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30 Day Writing Challenge: 5 Problems with Social Media

So I’m a day late getting this started, because  . . . Life.  I’m going to try relally hard to stay on point, and do every single day. So without furthur ado . . .

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I Miss Her . .

1) Amber is no longer a part of it.
In July, my friend, Soror, Sister Amber Pratcher passed away unexpectedly. I’d gotten so used to seeing posts from her on a daily basis, conversing with in various FB groups, live-tweeting events with her on Twitter, that her absence is felt daily.  I miss her snide comments, her commanding me to Stay Woke and be an active voice.  I just miss her. Social Media isn’t the same.  We became frineds viz Social Media (College Club and BlackPlanet) and she was able to touch so many lives using it as a medium.  Social media just isn’t the same without her.

2) Everyone has access to it.
I see some of the dumbest shit on Social Media being passed off as fact, because dumb people are trying to stay woke too.  #HotepTwitter is running rampant with their memes about false African Facts.  You see quotes being assigned to people that aren’t true, and people are just off believing it.  I’ve lost some hero’s because of Social Media as well. Sometimes, you need the veil between your Idea of an artist, and that artist’s actual personallity.  Jill Scott completely lost me as a fan for about 5 months over that Bill Cosby is innocent series of Tweets.  While everyone deserves to have avoice, Social Media has led me to believe everyone’s voice shouldn’t be heard.

3) It’s Far Too Addictive
My mom has run up my Phone Bill all because of Facebook.  She discovered that it’s an excellent way to pass time.  She watches all the videos, like all of them.  Every single one that ever shows up pn her TimeLine.  When she was staying with me last year, her phone was connected to my WiFi, so she wasn’t using data.  She can go through 2 GB’s of Data in 5 days. She doesn’t even stream music!! Clearly, I’ve been spoiled with my unlimited Data for the last 6 years, but still.

4) It’s really Invasive
If you allow it to be that is.  I used to give people way too much access to me and my life on Social Media.  I wrote a blog about it and everything. {Insert hyperlink} I shouldn’t know about the problems of your relationship because you post it all on FB.  I souldn’t know your ovulation cycle because of Twitter.  We give people access they haven’t earned, and then are upset when they butt into our lives.  The smartest thing I ever did was stop personalizing my Facebook page.  I can share my happiness without sharing the details with the world.  It’s better that way, at least I think so.

5) I don’t know a 5th Bad thing
Because in general I like Social Media.  It’s a way for me to be connect to my friends, most of whom I actually met on Social Media.  They live all over the country, and I can keep up with their lives via Facebook and Instagram and sometimes Twitter.  Social Media is a part of my everyday life.  Less than it used to be, that’s for sure.  But checking in on a daily basis is expected. 

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I’d Rather Go Blind (or) . . . an Ode to James Baldwin

I have to start this blog by saying, I’ve never finished a James Baldwin novel.  I was SUPPOSED to in my Race in American Lit class in 11th grade . . .but youth. I have to also say, I’ve lived my live on the fringe of “Black Consciousness.” Meaning, I knew the world was fucked up.  I just chose to not let the fuckedupedness {yes, that is indeed a word} affect me.  Sadly, 2014 happened.  Actually, to be honest, 2008 happened . . . but we will get there.

I’ve stated on more than one occasion, I was raised strangely.  I had access to my history.  I knew my family’s history, and the history of my people.  Not because I went to the best schools {even though that helped} or because I was so well read {again, that did help}, but because my mother made sure I knew.  I didn’t know other people didn’t watch Eyes on the Prize on a yearly basis until college.

Best. Series. Ever.

Best. Series. Ever.

I’m not just talking about a casual glace, I mean we planned our WEEK around it showing on PBS.  Homework was done at school, so that i didn’t have to do it at home.  We sang all the protest songs while we were cooking dinner, and we sat down together to watch it.  I knew who the Little Rock Nine were before the Disney Movie came out.  I used to love Thurgood Marshall because he looked like my Great Uncle.

So it’s not that I didn’t know that racism and discrimination existed in the world.  I just didn’t have to deal with it.  I lived in Detroit, but I went to school in the suburbs.  All my friends were white.  If they weren’t white, they were something that wasn’t Black.  I’ve been the minority my whole life, even within my circle of friends.  Racism was a concept I understood, and had never really encountered until my then best friend’s father found out I was Black.

I'm referring to the white one . . .

I’m referring to the white one . . .

I’d been calling their house the entirety of Freshman Year. The minute the buddy pictures came back, the “secret” was revealed.  This man, whom I had spoken to at length whenever I had called their home, who always asked how I was doing and about my family, suddenly didn’t want his child to spend time with me.  He didn’t want her to drive to my home (even though I lived in the suburbs {better suburbs than them}), he told her not to interact with me at all.  Because I had tricked him! I didn’t “talk Black,” so how was he supposed to know I was invading his daughter’s life and setting such a bad example.  Her dad was an asshole, and he was racist, and he was born in a time when both of those were the norm.

