A Letter to My 17 Year Old Self

Dear MJ,

By now, you’ve been in college for 3 whole weeks.  Enjoy it, this is the best time of your life.  This is where you meet the people who change your life forever.  Savor the geographical closeness of friends, and take full advantage of every new experience.  Try everything at least once, take pictures of everything.  It doesn’t stay like this forever.  There are some very dark times ahead.  You will use the happiness of this year to get you through some of those times.  Be Glad I warned you.

On Friendship . . . 

The people you meet in these 4 years, are your family.  Not just friends in passing, but the shoulders you will cry on when life is falling apart.  You will leave college with Brothers would would fight a bear for you.  You will leave with Sisters who will fight that same bear, and probably send evil text messages to that bear’s whole family for years, just because they love you.  Some of the people you start this journey with, won’t make it until the end.  You will lose great friends, but find them again  . . . even if it takes 17 more years to reconnect. MJ, these friends are lifetime friends.  Don’t take them for granted.

On Your Hair . . . 

MJ, you are going natural in 1999.  A full 10 years before the Natural Revolution.  Good Job being a pioneer.  Going natural for you was a necessity, and not a protest of the white man’s wish that you assimilate to European standards of beauty.  You just don’t know how to do your hair, and that’s okay.   But your hair is beautiful, enjoy the texture.  You are Beautiful, MJ. Everything about you is Beautiful. Sadly, no one is going to recognize you need to hear that from time to time.  You won’t feel beautiful until your 20’s,  But I’m telling you now.

On Your Career . . .

Right now, you are probably sitting in your programming class, wondering how the hell you are going to program a damn computer to play Rock Paper Scissors with you.  You are going to get your first failing grade on a test.  Don’t worry, it’s going to get better!

You are going to find your calling, Children.  You are going to go through a few different phases.  Education, Tutoring, and you are going to land on Social Work.  God put you on this earth, MJ, to help children.  You are great at it.  You will make a lasting impact on hundreds of children.

Sadly, the profession you choose isn’t gonna keep them pockets fat.  You are going to end up being the poor friend.  Except, you won’t figure that out until you are 34.  You learn to survive with what you have.  Some years are going to be much worse than others, but as you get closer to your true purpose, you will figure out how be handle your money better.

Money is going to cause you to shed some tears, some ugly ass tears.  But MJ, you will survive it.  So keep going, even when you feel like you can’t.

On Love . . . 

People are going to break your heart.  Remember those dark times I was talking about . . . The first time is coming in about 10 months.  Don’t try to stop it.  He’s your soulmate.  That kind of love is going to stay with you for the rest of your life.  He’s going to stay with you the rest of your life.  But losing it, is going to break you.

I mean, devastate you, and no one around you will see it.  No one around you will recognize the signs of depression, because Black People Don’t Get Depressed.  It takes about 10 years, but he comes back, and he’s one of your best friends.

True Love is something you are going to look for in almost every person you meet, which is stupid.  Nora Roberts fucked you on that.  There is no such thing.  It’s just emotional connections that work out or not.  The other two guys, who will both break your heart by the way, they aren’t bad people.  They just couldn’t handle you, and how intense you can be.  Calm the fuck down, MJ. Take it slowly.  Stop trying to make every guy your future husband.  Calm the FUCK Down.

On Sex . . . 

You are going to waste your college years.  This is the time in life, when you should be whoring it up. But you won’t, because they told you men only marry the good girls.  THEY LIED. Men marry the Jump Offs.  You are going to be SO PISSED once you figure that out.  Sorry girl, you should have been a heaux. You had the PERFECT dating app, Greek Life. And what are you gonna do, MJ? Be friends with everyone.  Dumb Ass.

However, your greatest sexual encounters are going to be with people you’ve been friends with most of your life.  So that’s something, right MJ? You can hold out for that, you’ve only got like 13 more years to wait.

On Your Sexual Identity . . .

It’s okay that you like girls too.  It’s okay that you have crushes on girls in college.  Even though you grew up in church, and they told you something was wrong with you because you liked girls . . . It’s okay. Even though people in your family drop the F-Word with ease, and try to shame their male children for being sensitive . . . it’s OKAY.

