Tag Archive | Growing Up

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.

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.

Free Write: Souled Out – Jhene Aiko

*This album just appeared in my dropbox.  We don’t ask questions.*

 

48 Minutes of Goodness

Track #1 – Limbo

I got off work early, and felt the need to write. I got home, packed up all my stuff and made my way to my local Starbucks.  The minute I say down, all my motivation left me. I’ve never had that happen to me.  Starbucks in my safe place, my writer’s Haven as it were.  Suddenly the smell of coffee did nothing to entice me.  The creative juices refused to flow.  I tried so hard to get in the groove, looked at blogs I had left in my drafts, and NOTHING. Immediately I was unsettled.  Does this mean my writing talent is gone? Do I hate Starbucks now? WHAT IS LIFE?

Track #2 – W.A.Y.S

Clearly, as I’m currently sitting here {in my Living room} writing, it’s not gone. But I think the need to escape to Starbucks to write had more to do with escaping the clutter I lived in at the time.  A place where I could stretch out and just create.  NowI have that, at home. Crazy! Sitting on the couch in my living room is just as peaceful to me as sitting at the table at Maple and Orchard Lake used to be. I can finally write at home.  That hasn’t happened in . . . 5 years. The last time I wrote at a place I was living was my first Apartment in Arizona.

Track #3 – To Love & Die ft. Cocaine 80’s

I’m currently on a Celibacy Quest until January of 2016.  It’s a Quest because penis’ seem to throw themselves at me.  I’ll be minding my own business, and one will just pop up in my face. I had to fight them off in Michigan! The two years I spent in Michigan – was like Bad Decision Amusement Park.  I tried out all the rides, had entirely too many ups and downs before I landed on my own two feet.  I opened new doors, closed one or two, and tried my best to put my past behind me.  Admitting that you ruined a friendship with sexual tension sucks.

Track #4 – Spotless Mind

I regret some of the choices I’ve made in the past 2 years.  Maybe regret isn’t the right word.  I wish I would have been as mature then as I am now.  I was hurting, and male attention is – and always has been – my coping mechanism. {Read: Daddy Issues} What was supposed to be a one time escapade, became something that somehow cheapened our friendship. Sex really does ruin everything.  He was the first person I’ve ever had sex with, that I felt an actual emotional connection with. It meant something to me. It shouldn’t have, I told him it didn’t. We swore it wouldn’t change our friendship, one that we’d had for 10+ year.  It did tho.  Suddenly, I felt like he wasn’t paying me enough attention.  I wanted to see him all the time, I wanted him to comfort me when I had a bad day at work. Sex is stupid. It ruins everything . . . and I really really really miss my friend.

Track #5 – It’s Cool

Admitting all of that felt good.  So let’s just keep admitting things.  I’m attracted to at least 2 people I shouldn’t be.  Not JUST because they are in relationships, but because liking them violates my personal – although twisted – moral code.  We don’t like our friend’s ex’s.  Ex HumpBuddy, Ex Boyfriend, Ex Fiance, Ex Husband. You don’t do it. But every time I see these two people, I try to justify stepping outside of the boundaries I set for myself in 1997. {Yes, I know the year, it was a very traumatic one for me}

Track #6 – Lyin King

Back when I was a Jezebel . . . I used to call guys I liked, and tell them I had a dream about them in order to peak their interest.  Then say, “Hey, why don’t you come over for dinner, I can tell you all about it.” This usually lead to Bow Chikka Wow Wow.  Best trick ever! In the last 4 days, I’ve had 6 . . . six . . . seis . . . dreams about men in my life. Some very graphic, some super awkward, some very comforting . . . but all of them made me want to reach out to these men, and just talk to them.  However, my current Sabattical restrictions mean I can’t.

Track #7 – Wading (Played this Twice.  It goes)

This whole learning restraint, and practicing it thing . . . I’m kind of proud of myself to be honest.  Most of my friends don’t think I will or can last until 2016. But it’ve done it before . . . of course that was because I didn’t know anyone in AZ and I wasn’t actively trying to meet anyone.  The goal is to focus on self.  To accomplish my goals – the reasons for moving back here – on my own.  Without being able to attribute any failures or successes to anyone but myself. “I was sad because so and so didn’t come over; I missed that deadline because I was hanging out with so and so; etc.” I used to do that all the time . . . blame events/feelings/emotions on other people.  Now that I have acknowledged it, I have to stop doing it, right? That’s the plan anyway. I’ve been here about 100 days, and stayed focused.