United Colors of Benneton . . .

United Colors of Benetton . . .

Racism didn’t become real to me until affected my paycheck.  I blogged about it, feel free to check it out {here, and here,} Even still it wasn’t something that permeated.  They were #IsolatedIncidents. The world is a better place in the 21st century.  We elected a Black President for crying out loud.  People stood in a voting booth, and said we put our faith in that proud and self-identifiying Black Man, with his Beautiful Black Wife and Children.  The world has changed for the better! Or so we thought . . .

This was my morning board in my classroom for a WEEK!

This was my morning board in my classroom for a WEEK!

What we didn’t know, while we were shouting in the streets, and hugging each other with pride and glee . . . was some folks was MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD! WHEW, they was so mad! About life, and everything that was in it. And every time he made a difference, made a change, and potentially helped someone less fortunate than them . . . the anger built. And Bulit. AND BUILT. And for me, being able to ignore the undercurrents of racism was getting harder and harder.  Those names started adding up, and my memories of Eyes on the Prize starting connecting those dots.  From Rodney King, to Malice Green, to Sean Bell, to Oscar Grant, to Trayvon Martin.

Thank God for Black Twitter . . .

Thank God for Black Twitter . . .

Social Media ruined my life! Because I wasn’t just getting my news from CNN anymore.  I had minute my minute updates on things going on all over the country.  Every new name on the list had a hastag, and a story behind that wasn’t being censored by the media.  Suddenly, I had to acknowledge that my bubble had been popped, stepped on, and destroyed.  The anger started to build. And Build. AND BUILD. Why are they killing young children? Why are people so angry? Why do they hate us so much? Why do they work SO HARD to make sure we stay down? Why is no one paying attention?!?! Why does Don Lemon exist on Television?

I . . . loathe . . . you

I . . . loathe . . . you

Why are Black Men Thugs and White Men “troubled” and “mentally unstable?” Why are Black children a threat? Why is CNN reporting a Riot, when Black Twitter is live streaming police being the aggressors? Why are the only pictures of Mike Brown him looking like a “gangsta?” Why does the Republican run government shoot down anything the President attempts to to to a vote? Why is everyone on Fox News an Asshole? Why do I only trust Chris Hayes, Melissa Harris-Perry, and Rachel Maddow?

He Follows ever member of Black Twitter . . .

He Follows ever member of Black Twitter . . .

Why am I TERRIFIED every time I’m pulled over by a police officer? Why do I have to have conversations with all my clients about the dangers of expressing your opinions when dealing with certain kinds of people? Why do I fear for all of the children I work with who were raised in Happy Tucson, and don’t know who the rest of the world sees them? Why did I lose friends because of my reaction to Ferguson? Why was Ferguson the scariest thing I’d ever experienced as an American . . . not September 11th?

2014

2014

I can’t un-see those videos of Black Men AND WOMEN being abused by the people we pay to protect us.  I can’t un-know that 2015 is more like 1964.  I can’t un-experience someone walking in a church and shooting 9 people, because of the color of their skin.  I can’t un-cry those tears of frustration when conversing with people about my pain.

I’d Rather Go Blind.  I’d Rather be Deaf.  I’d Rather be Dumb.

I’m Afraid. I’m Angry.  I’m Hurt.

There is no time to heal. There is no time to recover from seeing Michael Brown’s body in the middle of a street.  There is no way to unwatch John Crawford III getting shot down for HOLDING a gun while talking on the phone. I can’t BREATHE! I can’t catch my breath, because it’s happening everyday.  Twice a day. The list continues to grow.

blackfaces

To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.”

– James Baldwin

This. Is. America.  This is being Black in America. This is Depressing as All the Hells.

This Is My Experience.  

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Thank You For Reading.

Wait . . . Black People Make Other People Uncomfortable?!?

Well Color Me Brown Skinned.  You mean all this time, people don’t like me because of the color of my skin and my boisterous voice? You mean it’s not my political viewpoints or my religion? It’s JUST the color of my skin? You mean to tell me I don’t get jobs because I’m Black?!?!?

When I tell you I’m SHOCKED! You don’t even know.  This whole time, I thought Racism was gone! After Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave the “I Have a Dream” Speech, Racism was already on it’s way out.  We had the Civil Rights Bill (oh wait, they revoked that a few years ago), and Clarence Thomas, and Barack Obama.  No One Sees Color Anymore.  Don’t you Read the Internet?

But Then . . . This Happened.

This less than 30 second Interview has caused an Internet Orgasm of Epic Proportions.  There are so MANY things in this clip, and the reactions to it that I want to rant about.  I’m going to try not to veer from my original point, but Let’s Just Take it Step By Step.

1) OMG A Black Man is Yelling!

First, let me say . . . YOU GEAUX FRAT! Richard Sherman was hype at HELL.  As he should have been.  Did you actually watch the game? Or see the play? If you weren’t that hype after helping take your team to the Superbowl, you should just quit playing sports.  Two Minutes after that kind of play, you ask me how I feel about that play.  You should be glad he didn’t push the reporter (we will get to her later) out the way and scream, “I AM A GOD!”

