left her soul tied to his through rocking motions that pulled him in as far as possible. She smiled through an oncoming shared orgasm as the act itself solidified for her that he wasn’t shit.

See, Melrose was drastically different from Luna. She was vengeful. Spiteful. Angry. And fearless. She bit karma in the face most times. Nothing she did was without accepting the effects she caused. The problem was for as prepared as she thought she was, most times she was still never equipped for the catastrophes created. When she made it up in her mind to sleep with her ex, she wanted to prove to that she wasn’t missing out on a new, improved version of the good man she once thought she had. His willingness to penetrate her on more than one occasion proved his selfishness hadn’t changed and she hadn’t missed out on anything but good dick. Was it fucked up? Absolutely! Did she want to inform his current girlfriend that he was a cheater and a liar? Nope. It wasn’t about that for Melrose. She wasn’t out with a motive to hurt the new woman even though she knew her deliberate actions spoke volumes in the department of fucks not given. Instead, the fact that Melrose and her ex made love showed her that the new woman in his life was just as unable to yield results as Luna had been…as had all the women before. Did it take her turning into a concubine of sorts in order to stop taking his past, poor decisions personally? For Melrose, the answer was yes.

But what Melrose had not planned on was a positive pregnancy test. This mishap was not part of the blueprint, but still, she approached it with a smile. As a commercial break came on and Luna stood to go pee for the 3rd time in an hour, Monroe ran through her options.

“Abort it and send him the paperwork? Send the woman the positive test? Say nothing and leave the state? Adopt the child out?”

“What would leave him the most shattered?” 

Melrose didn’t want to hurt her ex; she wanted to shatter the glass house that he was sharing “I love you’s” in. 

Luna.

Well, I’m starting this pregnancy off trashy”, I thought to myself as I stared at the ashtray. First, I have no feelings that have developed as of yet. I’m seriously in a state of frozen emotions and indifference. I’ve also made no attempt to make the necessary phone call to my ex. If my inner bitch has her way, I won’t call him anytime soon. I will do something hurtful and inform him of it afterward but that’s not how I do things for real. I went to the bathroom and came back to the bed, sat on the edge and lit my blunt. It took three pulls before I got parallel with reality.

Ok. It took two; the third one was a might-as-well-hit-it-one-more-time hit. I can admit that. Now I’m sitting here, high and pregnant, an oxymoron in every way imaginable and feeling a bit lost in translation. This is not how things go in the movies. The amount of problem-solving that now needs figuring is almost out of my grasp; I’m not sure what I am doing or going to do. But I’ve always wanted to run away.

I’m fairly certain now is a good time.

 

I. The Edge of Desire: Luna Melrose

Melrose

Melrose sat on the toilet without making a sound. The house was quiet, as usual, and she heard herself let out a casual sigh while trying to brace for the flood of tears Luna would react with. Whenever there is an unexpected plot twist, Luna cries, either out of frustration, fear or both. Melrose, on the other hand, was cut from a different version of silk. When she collected lemons, she never intended on making lemonade; it wasn’t a favorite of hers and she abhorred that cliche that suggested she get to churning out juice when life is kicking up hardballs. She would much rather be found shaving the zest off the lemons for potpourri and leaving what remained out for animals outside to eat. She smirked at the immortality of her felonious decision-making skills. She wasn’t the type to have regrets; when she made moves, she made them in permanent confidence. But this time the results had administered a karmic cocktail that even morphine wouldn’t dull the pain from. She knew she had fucked up. 

But hey, at least the house would smell good? 

Luna.

I stood from the toilet with an epic feeling of numbness surrounding my entire body. It was as if I walked into a warp zone of emotional paralysis.  As I stood at the sink washing my hands, I looked right into my eyes through the parallel mirror. The new handwash I’d recently purchased, Target brand Method, released a fragrant ocean-like smell into the air as I rinsed the foam away. It made me think of my undying love for the sea. During my last visit, I dared myself to go out further than I’d ventured before. Much like the rest of the non-swimming population, I stay walking the shores, allowing only my feet and legs to get wet.  But the last time I stood there, my temptation led me to walk further out although not as far as most of the rest of the people. My heartbeat was strong and deliberate but still, I felt a strong sense of calm. The water was melodic as it crashed against my upper thighs and exerted its strength over my body.