It’s perfectly NORMAL to be BiSexual. You will be happier once you stop hiding it.  And you are going to meet some amazing people that help you get there.  Let Your Flag Fly MJ. It’s okay to be Queer.

Finally, MJ . . . 

These plans you have right now for your life, on who you are going to be, and where you are going to end up . . . WRONG. Stop trying to be like everyone else.  You aren’t.  You are so Different, and Special, and Beautiful, and Unique.  There is no one in this world like you. Your personal freedom will come, when you embrace yourself.

Stop comparing yourself to your friends, it won’t bode well for you.  Be Proud of who you are, in that moment.  Every single tear is going to be worth it.  The pain won’t last always, MJ. You are going to make it.  And it’s going to be Spectacular.

I’m Proud of You MJ,

34 Year Old You.

White Picket Dreams or TAMC Part 2a

I’m sitting here looking at this old canvas
And the picture looks so different from you
Yes it does, yes it does
Maybe it’s time to go back to the drawing board
Cause it’s likely that the man I drew is fictional

Here’s the thing . . . I haven’t listened to this album in a while.  I can’t tell you why, I just haven’t.  But thanks to my Spotify Discover Weekly, this song popped up, and Solange changed my life again.  Cuz I’ve been painting over the same canvas for years.  That image of the perfect family, the perfect life, the perfect relationship.  I continue to try to make people (men and women) I meet fit on one of the canvases I created in college, that was supposed to represent what my life should be.  Even while knowing the canvas is bullshit.  Because it is.

For five long years
I thought you were my man
But I found out
I’m just a link in your chain

It took me 10 years to get over my first love (TBTLINY). Through mostly no fault of his own, I was just holding on to the hope that we could make it work.  Because the connection was so deep, and the love was so strong. It just HAD to work. But in real life, he was just meant to be my friend (I think). {I might still be holding out hope that he will come to his senses, so sue me.  You don’t know my life.} But he’s been the prototype, for everyone that has come afterward.  They have to make me feel like I did when I first heard his voice, I have to want to be with them like I wanted to be with TBTLINY. The connection had to be that strong. Repainting on the same canvas.

If I could… could forget him, I would… please believe me
And I know that I should throw the towel in
But baby it’s not… not that easy
You treat me so much better than him, And if I was sane there’d be no competition

But… but I’m in love with someone else (ooh)
And I’m so sorry hey hey
I’m in love with another man
And I know it ain’t right

Instead of trying to heal, you tried to move on.  Even though you weren’t ready.  You might have even found a good guy/girl.  But you were still staring at that old canvas.  Longing for the life you had created in your head and your heart.  It’s so hard to let go of the image, once it’s been solidified in your mind.  That painting is stuck to the walls, and it’s not coming down until it wants to.

I used to cry myself to sleep at night
But that was all before he came
I thought love had to hurt to turn out right
But now he’s here
It’s not the same, it’s not the same

So then you meet this new person, and they can do all the things.  They make you smile all day, and you feel all the feelings, and they fit the mold.  Finally, you can take that portrait off the wall, and start making a new one.  But instead of starting over, you use the outline of the last painting to create this one.At first, it works perfectly.  Slowly but surely, it’s the little things that don’t quite fit.  The painting starts to go outside the lines. They don’t quite seem so perfect, you start to see the flaws, the colors start changing, lines get blurred.  Once again, the picture in your head was wrong.

Some of you know what it feels like
Caught up just in his life
Don’t wanna try again, thinking what’s the difference?
Why am I not interested?
Cause when you’ve been broken, you feel like no one can fix it

I’ve decided to stop painting.  I just . . . Quit. And I’m okay with that. Clearly, me trying to control every bit of this isn’t working. So I’m done now.  I just needed to say that.  Cuz yeah.  That’s the conclusion I reached yesterday. Just stop trying, cuz Adulting is hard enough without trying to be a master painter.

My need to control every little part of my life is driving me crazy.  I can say that now, probably because when this blog is published, not that many people will read it.  I wrote this a few months ago, but then I didn’t publish it.  At the time, it was because I couldn’t get the Spotify links to work right . . . But you know, everything in time.  So I’ll post it now, and let this be another part of Confession #2.