He wasn’t yelling at her, he was yelling at EVERYONE. That’s what you get for doubting him and his skill.  He did what millions of people have been doing from years, staking their Athletic Claim. The Problem . . . he scared a White Lady.

B) Oh Lawd, You Done Scared the Missus

Black Men are never more out of line than when they make a White Woman scared. Or, it’s perceived you scared her.

Erin Andrews Screenshot

Saving a White Woman from the Mandingo Warrior who lusts to defile her . . . Ya’ll! People have lived that narrative their whole life.  That’s why interracial dating is such a huge deal.  Still. 50 Years after The Loving Case. In My Humble Yet Educated Opinion, that’s why there was outrage.  Because this man used his emotion and it scared PollyAnna. *le sigh*

She wasn’t even scared.  Shocked. I’ll give her that.  But he wasn’t even looking at her.  He was looking straight at the camera, almost as if he was talking to a specific person. Like he was sending a message to someone who needed to hear it . . .

3rd) When In Doubt, He Must Be a Thug

richard sherman

When Angry Black Man isn’t enough, the next step is ALWAYS to call him Uneducated. Because God forbid he’s ACTUALLY Stanford Educated.  That’s right, STANFORD. Ivy League.  ANNNNNND He Graduated! Like, OMG. He Has a Degree and plays a Sport! He should be okay . . . as long as he’s making us money.  But then, he got loud. *le super sigh*

‘To Those Who Would Call Me a Thug or Worse …I show passion on the football field—but that’s only a small part of who I am. If you want to judge me, I can handle it. – Richard Sherman

{I’m not even going to talk about the only real way for a Black Man to get an education of the same caliber of his white counterparts IS to play a sport. Or that whole Breeding to be genetically Superior . . .nope. Not Gonna Do It}

Also, This Happened...

Also, This Happened…

Let Us Make this ONE Incident about Race in America

I have read no less than FOUR articles breaking down this 30 second clip.  These articles weren’t short either. Clearly, as I am blogging about this, I am part of the problem.  EXCEPT, I blogging about the reaction to it.  Why does EVERY Single incident when America shows it’s RACIST ASS do we have to do this?!?! Hey Guys . . . WE KNOW! We know that Racism is real.  We know that Black People make Other People Uncomfortable.  

We know that White Women date Black Men to piss off their parents.  We know that Loud Black Men are always labelled Thugish, Ignorant, and Classless. WE. FUCKING. KNOW. You don’t have to write articles about it, and tweet about it, and create memes about it. Don’t Talk About It . . . BE ABOUT IT.

Be the Change you Want to See.  Online Protesting only works if you actually attack the system. Not Each Other. George Zimmerman was prosecuted because we inundated the Prosecuter with calls, emails, letters etc.  Marissa Alexander is no longer in jail because We Fought Back.  The Revolution will take place online . . . when people stop rehashing and reacting.

If Billy Bob and Jo Sue from Alabama hate all Black People, let them.  Unless Billy Bob is also a Senator or law maker, and he also votes in every election, he really has no say in what’s gonna happen.  Stop paying attention to ignorance. DO SOMETHING!

“I am America. I am the part you won’t recognize, but get used to me. Black, confident, cocky. My name, not yours. My religion, not yours. My goals, my own. Get used to me.” ~ Muhammad Ali

All that Being Said . . . What Are YOU doing?

SideChicks: Picking up the Pieces when you stop doing YOUR job . . .

*Editor’s Note: This Blog is going to piss you off.  Just stop reading now.  If you keep reading, it’s your own fault if you feel some kind of way at the end.  I’m not even writing this to piss you off.  I’m writing it to tell MY understanding of SideChick Subculture. It’s better you read you this now, than get a SideChick Declaration of Ownership text message someday.  I’m just trying to help.*

Four Years ago, I wrote about my own experiences as a Side Chick. It’s a good read before you view the rest of this, as my attitude as been altered a little bit by life. Please understand this . . . I’m over SideChick Slander.  Not because I take it personally, but because it’s dumb.  We Slut Shame the SideChick but hail the man as a Pimp/Player/Boss/SexGod. With all the SideChicks who seem to be PROSPERING right now, I think it’s time to look at why.  But First, a Mini-Rant about #BlackTwitter and Scandal.

Scandal is one of the greatest written shows on TV right now.  And the Main Character is a Side Chick. The Presidential Side Chick! She has a job, friends, and a life.  She just happened to fall in love with the soon to be elected Leader of the Free World.  But according to #BlackTwitter, we have to hate her based SOLELY on her SideChick status.  Supposedly, she is breaking up a home, and ruining lives.  Which is a GOT DAMN LIE! Fitz don’t Love Mellie.  He ain’t neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeva gonna love Mellie.  But every Thursday, my TL is full of people (mainly men) bashing women for caring about Olivia’s emotions and thoughts.  For sympathizing with her in her daily struggle to let that Presidential Love go.  STOP IT! They will deal with the consequences of their relationship and be judged by whatever Higher Power their characters worship.  