I’m a huge daydreamer and I love nostalgia. I often lean on one or the other to get me through difficult moments where I might be subject to unraveling into a crying mess. Today’s news left me numb and reminiscent of past memories that I would have much rather been recreating instead recalling. I shut the water off and dried my hands before returning my hard stare at myself. I shook my head in disbelief and a bit of disgust. A head rush came and left me slightly dizzy before I realized it was actually an internal fight between me and the tears that wanted to recognize a problem had occurred. I fought back with my unfamiliar numbness and won. I just didn’t feel like acknowledging the level of stress I was entering. I had myself to blame for my foolish mistake and I knew all of my feelings would eventually land on the goofy girl in the mirror: Luna Melrose.

I wanted to take a minute before that happened and remember the me that existed before now.

Before this positive pregnancy test revealed just how stupid I was,

and exactly how complicated my life was about to get.

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

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

A moment in time.

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

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

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

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

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

7.14.2004

 

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

HELP ME PLEASE!!!!!

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

*Back*

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

*Back on again*

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

*10 mins later *

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

*25 mins later *

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

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

*15 mins later *

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

*15 mins later *

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

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

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

I hope not in my hair.

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

Lord, please take me to Indianapolis safe.

 

*****Aftermath.

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

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

I wouldn’t replace them for nothing.

~kendria

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

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

Kendria, 8.15.18

Sips from My Lemonade: NOMAD

What a time to be alive. . .

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

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

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

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

Things I have been over time:

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

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

5.4.17

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

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

5.4.17

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

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

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

Until, in our own despair,

Against our will

Comes wisdom

Through the awful grace of God” (Aeschylus)

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

I realized it early.

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

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

All Rights Reserved to Getty Images

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

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

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

Well,

Photo by JusFam Photography

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

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

Photo by JusFam Photography

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

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

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

You is kind.

You is smart.

You is important.

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

BUT –

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

I have great expectations and high hopes for this project. 

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

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

I am currently seeking a choreographer (dance).

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

Photo by JusFam Photography

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

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

God is incredible.

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

Found on IG (via @erickaps)

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

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

~J

 

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

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

September 27th 2017.

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

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

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

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

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

~3461, JYork

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

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

Huge difference.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

via Will Smith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nah sis,

nah.

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

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

Mourning one while looking at another heartbreaker DJ. #Lifeism

is what it is.

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

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

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

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

I pray we both learned from it all . . .

Accidental phoNo pic from fair

 

Shopping in Walmart like old days

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

We’ll get to my cracked reflection in January.

 

September 27th – Pt II Puerta Va-Hopelessplace

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

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

Airstream – Hell Yeah Babe!

Cruise somewhere – YASSSS Zaddy !!!

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

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

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

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

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

“Kendria!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Will you marry me?”

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

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

A higher strain of trust.

I really tried hard not to ugly cry. 

But, I think I did.

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

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

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

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

….”In a hopeless place.”

~Rihanna, We Found Love

 

“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

 

Sips from My Lemonade: Stages: Chasing Cars in Denial

“I can’t believe he’s not here”

“I can’t believe this happened”

“I can’t believe ( insert emotion ) ”

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

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

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

“If I lay here,

if i just lay here

would you lie with me and,

just forget the world”

~Snow Patrol, Chasing Cars

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

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

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

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

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

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

I need your grace
To remind me
To find my own

~Snow Patrol, Chasing Cars

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

“I knew you were out there”

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

It’s time again –

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

– It’s time to stop thinking again.

It’s time to control my her thoughts.

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

How befitting.

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

~Snow Patrol, Chasing Cars