Track #8 – The Pressure

That’s not to say shit hasn’t come out of the woodwork since I’ve been back.  People have showed up out of the blue, people I thought I would never talk to again.  Funny the things you choose to deal with, and what you won’t.  When I decided to be celibate, I lost male friends. Because they tried to test me . . . CRAZY to me. When I was 12, my best friend at the time told me, “Boys and Girls can’t be friends for real.  Someone always likes the other one, even if they know it’s just a friendship.” My best friend was a Boy. AWKWARD. I mean, sure I had a crush on him but it’s not like I acted on it.

Track #9 – Brave

Consciousness has ruined my life.  Most of the behaviors I used to put up with/act on/ allow others to justify currently annoy the SHIT out of me. This is another reason I’ve kept to myself.  It’s unfair to assume everyone should think like me. It’s not their fault they don’t see the world the same way I do.  Ferguson brought that to the forefront for me once again.  I had already lost interest in certain movies and music and people when I became conscious of how prevalent Misogyny and Sexism is in the world around me.  Now, once again, I can see all the Systematic Racism in America.

Track #10 – Eternal Sunshine

I’m annoyed easily now.  I want to do more to change the world.  I judge myself that I’m not doing more to help those less fortunate than me.  It’s difficult to put into intelligent words this feeling of . . . Do Better, Be Better. Someone asked on twitter tonight what kind of volunteer work people were doing, and I couldn’t chime in.  At least when I was working full time, I had an excuse.  But now . . . what is my excuse? I can justify my lack of involvement  . . . but it’s a lazy and self righteous justification.  My life isn’t hard right now, so why aren’t I don’t something?

Track #11 – Promises

I refuse to commit to or admit to – on paper or on screen – my true goals.  I’ve become very paranoid about letting people know my wishes and dreams.  I once spoke them freely, and not only did “friends” try to tear them down and destroy them . . . I really think they wished/prayed for me to fail. This lack of trust that lives inside of me is new. It’s unfortunate as well, at least to me. But it’s needed.  Another layer of protection from hurt.  But I need to start working on my plans I made when I first got here.  I’m afraid to fail, because I’ve finally figured out what I want to do.

Track #12 – Pretty Bird

If you had asked me at the beginning of this Free Write the goal . . . I would have said a poem of sorts.  That’s what is so awesome to me about doing a Free Write to music.  I’ve always said you don’t pick the music, the music picks you. This album was a great one to listen to while I tried to sort out my thoughts/feelings.  When I couldn’t write at Starbucks, I felt a way. I had on the wrong type of music. I also wasn’t in my safe space.

But I’m Home Now, and my mind/soul is clear. If you got this far, thanks for reading.  Cop the Album too.  It’s pretty good 🙂

 

 

 

 

The Revolution will be Live Tweeted

Posted on my Facebook TL by me Re: The Tony Stewart Fatal Car Accident –
I bet they will publicize this more than  what’s taking place in Ferguson right now.

This is the beginning of a new phase in my life.  The part of my life in which, I can no longer be your “Safe Black Friend.” I’ve decided to instead be the friend who forces you to see how Race and racism is a daily occurrence in MY life. It must be stated before this potentially long blog, that I really did think I was white until I was about 7.

Not, I wanted to be white.  I thought I was white.  I thought I looked like all the dolls my father purchased for me, and the friends I had at the private school I attended.  I never looked in the mirror, not because I was afraid of what I would see, but because I truly believed I was a reflection of my peers.  My mother’s hairdresser’s children quite roughly set me on the right path. This was also around the time a friends mom wouldn’t let me sleep over because, “I’m not sure she knows how to act. You never know with her kind.” I thought she meant girls.

Race doesn’t matter to me. All of our poop is brown, so who cares.  Racism on the other hand, matters a great deal. My upbringing made me this way.  When other people were watching Roseanne and Martin, I was watching Eyes on the Prize on PBS. That’s the kind of Mom I have.  She wanted me to be informed of my history, so I knew the kind of world I was facing before she sent me out in it to fend for myself as an adult. My mother truly believes Knowledge is Power, and it was her goal to give me as much Power as she could.

News or Media: Are they the same?

Michael Brown, Jr was killed around noon on August 9th, 2014.  I didn’t see any mention of Ferguson on any major news network until Tuesday Night.  It didn’t show up on my Facebook TL until Thursday – in posts other than those belonging to myself and my Soror Amber.  It was on my Twitter TL Saturday afternoon. I was already following @nettaaaaaaaa, because she is hilarious. She is in STL, had heard of the unrest and went to investigate.