Back to my original point . . . either I attract the shadiest females/males known to man into my circle, or y’all are some delusional ass people. SideChicks STAY winning.  Stop lying to everyone else on your timeline, and maybe even to yourself.  People cheat every damn day.  SideChicks become Step-Mothers every damn day.  Married Men step out of their house into the arms of another woman every damn day. And they gives not a FUCK about anyone’s feelings.

I’ve never hidden the fact I played that role once or twice in my life.  It wasn’t always on purpose, but it is a title I have held.  What I have hidden, and for good reason, is the amount of times I’ve chosen NOT to play that role.  I’ve been ASKED to be the SideChick more times than I would actually like to count. (7) For every person I’ve turned down, I’ve been asked again.  I’ve been propositioned by people I see on a regular basis, and their significant others have no damn clue. Ya’ll are living in a fantasy world where your man/woman is the most faithful person in the world.  Stop Lying to yourself. I’ll Help You.

1) Why Did I Get Married?

That’s not just a Tyler Perry Movie.  That’s a question you need to ask yourself.  If the answer to the question isn’t because I know this man/woman wants to look at my ashy ass every day, chances are someone in your relationship isn’t happy.  When you said I Do, did you listen to all the Vows? The Love Honor and Obey everyone hears.  Did you pay attention to that Honesty thing though.

A large portion of my male friends from High School/College are married or in serious relationships and have been for years.  Wanna know why 90% of them got married?  Because they felt like they had kept her waiting long enough. {Yeah, they admit that kind of stuff to me, probably because I’m the only person who actually asked.}  People get married for every reason under the sun other than Love.  Love ain’t got nothin’ to do with a better credit score, or a place to live, or them kids that need to be in daycare you can’t afford alone.  Men aren’t the only people who get married for all the wrong reasons. Women do it ALL the time.  The need for security, or at least the illusion of security is real out here in these streets.

This isn’t to say there aren’t any relationships based solely on the love and devotion of two people, but Keep It Real. People who go into a relationship with Rose Colored Glasses, will get those colored lenses broken. {This refers to having an unrealistic expectation of what Marriage/Committed Relationship are actually about}  It might take a few years, but one day you will wake up . . . and you won’t remember why you were in your relationship in the first place. When starting a relationship, we try to put our best foot forward.  Show the best image of ourselves.  We might even try to stay on the straight and narrow path, and ignore our previous patterns of behavior.  But if you are in a relationship with someone and have to hide any part of yourself, that person is NOT for you.  But you know who will accept all your flaws . . . The SideChick.

The SideChick doesn’t CARE that you were a heaux in college. {She might have been too} The SideChick doesn’t care that you have kinky sex fantasies.  The SideChick listens to you complain about your wife that never cooks, and quietly cooks you a meal.  The SideChick picks up her phone every time you call, and makes sure she is ready when you come over. The SideChick doesn’t ask you for money to get her hair done, and she doesn’t usually want anything but your attention.  The SideChick is everything your wife of 5+ years isn’t anymore.  THAT’S why The SideChick is still out here winning.  Because as long as your Wife/Girlfriend/Fiance/Baby Momma is off HER game, she will be on her’s.

2) But Can You Whistle

Place two women side by side.  They have the same exact educational background and general knowledge.  The are similar in build and facial structure.  One can Whistle, the other can not.  Most men will choose the Whistler, because she has a little something extra.  The SideChick is a Whistler.  Her ability to whistle isn’t the sole reason she is usually placed in the SideChick role, but it doesn’t hurt her in any way.  Men usually want to have the best of the best.  They want to have something no one else has –  be it a car, or a house, or a woman.  If the opportunity arises, the SideChick will whistle alllllll around your man if you let her. Examples of SideChick Whistling:

  • Ability to Orally please your man (If you won’t do it, he will find someone who will)
  • Similar opinions regarding sexual freedom (If he can TALK to her about doing it, he will do it with her)
  • Her culinary prowess is unmatched (The quickest way to a man’s heart is the lower half of his body. . . )
  • Silence is Golden (What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas)

In this brave new world of Female Sexual Freedom, Whistler’s are EVERYWHERE. The way to deal with this SideChick influx is to FIGHT BACK! Learn a new skill.  Find out who your man is, BEFORE he tells you while he’s over the SideChicks crib.  Talk to your man about his needs. If they don’t fit you, then move on.  But if you are adaptable, adapt.  Cuz SideChicks are the most pliable, malleable, adaptable individuals on God’s Green Earth.

3) Game Recognize Game (Social Networking)

Facebook Messenger and Twitter DM have ruined a MYRIAD of relationship.  I watch it happen everyday.  Guy says something sexual. Girl comments/retweets. Witty TL Banter ensues . . . then they both disappear from the TL/Newsfeed.  It. Has. Begun.  The SideChick will NEVER blatantly approach your man. He will make the first move. The minute he drops those 10 digits (Remember when saying 7 digits was sufficient) and they have that initial, ‘You know I been feeling you, but you got a girl tho . . .‘ conversation, the SideChick has won.