 

 

 

These are my Confessions Part 2

I think, I’ve only been in love 3 times. I’m not talking about bullshit crushes or infatuation. But genuine love, the kind that makes for a beautiful relationship if nurtured correctly. 

#1 is and will always be my first love/soul mate. We literally grew up together. We argue, and fall out, and Hate each other frequently. But he has a piece of me forever. 

#2 is The One That Got Away. We speak very infrequently, maybe once or twice a year. It was easy to forget WHY I fell for him in the first place. But that love is still there. Just under the surface every time we talk.

#3 broke my heart, and to cope, I stopped feeling things. Most emotions are non-existent for me, and have been for the last 4 years. It wasn’t a conscious decision on my part, but I’ve noticed it and commented on it a few times in the past. 

There was a time when being emotionally numb kept me from losing my shit on an hourly basis. My mind created this block to save me from myself. I understand that. I’ve felt safe in the numbness for these past few years. I had a whole ass 9 month long relationship, and not one feeling was exchanged. Not any real ones anyway. I was actually able to fake a relationship. 

But…. for a brief moment today, I felt something. And it scared the fuck outta me, and I relished the feeling all at the same time. I was smiling, and my heart did that flutter thing it does when you get excited about a guy {is that just me?}

It was of course, one of those 3 people I mentioned before. Because I can feel a myriad of emotions for people in my past. I can bring up those feelings and those moments with ease. I can bask in the safety those moments (good and bad) bring me, without any real fear of the outcome. Because those are MY memories. 

I don’t have to share them with anyone, even if those memories involve another person. But making NEW memories, extending myself and investing an emotion in someone new….impossible for me. 

And even as I see this happening, I’m unable to force my brain, mind, heart, soul, or whatever controls my emotional muscles, to push (it)themselves past what they already know.  

He made me smile today, just because he thought of me, and had to call.  My heart jumped, and I was short of breath as I picked up the phone. And I felt the love that has always been there, that I’d had forgotten was still there. 

And my first reaction, was to call him back after our conversation ended, and say I need a break from these feels. We can’t talk for a while, because I don’t like this feeling. Not at all. I can’t feel anything real for you, I don’t do that anymore. 

My Confession: I’m really worried I’ll never love anyone again. I’m worried I won’t even try to find it, all because losing it might just take me all the way out. 

These are my Confessions…. Part I

The last 6 months…..So much. But that blog will be written another day. It’s important to acknowledge that as a result of the last 6 months, I’m now in Therapy. Like legit therapy. Like charges $150 a session and ObamaCare only gives me an $80 a session discount type therapy. Shits real in These Here Streets. 

It’s important to know I’m in therapy not to…ask for sympathy but to instead explain my need to write this blog tonight. Part of my sessions have been about me NOT letting people know:

  1. What’s going on in my life…
  2. How I feel about the things that are going on in my life…
  3. How the things in my life have and are currently affecting me. 

So this is my way of expressing my…stuff right now.  This isn’t going to be a weekly blog or a daily blog or anything like that. But it will serve as my releasing of certain emotional/mental/spiritual”Bricks”that have been holding me down for quite some time. 

1) My main motivator in life, other than a need to just be awesome, is male approval. 

Let’s call it “Daddy Issues+.” I’ve known this since I was about 14, and I’ve been ashamed of it since then. Today, I decided to embrace it. Here’s why: 

  • As long as I’m making choices/decision that will positively affect my life, who cares what my motivation is?!?!
  • Feelings are not facts. Just because I’m judging myself for it, doesn’t mean the world is.

Today I went on an accidental 1.5 mile hike.  I say accidental because the original intention was just to walk to the end of my street. I didn’t know that was .7 miles UPHILL. My thighs are KILLING me.  I went on this walk, because someone male commented on the firmness of my calves. I mentioned the fact that I live in a house now with stairs, and I walk a lot more. “It looks good on you 😉” = Male Approval —-> Me talking a long ass walk, around my block, before dark. 

Does walking make my life better, yes. Will it help with this depression that’s always lurking, yes. Do I need to exercise more consistently, yes. So even tho I was motivated by the thought, “Wait until the next time he sees me!” I did something I need to do and is a good choice. 