The beauty of Twitter is that you can connect with anyone in just one tweet.  #BlackTwitter proved it’s complete and utter worth in less than 24 hours.  Minute to minute updates, with pictures and video about what was happening.  Every night, I logged on to Twitter, and found out EXACTLY how it was happening. Just as they did with #JusticeForTrayvon, they made #Ferguson and #MikeBrown trending topics in major cities.  Ferguson residents DEMANDED justice.  They took to the streets, and marched for what they wanted.

They also demanded someone know the police were basically occupying their streets, seemingly to stop them from exercising their right to protest. They tweeted to @CNN and all the local news stations.  They tweeted @HuffingtonPost and @NYTimes and demanded they cover what was happening.  I’ve always heard people say news stations report what they want you to see.  Never before had I seen it In Living Color.

When a protester was shoved onto the ground by an angry police officer, CNN was reporting the crowd was becoming more aggressive.  But @ElonJames and @Vandalyzm were posting video of the incident to refute what was being reported.  If, in the example of the now Iconic picture below, a resident was throwing a Tear Gas Can, MSNBC was reporting that the protestors were retaliating angrily.  In real life, he posted on his TL he was protecting the children who were in the crowd with him.

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Operation Help or Hush

{For Clarification Purposes: You don’t have to be Black to be a member of #BlackTwitter.}

#BlackTwitter is a place people come together to talk, a lot, about the problems of the world, mainly superficially.  We  all complain and post about the societal topic of the day, then we usually move to less trying and often petty conversation.    But everyone should be afraid, because those of us who belong to this literal World Wide Web of people, have started to understand the power #BlackTwitter holds. In having so many residents of the greater STL area posting about the murder of #MikeBrown, and the subsequent protests, it was too in our face.  We saw people reaching out for help on an hourly basis.

The Beautiful @SheSeauxSaditty was tired of talking.  She decided to do.  She decided to ask for donations of money (and later the creation of an Amazon Wishlist) to help purchase supplies needed for protesters in Ferguson.  They raised more than $9100 in less than 18 hours, and then set out to provide bagged lunches, water bottles, gas masks, cooling towels, and a plethora of other essentials for the residents of Ferguson, and those who had come to march in solidarity.

Twitter did that.  Social media did that.  The pride from seeing that develop, even though I had no part in it (other than to donate) is immense.  Its like looking at the beginning of something that is going to eventually become a part of every struggle/movement/experience where people have a need.  Kudos to you, Nona.  I’m inspired to be better because of the impact I’ve seen you make in these last two weeks.

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#NMOS14

I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention @FeministaJones and the creation of the National Moment of Silence.  She used her more than 34,000 followers to create one moment in time, when people all over the country – even the world – could come together and be seen, heard, and comforted.

Back in the day, it took weeks to execute what she did in less than a week.  Listing a city, and that you wanted to have a moment of silence was enough for people all around the country to coordinate and spread the message. Hundreds of thousands of people, standing together showing their solidarity for #Ferguson and all those men and women that Racism Killed.

Ignorance is Bliss

By Wednesday of last week (Aug 13,2014) I was exhausted. I spent ALL of my free time on Twitter, retweeting articles, and live accounts of what was going on. Posting links on my Facebook TL, which for some reason had been taken over by the ALS Ice Challenge.  Why was no one talking about this?!?! Where was the outrage?!?! No one at work was angry!  Half the time if I tried to bring it up in conversation , I first had to explain who #MikeBrown even was! How could this be happening in 2014.

My constant exposure, via Twitter and MSNBC {shoutout to Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddow who are EVERYTHING}, gives me the distinct ability – nay, responsibility – to inform people of the truth! Yet, I’ve been batted down at every turn.  Told that they were fine getting their info from the local news and CNN. They didn’t need to read all the op-ed and think pieces, and to remember everything isn’t about race. Justice will prevail, and he shouldn’t have robbed the store in the first place, and if those people would just stop marching, this will all die down in another week.

 LOTS of people were unfriended this week, many more were unfollowed.  

If you want to live in a blissful and calm world, you have that right.  If you believe thousands of people tweeting about the same event, in real time, is somehow LESS reliable than Don Lemonn, go right ahead.  If you take everything at face value, and believe Propaganda isn’t actually a thing . . . I will acknowledge your right to make your own choices.

Of course, I can also acknowledge that you are stupid, and I don’t want your stupidity tainting my TL anymore.