If we have learned nothing else from Kwame, Carlos Danger, Dwyane, and Swizz . . . it’s that men will say ANYTHING to the woman who will listen.  A man will sit at work and text the SideChick all day long. Between meetings, on trips to the bathroom, doesn’t really matter.  He wants attention, and the SideChick is going to give it to him . . . Point. Blank. Period.

It’s also important to know . . . The seasoned SideChick isn’t trying to get caught.  She knows it’s much more stress to have to fight a woman in the street about her man than be a Freak in his Bed.  The seasoned SideChick has an app on her phone that hides messages from certain people, and tells your man about it.  The seasoned SideChick actually has a Google Voice number so that your man doesn’t know her number.  What people fail to understand is that some people choose SideChickery {read: The Act of SideChicking} as their main source of relational interaction.  The reasons behind this are actually irrelevant.  This is a lifestyle, NOT a pastime.

4) Why are you Caping for SideChicks and not calling out men?

If you’ve gotten this far in my blog, and think I’m caping for SideChicks, then you have missed the point.  I’m not making excuses, I’m explaining common behavioral patterns.  I’m trying to put all women up on the game.  Lack of Knowledge = Failure to Succeed.  You might have been raised to be a certain kind of person, and your Man/Husband/Fiance/Baby’s Father might have been raised to seek out and marry that EXACT type of person.  That doesn’t mean people’s needs can’t change and the eye can’t wander.  The Cheating Man is an asshole. So is the SideChick.  Most people are assholes though.

Even after my travels to the Land of SideChickery, I believe in Love.  I believe that Two People can come together, and create a lasting bond that satisfies all their needs.  I believe this because I had for a brief time myself.  I know people who live this kind of life everyday.  Millions of men are tempted to cheat every day, and DON’T. The kind of relationships I’ve just described were achieved by honesty and communication.  If a man can’t be honest and communicate {without fear of judgement} with his mate, he will eventually attempt to find someone who affords him that option. The same can be said for women.  I really just thought someone should share their intimate knowledge of the SideChick Subculture with the masses.

Thoughts?

Shut Up and Make that Man a Sandwich . . . or My Slow Journey into Feminism

…Black Feminist?

fem·i·nist

adjective Sometimes, fem·i·nis·tic.

1. advocating social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men.

Now, before you go judging me based on the Title of this Blog alone (which is totally why I choose the title, because I knew some people would read it and get angry) let me at least try to explain my point of view. I was raised by a Strong Independent Black Woman.  My views on the world were hugely impacted by my mother’s struggles as well as her accomplishments.

I was taught that I was going to have to work twice as hard to get half as much, and that is just how the world is.  So when the concept of Feminism entered my life, I was very much set in my ways.  I fought attaching the title of Feminist to my person, because everything I had ever learned made Feminism quite unappealing.  There are several different Feminist viewpoints I’ve used to try to figure out where I stand.  I’ll use 3 of them to support my ‘argument’ as it were. So please, follow me on my journey into Feminism.

1) Black Twitter Feminists vs. Black Twitter Misogynists

According to Black Twitter . . . anyone who uses that statement in any way – who isn’t completely trying to DISPROVE or DEBUNK what ever follows it – shouldn’t be trusted.  Point. Blank. Period. Black Twitter is usually a HORRIBLE representation of Black Group Think.  Sadly, the majority of the people who have been made most famous by Black Twitter are complete idiots.  But then, that’s my opinion.  For all you know I could just be saying that because I’m not part of the Black Twitter Elite.

Anyway, back to my point.  The first time I read anything that had to do with the Black Feminist Movement, it was on Twitter.  So I started following certain people, because their viewpoints were intriguing and different from anything I had ever seen.  However, after week Three of the $200 date debate, I realized that the loudest people were the ones that seemed to not even understand what Feminism was.

Male Black Twitter: All women should be glad we are even paying attention. They are flawed from the jump. From their thighs that touch in every picture to their nappy ass natural hair. Be grateful for this attention. I don’t have to give it to you. Also, if you are talking during any major sporting event, it better be to ask me what I want for dinner, or tell me it’s already done.  Your place is serving me.  My allowing you to serve me is giving you power.  Embrace that shit, and smile.

Black Feminist Twitter: Men are useless. We are strong enough to impregnate ourselves if we just put our minds to it. Men hate women, and because they make negative remarks they are clearly gay and wish they were women. Also, every time a woman is attacked, all men resort to calling her a whore/ugly/fat.  This is because these men secretly want to date these same women.  However, do to their massive inferiority complex, they would never approach these women.  In private, all men cry at night for the wrongs they have done women.  Lastly, Black Men date White Women because they are afraid of the strength the Black Woman holds.