So I’m releasing that shame today. Sending it out into the cosmos, never to rest or reside in me again. And I’m proud of myself for being able to do that. 

Truth Is . . . . I’m Tired

I used to tell everyone what was going on with me.  My Facebook used to be a minute by minute detailing of every emotion, action, and life event.  I didn’t expect people to wonder where I was, I told them . . .often.

Slowly, I’ve become the opposite.  With every Black Child/Man/Woman who has been killed at the hands of the “authorities,” I’ve slowly shut down. I’ve kept my problems to myself, because they seem quite trivial in the face of Systematic Racism and Murder.  No one told me to stop talking, I just don’t.

With every new hashtag, and every new addition to the “Dangerous to do While Black” list, I’ve become more and more reclusive.  I seem to have collapsed inside myself, and I’m not even sure if I want to come out at this point.  It’s hard at this point, when every single time I open my FB or my Twitter, I’m seeing pictures of people being killed by police, or videos of the aftermath of someone being killed.  Or watching a press conference where a family member breaks down.

Black Pain has become fodder for all to consume.  Even when you try to ignore it, someone is tagging you in a post, or sending you a link.  I tried to escape to Instagram today, and all the Black Celebs that were a day late, and several dollars were posting the videos, or even still pics of crime scenes.  That shit HURTS.  It causes my body to cease up in pain, because I feel every bullet.  I can feel the pain of every mother crying out for their lost child.

This . . . situation . . . has been weighing on me since the Trayvon Martin Trial (We don’t say his killer’s name). I thought about all the children I’ve taught, and the smiles on their faces, and just felt lost. Because I can’t save them.  I can’t hold them close, and make sure they are going to live forever.  I can’t even guarantee that a trip to the pool won’t end in abuse.  I can’t tell them walking to the store won’t end their death.  My crew is driving now, I can’t guarantee they won’t get pulled over and killed during a “routine” traffic stop.

That existence, the fact that I live in a world where this is the Norm, TERRIFIES me.  Since my seizure, my emotions have started to work differently.  I don’t understand them.  In addition to that, and I know this sounds crazy, I’ve been having prophetic dreams.  Nothing normal like, “so and so is pregnant,” or “you should play these numbers tomorrow.”  No, I wake up in tears, trying to stop screams from escaping my mouth so my mom doesn’t hear me.

On  the morning of June 12th, I had the scariest dream to date.  My mom and I had gone to a club to see someone perform, and we were having a great time.  All of a sudden people were running and screaming, “There is an Arabic Guy coming to kill us!” We guided everyone into the bathroom, and we were all huddled in one stall.  As he walked in the bathroom, I turned to my mom and told her I loved her, because I knew we were going to die.  Then I woke up.

I checked my phone to see news of the Pulse nightclub shooting.  I haven’t been right since.  Because, What the FUCK?!?! If that’s a Gift from God, I’m not sure how he expects me to use it.  Since that dream, I’ve only been able to remember parts of.  But I’m still afraid of where my mind will take me some nights. This World . . . This World is stressing me OUT.

I haven’t even talked about what’s been going on in my LIFE this year.  I probably won’t. Because my burdens are small compared to those of others.  Problems have come up, I’ve solved them, the best way I know how.  Maybe, when I’m famous, I’ll talk about how my life changed in 2016.  ‘Cuz it surely has.

This post is all over the place. It’s not very coherent (in my opinion). But I promised my Therapist (yes, I have one of those now) I would take at least 15 minutes to write. And I try to keep my promises, especially when they are basically homework toward healing.

I’mma Keep Runnin . . . Or My Fan-Girl Reaction to Lemonade

Your. Fave. Could. Never.  That’s the first thing you need to know.  I don’t care who your Fave is. They could NEVER be Beyonce.  Not ever in life. Not with training, not by drinking her bath water.  Not by living with her for 10 years.  YOUR FAVE COULD NEVER.  {YFCN}

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, Lets Talk about Lemonade.

beyonce-lemonade-video-trailer

Lemonade is a visual representation of the Black Woman Struggle.  It’s every part of a Black Woman’s life.  The Lies, the Love, the Tears, the Anger, the Jealously, the Shame, the Ugliness, the Beauty, but most of all . . . The Pride.  If you finish watching Lemonade, and don’t feel like a Proud Black Woman . . . you did it wrong.  Start all over again. I don’t care if you’re Asian, you should feel like a Proud and Strong Black Woman at the end.