A Black Man’s Existence 

{Due to my extreme lack of being about to figure out Storify, the link is below} 
Tuesday Night, I happened to come across the TL of a young Black Man roughly my age, ‘free tweeting’ about how #Ferguson is affecting him.  Something he said really struck me.
  1. Fifty years. Fifty years and we still have damn near the same problems. Didn’t seem like it a month ago. But I’m scared. I’m hurt.
    I donate clothes. I give food for the food banks. I even played SANTA CLAUS at my daughter’s school. Yet I’m hurting over Ferguson.
    I’m hurt because at 18, that could have been ME. Whether the cop was racist or scared, the fact remains that Mike Brown is dead.

The Revolution will be Live Tweeted

Change is created when several elements come together at just the right time.  Too many people are hurt.  Too many people are angry.  Too many people know families who have lost loved ones at the hands of Law Enforcement.  Too many people have cried, and yelled, and marched silently expecting results. Too many people have counted on the justice system for justice.  Too many mothers have been afraid for their children to leave the house.  Too many times of being Sick, and Tired, and Hurt, and Angry, and Confused.

 My mother said to me about Ferguson, “It used to be lynching.  They used to have picnics under the hanging bodies with their families.  It used to be a town event.” My response: The time for supplication and silence is over.  We, and yes I include myself in this declaration of my generation, are tired of being part of the problem.  We have decided to be the solution.  You can’t teach us to love everyone, and yet tell us that some people just don’t want to change.  What’s good for the goose is just as good for the Gander.

The ENTIRE world is watching these young adults and families and children march in the streets and demand justice.  The Whole World is looking at an entire county of Police Officers abuse their power.  The Whole World is watching #Ferguson.  Keep doing what you are doing.  Yell and March and Make Demands.  Fight for your rights to be treated fairly and as equals.  Continue to create the uncomfortable moments on TV when anchors HAVE to talk about race in this country.

{The} Election of Obama was supposed to usher in post-racial America, but evoked white backlash instead.    

– @dpgushee (Aug 20, 2014)

The Story of My Life . . . or Holy Shyt! I’m 32

*Editor’s Note: I started this blog in January.  Actually finished it, then never published it.  I know why now.*

Every year, I TRY to post a blog about what I’ve learned over that previous year.  With my Birthday being so close to the New Year, it’s usually just my yearly recap as well.  This time, I’m going to do it a little bit differently.  After another one of my “I haven’t gotten any sleep in the last 48 hours” Epiphanies, I realized that I can actually pinpoint the times my life took a direction I wasn’t expecting.  The first 17 years of my life aren’t going to be discussed here . . . mostly because I’m lazy.

All Denim Outfit . . .No One Loved me.

All Denim Outfit . . .No One Loved me.

The University of Dayton

No, we start with my first step into adulthood.  The moment I decided I was GROWN! I stood at the West Bloomfield post office, mailed that acceptance letter, and that was all she wrote! I was going to be the female Bill Gates, and change the world of computers.  *Mind you, I didn’t visit the school, didn’t know what it looked like, they just gave me the most money. So they won.* But I MUST admit, best decision I’ve ever made. The friends I made there, the people I met, the experiences I had . . . wouldn’t have had it any other way.  University of Dayton lead me to Zeta, and my Degree in Education (more on that later), my closest friends, love, hurt, fear, anger, and most importantly – Understanding of Myself.  On May 3, 2003, I graduated knowing EXACTLY who I wanted to be.

13 Years Ago . . .

14 Years Ago . . .

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

It SHOULD be common knowledge that Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. is the Greatest Sorority in the Nation.  But if you didn’t know, now you know, sucka! I joined ZPhiB because I wanted to be the kind of woman ZPhiB represented.  What I didn’t expect, could have never imagined, was the Family.  The Women I call Sister, not just Soror. The two women who grew up right beside me.  Who dealt with my Sophomore Year Depression, who dried my tears, and had numerous sleepovers with me.  The Women who taught me how to create a Programme, and put on a Dove Ball, and STEP.

Ryders of the Storm

Ryders of the Storm

Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.

Even more unexpected (and judge this next statement if you want) The Men I Call Brother. R.O.T.S changed my life. Not just because LeRoy was the scariest dude I had ever met in my life, but because they PROTECTED us.  From Greek Life Bullshit, and everyday Bullshit.  They knew how Naive we were, and they shielded us from so much more than we ever knew.  The Blu Bond is so sacred to me, and is still very much prevalent in my life. What I’ve learned, and cherished the most in these 14 years, is that Family can come out of nowhere.  These 3 Men, will forever be referred to as my Brothers, not my Frat.