Honestly, I really had never really thought about Feminism and it’s effect on my everyday life.  I was too worried about being Black and Fat.  Being a woman came in a distant third as something that was holding me back in society.  So what people thought my place was, in the long run was irrelevant.  I was much more concerned about my next paycheck.  But then, I got a job that shoved me RIGHT SMACK DAB into the Feminist Movement.

Oh . . . . okay.

2) Married White Feminists with Long Straight Hair and Good Jobs

Nothing says Feminist like a White Woman.  Whenever I think Feminism, I ALWAYS see two images.

1) An angry white woman yelling holding a NOW sign.

2) Gloria Steinem in a Playboy Bunny Outfit.

It always seemed to me, when you don’t have to worry about the major in things in life (food, clothing, shelter) you have much more free time to focus on societal issues.  Having to hear a white woman tell me she is sorry for how my life has gone is just . . . Take your White/Liberal Guilt and ease on down the road.  Heffa, you don’t know my struggle.  And watching The Help has not made you an expert on the Black Experience.  Your Great Grandfather making his fortune on the Backs of Slaves just means that’s what he did.  You aren’t obligated to fight for me.  Don’t become flustered or uncomfortable when I decide to fight for myself. Precious Lord Take My Hand, and help these women STOP thinking that apologizing makes my struggle go away.  It doesn’t.

When your skin is black, all other labels are pushed to the back burner.  Plus, what school textbook was going to teach me about Audre Lorde, Angela Davis, Nina Simone, and Bell Hooks? I know about them because I watch Netflix and random Documentaries. Feminism has always presented itself to me as a White Person’s Movement. One amazing example of this was the #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen treading topic on Twitter created by Mikki Kendall. So many ‘famous Feminists’ were so upset that Black Women were blatantly saying they weren’t (and had never really been) a prominent part of the Feminist Movement.

Google the word Feminist.  The first 40 pictures are of white women or white men.  I didn’t even know there were African American women from the beginning of the Feminist Movement.  Because these women didn’t identify as Feminists.  They identified as women who were trying to make a better life for themselves and those who were going to follow them.  They were fighting for Civil Rights, or Voting Rights, or Gay Rights. But first and foremost they were seen as Black Women.

3) The Feminists I’ve met in the last 9 months

9 Months ago, I began working for a domestic violence organization.  It was a job I took because I wanted to work with the children in the shelter.  I have several people very close to me who were affected by DV as children, and they most of them have said the trauma is still with them today.  Imagine my surprise when my job wasn’t just about working with the children, but their mothers as well.  The organization I work for stresses Empowerment over Enabling.  I spent the first 6 months trying to figure out what that meant.

We live in a society that devalues women every day.  In the media, in songs, in movies, on television.  Women have to fight for an inch while most men are 1000’s of miles ahead of them.  At 31, I had accepted that fact, but didn’t understand the root of the issue.  It’s not angry white men, or angry black men . . . It’s privilege. As long as ANYONE has a perceived advantage over someone, there will never be a real change in society.  In August of this year, I attended the Forging Justice Conference held in Detroit, and met same of the most amazing people! They all embraced the title of Feminist, and they were completely different in every way.

One of the speakers was Melissa McEwan of Shakesville.com. Listening to her speak showed me, even though it seems every person who attached the moniker Feminist to their name is worried about self, there are some people out there who get it.  Who understand that Feminism isn’t JUST Equal Pay for Equal Work, or getting more women jobs in large corporations.  It’s educating the masses about every problem/concern/barrier every woman has.

Another Feminist who continued to challenge my idea of what Feminism looks like was Marc Grimmett.  He presented his documentary, My Masculinity Helps.  In a very realistic way, his movie explores the many avenues by which we can help young black males become an integral part of the Movement.

I also met Ashon Crawley, a contributor for the Crunk Feminist Collective. Besides being one of the most eloquent people I’ve ever met, his message was something I had never encountered. Talking about how the Church and ‘Sacred Texts’ played a huge part in the creation of such a misogynistic society was like . . . Mind = Blown.

Feminism became something different for me.  It’s wasn’t marching and protesting, it was honest discussion about why there need to be changes, and how to go about it in a way that will actually make a difference.  Not just #WhiteGirlProblems or #MuslimGirlProblems, but society’s view of women as a whole.  From Rape Culture to The Pornification of Today’s Youth to why Blurred Lines is the world’s most Rapey Song of 2013. Feminism can be about education, and health, and relationships, and everyday life.  So where does this leave me?

Awareness comes with a cost. Once you are aware of an injustice, ignoring it is like committing that act, or perpetuating that problem yourself.  So I can’t blast Blurred Lines, without thinking of my clients who heard those same words while their significant other violated them.  It means: I can’t support an artist who objectifies themselves, and markets that objectification to young girls. It means: I feel some kind of way when Chris Brown says he “lost his virginity” at the age of 8.  It means: I have to question my support for certain people based on their actions. It means: I don’t have the stomach for certain behaviors anymore.  Labeling myself a Feminist is a difficult transition and responsibility.  Embracing the Feminist that lies dormant inside of me means letting go of some of my ideals.