BAAAAABY.  Beyonce said, “Keep Trying ME.” The Visuals, the spoken word (shouts to Warsan Shire) the music.  Every track is immaculate.  Yes, I am fan-girling the FUCK outta this album. Thank you to Tidal for this, because . . . yes.  I have to go Track by Track.  That’s really the only it can be done.

Pray that you catch me

1) Pray That You Catch Me

Ever KNEW your man was cheating.  Every sign pointed to him being an Ain’t Shit Type of Nigga, but you wanted to hold on to the part of you that feels like you can’t get played.  That’s this song.  She knows he’s cheating, she is praying that he knows that she knows.  While watching this with my Twitter Family, we were all like . . . hold on wait?!?! Is this about Jay? This is actually my least favorite song on this album. Not because it’s not good . . . they just all get consistently better.
hold up

2) Hold Up

Beyonce was walking down the the street, with a bat.  In wit’ dem micros flowing free.  All types of Bey from Destiny’s Child.  Like . . . everything.  Her in that yellow, smashing windows and breaking shit. She’s my Angry Black Girl Hero. Then she had the nerve to drive over all them cars with a Big Ass Truck.  Look Here, Don’t fuck with Beyonce. She is crazy.  And I LOVE it.

 

Don't Hurt Yourself

3) Don’t Hurt Yourself feat. Jack White

Angry Beyonce who curses is so much of the things. First, Jack White?!?!? Your Fave Could Never. Lets talk about these lyrics tho . . .

Who the Fuck Do you I am?

You ain’t married to no Average Bitch Boy!

You gone watch my fat ass twist boy, 

As I bounce to the next Dick Boy. 

Again, all of Twitter was like wait . . . what did Jay do to her?  Do we gotta hate him now? Is we fighting him in the face? Cuz why is Bey this mad?!?! At this point, Jay’s twitter mentions were in SHAMBLES. Men and women were like “Jay, I mean we can’t even help you out.  You done fucked up now.”

i ain't sorry

4) Sorry

Then she showed up with all her girls, in a bus. Throwing up middle fingers, and saying, “Fuck em’ Girl, Fuck Em'” AND had Serena Williams twerking in a video! But once again, them lyrics.   I have to admit, I was more than a little concerned at this point.  Cuz ummmmm, again, why is she so mad?!?

I love this Beyonce, not afraid to curse, to be real about her life (maybe) and talking about all the facets of her relationship (maybe). Best Line of the Song . . . “He betta call Becky wit tha Good Hair.” Bish WHET?!?!? Now we gotta be mad at any bish named Becky?!?!?

6 inch

5) 6 Inch feat. The Weeknd

Just . . . yes.  I’ve been waiting for this collaboration.  I can’t even tell you what this song is about {honestly, I think it’s about a working girl who wears 6 Inch Heels}.  I got caught up in the sampling of Walk On By by Isaac Hayes.  That guitar riff.  EVERYTHING. Seriously Guys, at this point I was just so much in my feelings at the beauty of the visuals. I had to stop tweeting, and just breathe.

daddy lessons

6) Daddy Lessons

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAS Come Through with this Country Song. She said, “Hey Taylor Swift . . . fuck you.” And she started it with Zydeco music.  This visuals for this one were beautiful.  You get this home movie with Beyonce and her Dad which then switched into a video of Blue Ivy and Matthew.  At this point, I think we all breathe a sigh of relief, maybe it was about Matthew and Tina, and not Jay and B.  Okay, maybe that was just me.  Either way. I was able to deal a little bit better.

Love Drought7) Love Drought

At this point, the visuals changed, and along with them the message (at least for me)  From talking about Self, to the purity of having your sister’s behind you.  To having women in your life you can build you up when you are down. These women, in white in a river, gives me this feeling of being cleansed and washing off all the weight of the past.