2nd Best Kitchen I've Ever Had

2nd Best Kitchen I’ve Ever Had

My First Apartment

Having my own place was so freeing! I FINALLY had my own space.  I didn’t have to fear my mom randomly knocking on my door. You mean I can have HOUSE PARTIES. Kait and I entered in that adventure with the best of intentions.  We were going to be the only Best Friends that moved in together and didn’t hate each other.  The Road to Hell is paved with Good Intentions… The loss of that Friendship shook me to my core.  Not because I had known her forever, or because it was unexpected. But I saw that for the first time Money and Friends should NEVER mix.  We weren’t fighting over anything emotional, it was about her breaking her lease. *To move in with the man she eventually married but still…* Add to that, I spent 3 months without a JOB! As my support system from age 13 to 24 was leaving me high and dry rent wise, I had no idea what I was going to do.  Moving home wasn’t an option. So I began to hustle.  I had 3 part time jobs, 2 that were under the table (gotta collect that unemployment), and I babysat whenever I could.  I learned then, I’ll never be unemployed.  Because the Hustle is STRONG within me. I worked my way out of that rut, got a porn star roommate – no really, she did Porn – and Lived It The Fcuk Up.

These Two Ladies Saved My Life . . .

These Two Ladies Saved My Life . . .

The Triad

Words can’t even . . . The Triad is the Polyamorous Relationship everyone wish they had.  These two Women showed me what Friendship is supposed to be.  No Judgements, No Fear, No Regrets.  You live your life, you learn from the pain, and You Move On.  Diamond and Aaliyah were my anchors in the storm that was my early to mid 20’s. We Drank, (they) Smoked, and we Loved HARD. The nights/weekends/days we spent laying on someone’s floor crying and bitching about Men and Women! The Ex’s that we still talk to, the tradition of emailing each other all day, the Wearing White in public the day after Labor Day.

The children, and road-trips, and music that happened from 2005-2007. I don’t even talk to them every month. Doesn’t matter, the minute we are on the phone it’s like nothing has ever changed.  I’m my true self with them.  Not the woman I wanted to be post Graduation, but somehow better. Nothing seemed out of reach, everything was a great idea.  If later I found out it wasn’t, didn’t matter. We Laugh/Drink/Cry about, and Move The Fuck On.

To See a Mountain is to See God

To See a Mountain is to See God

Moving to AZ

And I did . . .right to Arizona.  With intentions of going back to school, and getting my teaching certification.  I was gonna fix my relationship with my Dad, so I could finally get rid of those Daddy Issues, and find love . . . Arizona started out as a peaceful place to me.   Instead of teaching children, I found a job teaching Teachers how to teach Children. I found my professional voice in AZ. In Michigan, I’m surrounded by family and friends who discount my knowledge of children because I don’t have any of my own. In Arizona, people assumed I was an expert. Took a little while to realize I actually kind of am. My love for children was confirmed there.  My life path was made certain.  Arizona was everything I didn’t know I wanted.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, I thought I had also found the man I was going to spend the rest of my life with.

 

The Mexican

me and eric

Loving you is the best thing that ever happened to me.  It’s also the worst.  You changed me, turned me into a person I didn’t even know I could be, or wanted to be.  The last thing you said to me, in anger, was “You are just a faint memory. I’ve almost forgotten you existed.”  Even with that much hate in your voice, I remembered when it was beautiful.  When the love I saw in your eyes made every day worth living.  If I never see your face, and never hear your voice again, I Loved You.   In a way I had only read about in romance novels and Donny Hathaway songs.  For everything losing you took away, it gave me twice as much.  So for that, I saw Thank You. For showing me who my true friends are, and because you helped me stop hiding behind my weight. You were Loved Sir.

When I think of Home

My Mommy and Me

My Mommy and Me

I left AZ because I was devastated and I couldn’t be there.  Up until the point, the House I Bought was the Reason He Wasn’t There. Everything about my house reminded me of a loss I still can’t began to describe.  Emotionally, I was a 17 year old girl who had lost her 1st Love. I needed my Mommy.  I’m okay with admitting that.  I needed a break from those last 18 months.  My Mother Saved Me. I’m just glad I was Woman enough to admit I needed to be Saved. What I didn’t know is that I had been in a Domestic Violence relationship, and I needed to understand and forgive myself for letting it happen in the first place.

The Job I got once I moved back to Michigan healed me. I took the job thinking it would be just another opportunity to help children.  I was part of a team that worked everyday to save lives.  We worded to heal people who have been hurt/violated by people they love. We educate women (and men) about Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.  My clients, these brave and frustrating women taught me so much about how Trauma follows you your whole life if you don’t address it. My job taught me Accountability.  Owning up to the choices I’ve made in my life and their impact on me and others. My co-workers brought back my happy. In the completely emotionally damaged world we work, I smiled more than I cried. I looked forward to seeing them, and hopefully they felt the same about me.  We are a Strange Group of People, those of us who choose to do Social work, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I have to take a second to shoutout TIITC.  Never shall he be named, but he helped me realize that not all men are assholes.  He found me beautiful at my ugliest, and he let me cry on his couch when my Nephew died.  I wouldn’t have made it without him.  Thanks TIITC, you are loved as well 🙂

Finally, MJ has come BACK to 3013!