So yes, when I grow up, I want to be a Feminist. But until then, the Journey continues.

Feelings are NOT Facts . . .

It’s that thing when you have so much you need to say, and you can’t think of a clever way to say it.  I try to make my blogs cute and funny, but also reflective fo my current or past struggles.  Sadly, I’m in a place right now when I FEEL like anything I would have to say is going to offend or hurt someone’s feelings. This is going to be a cacophony of thoughts.  Then, I’ll try to bring it all together at the end okay.  Lets Go . . .

1) I’m Flattered But . . .

Recently, a guy from my past popped up out of nowhere.  We went to the same church when we were younger.  Due to my perpetual status as on outsider, we didn’t have much interaction.  He was cute, but he didn’t talk to me, probably because I was the awkward fat girl.  For some reason, he’s intent on convincing me that I am the one person he needs to make his life better.  Except, he’s doing it all wrong!

If you have to beg me to pay attention to you, you aren’t worth my time. Conversely, I shouldn’t be worth yours. The minute a girl says to you, I’m not ready for a relationship, believe her!  My aversion to anything that looks like a relationship aside, why are you trying so hard? And who told you the way to a woman’s heart was begging? Like, thanks for paying attention to me 20 years later . . . but no thanks.

Underneath this new – more curvy, less chunky – figure I am the SAME awkward Fat Girl from the Teen Choir.  I haven’t changed at all.  I said when I started losing weight, the men who started paying attention to me {but didn’t give me the time of day when I was at my largest} would be the first men to get told off.  Because I don’t care what kind of society we live in . . .If you didn’t like me at my ‘worst’, Fuck you Very Much at my very Best.

2) I’m In Love with Another Man . . . 

First of all, let me just say Jazmine Sullivan took my WHOLE entire existence with this song when I first heard it 3+ years ago.  But the words are ringing true to me currently. What’s crazy is, I’m not in love with a specific person.  I’m in Love with an image.  It’s the image I’ve cultivated over the last few years of what/who I’m looking to spend the rest of my life with.

I’m in Love with my Best Friend.  I don’t even know if I could be attracted to someone I didn’t trust with all my secrets FIRST.  Sexual Attraction is such a great idea….But it’s not gonna keep me warm in the middle of the night.  It’s not going to buy me Hello Kitty accessories because they saw them while they were out. I’m looking for the guy who knows my mood based soley on the Spotify Playlist playing while I’m washing dishes.

The person you should end up with, in my very humble opinion, is the person you think about when bad shit happens.  It’s the first person you call when you need to cry (more on that later).  Its the person whose face you know would make you feel safe.  In all of my relationship travels, there have been very few people that I’ve thought had the potential to be that person for me. 

Of course, my track record with falling in love with my Best Friend hasn’t gone so well in the past . . .

 3) WE, are Never Ever, Ever, Getting Back Together . . . 

In the same vein . . . I’m really tired of people telling me how I should feel about my Ex.  I’ve decided I’m allowed to hate him whenever I want to.  I am allowed to love him whenever I want to. I am allowed to miss him whenever I want to.  I want to be able to say I don’t ever want to see him again, and that be okay.  The Happy I Felt when we were together is something I should say I want again in my life.  But I don’t want that.  Ever.  Because if you have it, you can lose it.

Losing it almost broke me.  Few people I was on the verge of Suicide when I moved back to Michigan. *Well, now everyone knows I guess* I left AZ because the stress of knowing he was so close and yet so far was getting to me.  Staying in AZ gave me a false sense of hope.  I’ve learned that Hope should only apply to Barack Obama and the Dreams of Suckers. {10pts if you get this movie reference}

I don’t want to EVER see him again.  I don’t want to hear his voice, or smell him, or listen to his favorite song. I don’t even like seeing pictures of him.  Because 1st, I remember the Happy.  But IMMEDIATELY after that, I remember the Sad.  And that Sad almost took me out.

See how my thoughts don’t make any sense.  Those three things I just posted, in complete conflict with each other.  But Wait, there’s more…

4) Being Honest Is Hard

I’ve stopped telling people stuff I think might hurt their feelings.  I’ve stopped making statements that might offend ‘outsiders.’ Now, I do have a circle of friends who accept everything that comes out of my mouth.  But . . . even amongst some of my “Close” Friends, I don’t say what I think.  I think being in social work has stunted my emotional freedom.

I used to ‘react’ quickly to things that offended me.  I used to stand up for myself when I felt slighted.  I don’t do that anymore either.  That could be the result of being told my feelings don’t matter.  It could be because my feelings are never validated, because they don’t go along with the desired emotional direction of “The Team.”  But whatever has caused this emotional retardation that has made me sensitive to everyone but me, it’s time out for that shit.

  5) Stop being a Baby

I cry too fucking much.  Like, I spent a SOLID 28 years, never crying.  We are talking maybe one ugly cry a year.  Since 2010, I swear I’ve cried on average 4 times a month.  Like, I cry watching tv shows.  I cry watching movies.  I cry listening to music.  I cry during phone conversations.  What the fuck is wrong with me?