Sand castles

8) Sandcastles

At this point, I started crying. Because . . . OH MY GOOD SAWEET LORD! It came out that Prince said in an interview, that Beyonce needed to learn to play the piano, it would take her to another level. Like . . . . Seriously.  I’m tearing up right now remembering that clip.  Because This whole WEEK has been shitty. I still haven’t processed the loss of Prince.  It felt like he was saying . . . “If they listen, I will guide them.” Plus, the VISUALS. Jay-Z at his most vulnerable.  With his hand on her ankle, laying in bed just basking in her. Sitting there holding her. Y’all #GOALS.

Black Moms

9) Forward

AGAIN, TEARS. This whole montage of Black Mothers and Children, in PAIN because of their loss at the hands others.  The PAIN in Mike Brown’s mother’s eyes . . . I lost it. These mothers, who raised beautiful Black Men, only to lose them in such a violent way.

Don’t ever say Beyonce doesn’t care about her people, don’t ever say she doesn’t understand or know the plight of her people.  Don’t Ever Say Beyonce isn’t WOKE.  She’s 6 Liters of Monster Energy Drink and 18 Cups of Coffee type WOKE. She doesn’t even have to set alarm clocks, she just wakes up on her own.  

Again, Your Fave Could Never.

Freedom

10) Freedom feat. Kendrick Lamar

Hands down my favorite song on the album.  The message of Black Power, of Black Female Empowerment, of Black Beauty coming in every shade, size (maybe), and age.

Freedom, Freedom I Can’t Move!

Freedom Cut Me Loose!

Freedom, Freedom Where are you?

Cuz I need Freedom too!

I break chains all by myself, won’t let my Freedom rot in Hell,

Im’ma Keep Running cuz a Winner don’t Quit on themselves!

black girls are awesome

Lets talk about this Visual.  You got Zendaya, Chloe and Hallie, and Amandla Stenberg. {Judge me not, I don’t know who the other girls are} Like, WHAT?!?!?

Beyonce called people and was like, “Look, I need you to come sit.  You don’t have a speaking part, I just need you to sit on some stuff.  There may be chairs, steps, perhaps a tree? You Down?” 

And EVERYONE SAID YES. Cuz at this point in life, you don’t say no to Beyonce.  You just Don’t. Can we also discuss Michaela Deprince and her ballet.  Yes Chile’ get it.  Beyonce is here for all the little black girls with a dream.
blue feeding Jay

11) All Night Long

At this point, I was so drenched in Love, and Black Pride, and happiness.  And then we get Family Home Videos?!?! Beyonce pregnant, do you SEE how cute Blue Ivy was as a baby! It’s just so much of all the things I needed today. The home movies, plus the beautiful pictures of all kinds of love.  Black Love, and Queer Love, and Interracial Love, and Young Love, and Old Love.  Tina and Richard! Come on now! So Damn Beautiful.

formation

12) Formation

Look here, she didn’t even have this in the Visual Album.  That’s how much she knew we didn’t even need this again.  What she had just given us was MORE than enough.  We thought Formation was the beginning of the Movement, and it was the Culmination of the Journey. 

Beyonce

Look, I’ve been an admitted fan of Beyonce since I Am Sasha Fierce. But Lemonade is everything I’ve been trying to tell everyone Beyonce could and can be.  This was like a therapy session, FOR FREE.  Twin said, “This should have been called Daddy issues Part 1,” and she ain’t eva lied.

She talked about generational curses, and the WORK it takes to break free of them, as well as the power that comes to women when they finally break free. I’m not really sure what I expected this to be. But I can tell you what it ended up being for me.

Magic.  

Black Girls are Magic.  Black Girls can do and be whatever the hell we want to be. Beyonce is the most magical Black Girl some people have ever seen.  Beyonce’s Magic appears to be effortless, even as she shows us all her flaws.  As I’m sitting here, watching Lemonade from the beginning on my phone {because it just feels more intimate} I am in Awe of what Beyonce has become. As well as excited for where she is going to take us next.

Also, YOUR FAVE COULD NEVER. 

Thanks for taking this journey with me.  How did Lemonade change YOUR life? Feel free to share.