Finally, MJ has come BACK to 3013!

Which leads me back . . . to Arizona. Somewhere in the 4 years I lived there, it became Home.  I felt displaced in Michigan. I didn’t have my own space, I couldn’t live the life I wanted there.  I now crave warm weather, and mountains. I want two dogs in my backyard and Sundays at Mt. Lemmon.  I want Holiday dinners at 4 different houses with at least 3 different cultures represented.  I want to be called Aunt Marisa and ‘ARisa and Mz. Joy by children playing in my front yard. It’s time for me to stop licking healed wounds.  I’m finally stronger than that Pain. I leave you with an Eminem Lyric that perfectly illustrates my current mindset…

 But you won’t break me, You’ll just make me,

Stronger than I was, Before I met you

 I bet you I’ll be just fine without you

And if I stumble, I won’t crumble

I’ll get back up and I….

And I’mma still be humble, When I scream fuck you

Cause I’m stronger than I was – Marshall Mathers

 

Words and Sounds of my Life: Sam Smith – Lay Me Down (Acoustic Version)

Last night on SNL, I was introduced to Sam Smith. I might have cried during his second performance. I mean, I’m not going to admit to anything . . . but maybe my eyes have allergies or something.  Either way, the song he was singing was called Lay Me Down.  There he was, singing my life with his song. 

You told me not to cry when you were gone
But the feeling’s overwhelming, they’re much too strong
Can I lay by your side, next to you, you
And make sure you’re alright
I’ll take care of you
And I don’t wanna be here if I can’t be with you tonight

This is how I used to feel, every time I got in a fight with The Mexican.  It didn’t matter if he had hurt me, demeaned me, or betrayed me in some way. I just needed to lay down with him, and cry it out.  That kind of safety . . . its mostly indescribable.

Two weeks ago, I was betrayed by 3 different people in less than a week.  And there was no one there, to lay with.  No one there so I could lay my head on his chest, and just cry at the injustice of it all.  I couldn’t wallow, not even for a minute that someone stole something from me I couldn’t ever get back.

I’m reaching out to you
Can you hear my call? (Who’s to say you won’t hear me?)
This hurt that I’ve been through
I’m missing you, missing you like crazy

As with everything, I’ll get over it.  I don’t miss The Mexican every day. Or once a week. Or even once a Month. I DO miss the Safety I felt at that time in my life.  I miss THAT every day.  Every time I feel a pang, I wonder if that’s ever going to go away.  The sense of urgency that comes when I realize I don’t have that anymore. The understanding that fear isn’t going to let me even open myself up to finding it again. I wonder when Fear isn’t going to be my first response to a new situation.

I wonder . . . Until then I say Thank You Sam Smith, for making me write this very brief blog. And for your music. That’s going to be devoured by your newest fan from here on out.

P.S. Adele gave him a shout out on Twitter like 6 Months ago.  I’m so late!

Soooooooooo, Here’s the Thing…

 
*For the purposes of this blog, the following definitions must be stated*

Choice: the opportunity or power to choose between two or more possibilities : the opportunity or power to make a decision

Validate: to recognize, establish, or illustrate the worthiness or legitimacy of {something}

Suffer: to become worse because of being badly affected by something

While in the process of writing this book – thanks to a challenge from my sisfer Erin – I’ve been looking over lots of my old writings. Sometimes, I’ve shared with people the stuff I’ve found.  I am, in a very real sense, a digital hoarder.  I save most emails, AIM/Yahoe Conversations, even drafts of text messages I never sent.  I pay for Handcent Premium so I can save my text messages in the event I have to get a new phone.  It’s a serious issue.

Since I started using MySpace to blog, I’ve made a very conscious decision to save things I felt mattered to me.  Or would mean something in the future.  95% of the time I was actually correct.  I’m tell you all this because after spending all this time looking at my past – and trying to figure out why I make certain life choices – I’ve come to several decisions/conclusions/realizations.  These are some, not all. The list is actually quite extensive.