Crying is for weak people, who can’t suck it up and deal with what life hands them. This crying all the damn time thing isn’t even something I would have ever thought I would go through.  *Boy, was that Psychic Wrong*  I still handle problems and get shit done.  But it’s fucking embarrassing.  Everyone shouldn’t see my tears.  They haven’t earned the right to see me this vulnerable. I’m starting to think I should have gone to therapy once I moved back to Michigan.  I might be in a better place emotionally.

So Yeah, that’s it for now.  I doubt this makes any sense.  I don’t really think it was meant to.  But I put it all out there, so that’s something right?

Dear Skinny Stranger Bitch . . . You Don’t Know My Story

*If I was your teacher in your youth, I’m sorry you had to read these harsh words   If I taught your child, I’m sorry you had to see these harsh words.  But, they must be said.*

I went to church today.  My wonderful Pastor was talking about “Breaking Out of Your Rut” in life.  Evidently during my gallivanting (Defn: to go about in search of pleasure) last weekend, I missed part one.

Today’s sermon focused on the last 3 steps to escaping your Rut. The point we are discussing, indeed the catalyst for this rant was Exercise Your Body.  His main point during the sermon was, Movement of your body inspires you to do more in your everyday life.  My rant, however, is not about my Pastor’s words.  It’s about a complete stranger’s way of dealing with them.

Episode #1: As my Pastor is talking, he says, “Now say to your Neighbor, Movement is Good.” My Neighbor to my left says, “You should really listen to what he is saying.

Who Bitch What?!?!?!?

I didn’t say anything, because I knew that if I punched this random Skinny Stranger Bitch in her fucking face, I would probably be asked to leave.  So I just said Amen, and went back to listening to my Pastor.

Episode #2: My Pastor stated something to the effect of, “Y0ur homework for this week is to get up and move.  Walk 15 minutes.” The Skinny Stranger Bitch then gave me the  Holy Helpful Stranger arm rub and said, ‘Now I know it’s hard for you to lose all that weight.  But you have to try.”

Who. Bitch. What?!?!?!?!?

Episode #3: My Pastor then stated something to the effect of, Movement will make you feel better about yourself. Again with the Holy Helpful Stranger Arm Rub, “I have a niece that’s bi— Full Figured like you, and I tell her all the time, You have to try.”

Mother. Fuck.

First of all, stop touching me heaux, I don’t know you like that.  Second of all, all fat people are not the same.  Third, my thighs touching is not an indicator  I Hate My Life.  You Don’t Know My Story.  You don’t know SHIT about me.  You look at me and see a Fat Girl. And that, is the Mother. Fucking. Problem.

I have never met this woman in my life.  She doesn’t know that I’ve lost 60lbs in the last 13 months, and I am working toward losing another 30 before June.  But HOW DARE YOU . . . My Fat is not your business.  Even if I was 600lbs, you don’t have the right to give me advice about what to do with my body.  You have enough room on the bench, my fat is not touching you – so kindly Shut The Fuck Up.

I think her compulsion to save me is actually part of a bigger issue – that is,  the need to help those we deem less fortunate than us.  Of course this assessment of need is based solely on outward physical appearance.

I call what she did Skinny Bitch Privilege.   The Skinny Bitch feels they are the media’s (read: the USA Media) representation of ‘Beauty,” so this means they have the right to ‘help’ people get like them.  They ASSUME anyone who isn’t like them, just hasn’t had the right motivation to Get Like Them. Their Mindset seems to be, “Oh Woe is You.  Please allow me to help you on your journey to being a better person.

Fat DOES NOT EQUAL Unhappy/Sick/Lazy. If there is one constant annoyance in these past 13 months, it has been the perception/assumption that my weight loss happened because I was finally tired of being fat.  It didn’t.  It happened because someone told me I couldn’t do it.  A 60 day challenge turned into a lifestyle change.

Do I feel better now that I’ve lost weight? Yes.  Do I have more energy? Yes. Do rainbows now fly out of my soul every time I work out? No.  Do I know feel complete and whole? NO.  I wasn’t miserable at 378lbs. I’m not ridiculously happy at 318lbs. But however I feel about my body, you will NEVER have the right to tell me your opinion about it.

Listen Skinny Bitch, I’m good.  I eat what I want, I don’t suffer from any sort of guilt/shame about my size.  I’m a grown ass woman.  I like food I know isn’t good for me, and if I feel like it, Imma eat that shit! I don’t need your help or your Pity.

Please, go on with your eating of Salad, I eat that too. Continue to prosper as you use the elliptical to get an ass that looks like mine. Further your journey into the land of Thighs Don’t Touch, I hear it’s cold and dry there . . . but that might just be a rumor.

You might not agree with my thoughts, that’s totally fine.  But thank you for reading, feel free to comment/express your opinion. As long as it’s not about my body 🙂