1) With Adulthood, Comes Censorship

I used to curse all the time.  Every other word was shit or damn or fuck. It was in my every day vernacular, and I didn’t care how it affected anyone around me.  I wish I still felt it was okay to speak that way.  It’s easier when you aren’t thinking about the ramifications of your actions/words.  I wrote whole blogs about how much I hated people and their actions.  I even used full government names.  I so didn’t care.

July 2009, I got my first professional job. People could Google me… I was on the first page.  I locked my Twitter Account, made my FB unsearchable, and never used my name on this blog.  People were looking to me for a very specific kind of thing, and them searching my name and finding Save a Horse – Ride a Big Girl wasn’t exactly what I needed to happen.  My blogs become much more broad, and lacked lots of personal details.  In real life, I was still expressing myself. I just chose to do it a different way.

It should be noted, I’m tired of censoring myself. This means, I’m not going to spare your feelings if you have hurt mine. I’ve always been an asshole, I had just started to be more tactful when I said asshole things. That’s gone.

2) Accountability is a thing now . . . 

Another major change in my life is my current job.  The fact that it saved me notwithstanding, it’s taught me what it means to be fully accountable for the choices you make.  Good/Bad/Indifferent you control your life.  No other human being can make you do anything, without you at one point giving them permission to do so. *DV/SA/Trauma Situations excluded of course*

Even if you are traumatized by something that happens in your life, it’s your CHOICE to wallow and suffer afterward.  Everyone has the right to recover, process, and deal with our lives.  Suffering is a CHOICE. Stop blaming shit on your friends, and your parents, and your ex-boyfriend. You made a choice to drink that night, you made a choice to borrow that money for the loan, you made a choice to stay with him/her after they cheated.

I don’t do Victims anymore.  Because I am NOT one. So we can talk and make a plan about how you are going to deal with your issues, but I will NOT help you be sad/mad/angry/sad ever again.

3) Own Your Shit

Right along with #2, stop trying to seek validation from other people for your choices. “It was just weighing down on me, I had to say something.” What the FUCK for?!?!?  I didn’t want that guilt, it’s not mine to have.  Why must you spread the shit that’s killing you inside? That’s like making Cancer an airborne disease.  Do we do that now? If whatever it is you “need” to tell me isn’t going to make me money, or save my life . . . Please keep that shit to yourself.

Yesterday, I had an existential life crisis about my past relationships and their functionality {or rather, that they only served one function}. I was emo all day. But I dealt with it.  That’s what the FUCK adults do.  You can’t be 32 damn years old, blaming other people for your body count. You just can’t. I had to come to the realization that I was judging myself, based on society’s views of where I should be at this point in my life. FUCK Society tho. She’s a dirty foul whore, who can’t make up her mind.

4) Set Your Own Rules

Live your life the way YOU want to live it. Not the way your parents told you to, not the way your friends think you should, not the way you were taught to in catholic school. Rules are put into place as a guideline, not to be shackles to stop you from being happy.  When you start feeling bad for a CHOICE you’ve made, ask yourself the following questions:

1) Am I Hurting anyone in a way they won’t be able to recover?
1a) If I am hurting someone, does this mean I will lose this relationship and/or can I deal with the loss of it?
2) Am I making this choice to please someone else, or myself?
2a) If I am making this decision to please someone else, is this going to change my life in a positive or a negative way?
3) Am I seeking Validation for this choice?
3a) If I am seeking Validation, is it to be absolved of guilt about this choice?

Live your life on your own terms.  The same people we frequently seek approval from, aren’t doing the same thing when it comes to us.  People make choices that affect our lives everyday, and they didn’t and/or don’t care how you feel about it. As callous as that sounds, it’s very true. I’m not here to validate you.  I’m not here to save you from your bad decision, or the regret you have because of it. I do that everyday at work.  I have taken off my cape, please react accordingly.

5) Trust is Earned, Not Given

I don’t lie. I may omit some truths when meeting people, but, more than likely, if asked I will tell the truth.  For the majority of my life, I thought everyone did the same thing.  The realization that people don’t think like me, and/or live their life with that same philosophy was mind-blowing {only child syndrome}.  It should be noted and acknowledged, as I jump with both feet into the puddle that is my 30’s, I don’t trust you.

Everything that comes out of your mouth is a lie until you prove otherwise.  I’ve seen/heard people lie on and about me to my face in the last few years.  Sometimes people are so used to lying, they forget it’s a lie.  That is their CHOICE. I get to make choices too, and I choose to think everyone is a liar.

Call me jaded, hurt, bitter, etc. I’m okay with that. Because I’m right.

As of right now, I can count the people in my Circle of Trust on 2 hands, and one foot. I’m over giving people an elevated position in my life, and they aren’t living up to it.  Instead of calling them and whining about it, I just made the cut. So That Happened.

*Trust no one who hasn’t earned your trust.
*You only know what people allow you to know.
*Judge yourself by your standards only.
Thank God for granting me this moment of clarity.

Thanks For Reading!

Home is where the Heart Is . . .

You know how people say that, and it pisses you off because what the hell does that even mean?!?! Okay, is that just me? Maybe it is. Whatever don’t judge me, you don’t know my story. (I mean unless you read my blog then you probably know my entire life story.) Anyway, on my recent rip to Arizona, I’ve made some interesting observations that I would like to share.  Here they are . . .

1) I Am A Nomad.

This is a very important observation.  I don’t like being in one place for a long period of time.  I need a variety of scenery, and different things to do.  Without that variety, I get bored, and then I do dumb things.  More than just needing variety, I work better with a very precise set of circumstances.  I need a job that has a variety of responsibilities.  I need to be able to craft my life around my schedule, and not the other way around.  I need to have a readily available support team – be they family or otherwise – I can go to when I need something. As my Sorority Sister once told me, “You are consistently inconsistent.” That’s a very accurate portrayal of me.  I’m a flake, but I’m reliable when I’m not in Flake Mode.

2) Tell People They Matter, before you can’t tell them again . . .

When my Nephew Fred Lux died last month, the only thing I could think about was, “Did he know how much he was loved?” People need to know they are valued.  People should know you rely on them to get through your day.  At work, at home, when you go to the mall . . . Doesn’t really matter.  If you haven’t told them how important they are to you, assume they don’t know.  There were 500+ people at my Nephew’s Funeral . . . Standing Room Only.  People took time off their jobs, on a Wednesday, to make sure his family knew that he was important to everyone he encountered. Tell people they matter.  It’s not just about stroking their ego, it’s about touching their heart.

941299_10153386613930613_1059666991_n3) I will never NOT work with Kids . . .

Kids are the greatest thing ever in life. And not for a weird reason, but because they are the personification of innocence in a very messed up world.  The smile of a child is enough to change the direction of your day . . . If you let it.  I spent this vacation with children for the most part.  My nieces and nephews, the kids I used to babysit when I lived here, and even stopped by my old job.  The thing that struck me was that they remembered me.  Not all of them remembered my name.  But I made a lasting impact in some kind of way.  From a kid saying, ‘Hi Applehead’, to the little girl who couldn’t even speak, she just hugged me until I walked out of the door.  My reason for being, is to work with children.  To educate them, to be a friend, and to help them at whatever stage of life they happen to be in when they cross my path.  The absolute understanding of that concept was baffling to me when I was younger.  At 31, it’s a challenge.  Can I be what I think I’m supposed to  be. Can I live up to that standard? I’m not sure,  but I think so. I’m excited to see just how far I can go!

4)My Father Loves Me . . .

I know that sounds weird, but it has taken me a long time to accept my Father exactly as he is.  For years, I expected him to be what I NEEDED him to be.  Then, I expected him to be what I WANTED him to be. About two years ago, I came to the conclusion that I had been doing it all wrong.  Understanding  you will never be able to control another person’s actions creates a kind of relief.  You can stop holding them to the standards you have set for them.  When I left Arizona, I explained to my Father that I needed something from him, that he wasn’t able to provide.  But I wasn’t upset about it.  I just understood what I needed in my life at that time. But I love my Dad.  For every conversation where he tries to protect me from my own stubbornness, to his gestures of acceptance as weird as they might be to others.  I’m at the point in my life where I’m so GRATEFUL I have two Living Parents.  I can go to them in need of advice, and they actually respect my dilemmas/issues and give me solutions without Judgement.  Growing up is sometimes awesome.

5) True Friends are hard to come by . . . 

I’m not talking about people you see everyday.  I mean the people you don’t talk to for MONTHS, but one phone call makes it feel like they are right next to you.  My Best Friends all have “titles” – White Boy Best Friend, High School Best Friend, Lesbian Best Friend, etc. – But their Best Friend status is not based on their label/title.  It’s based on how/what/when/where/how they have been with me throughout my life.  I’m learning in my old age, friends are there when sometimes family chooses not to be.  I’m grateful for the people who call me friend. Those who listen to me talk about my life, and don’t judge me or my actions.  Those who might have a completely different outlook on life, but still embrace mine.  Friends who teach me how to make a new meal every time I see them, and who don’t judge me for late night texts/IM’s about my dastardly deeds.  I’m really blessed, and appreciative for all of you!

Thanx for Reading!

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?