“I’m not like them, but I can pretend”
For a moment before losing track of the person I promised I would be
Disappearing quietly into myself where the pain persists but at least reality can exist
I am not sure how to continue on like this…
It’s #NaPoWriMo and I will try to keep up with posting poetry pieces featuring lines from my favorite song lyrics. Lord beer me strength, let’s go!
Break ups are rough. I really tried to avoid ever having to go through one again so I fought like hell for my last relationship before calling it quits. Since its ending I’ve struggled with how I should catalog, observe and overthink about all of my emotions aimlessly floating around. I am very much a writer that needs to bleed and share as part of my healing process but I want to be sure I am as respectful as possible addressing break-up-related topics because 1. I eventually want someone to have sex with me again and 2. At one point I REALLY loved that man and have respect for all he’s taught me and the greatness of our time together. I loved him. There are parts of me that still miss him and often, I feel lonely without him.
My inner circle of friends–who are surprisingly rational and pragmatic in spite of the fact that they’re my friends–have prepared me to brace myself for the inevitable loneliness that comes after a break-up and can last well into single life. I am not bothered by the concept of loneliness because it’s a natural ass human emotion and I’ve seen people navigate/have had to navigate through these feelings before. I know beautiful, smart, successful women who still experience that dull ache that sneaks up on them in hidden moments. The problem is that loneliness is sometimes associated with emptiness when I don’t think the two are as closely related as we tend to think. I like being alone, I understand that I am a complete and whole ass person so when I feel lonely I don’t think it has anything to do with being incomplete or empty—I think we just freakin’ need people sometimes! We crave connection.
So…Just Love Yourself, Right?
Self-love is a wonderful thing. It is a long overdue concept, beautiful in its simplicity and practicality yet so easy to neglect. I am glad that it’s the latest buzzword on everyone’s lips and that we are all taking a moment to reflect and think about what it means to truly love ourselves. As with any good thing, it comes with a sprinkle of bad—which is, we can forget the purpose of self-love in the first place. Loving yourself and becoming firm in who you are—protecting your vibe and your spirit—is a practice that helps us to love others better, it’s not just for us. None of us are an island. I mean, good for you if you are the “cut a bitch off in a heartbeat” type of person but you are probably also lonely and acting too tough to admit it. A certain part of me wants to be driven by my anger and heartbreak but I realized from my last two nervous breakdowns
The key to self-actualization is not avoiding experiencing or having to sit in negative emotions. For my personal journey I find that I am at my best when I accept reality and avoid dwelling on negativity. But sometimes shit sucks and I have to acknowledge unhappiness or unpleasantness and I have to feel it through until it’s over. I notice that I have prolonged my depression in the past by running from it or pretending it wasn’t real. It’s like a few weeks ago when I was cleaning the house and sliced my finger open on a piece of broken glass. I didn’t want to go to the hospital, I had shit to do! I didn’t feel like it and I could have probably survived just fine without the drive to drop the kids off at my parent’s house and the additional drive to the hospital. However, I had to grow up and make the trip to get stitches and a stupid tetanus shot even though I wanted to avoid it. The laziness in me didn’t feel like diagnosing a basic ass problem and going to get the shit fixed.
Navigating Loneliness in a Fake Ass World
The stigma of loneliness is the kicker! I held onto my last relationship for about 6 months passed the expiration date because I was afraid of who I was supposed to be when I became single again. I like to be raunchy and ridiculous, crack sex jokes and just be loose and carefree. I worried that I would have to change those things and be more careful about how I present myself because I didn’t want to come off desperate or lonely. I worried that people would be able to sense a lonely vibe from me and judge me because of it. These are all anxieties on top of fretting about how I was going to battle loneliness after severing ties with someone whose title and presence in my life validated me. I was not really pressed to be anyone’s girlfriend until I became one and it was like a sigh of relief. “I belong to someone. Someone, besides me, thinks I’m dope!”
Yeah, none of that shit matters. 1. I was unhappy in my relationship because we were super incompatible so I was battling with loneliness anyway 2. I realize now that loneliness is not really a battle or anything to fight against. It’s one of those shameful emotions associated with weakness so no one wants to admit that they experience it. I always find it ridiculous when we try to shame normal emotions as if they are bad character traits. There is nothing wrong with me, I just want some TLC sometimes!
TLC doesn’t have to come in the form of a large penis and deep voice [at least I chant this to myself daily!] but it can be a quick chat with a friend, a smile exchange with a stranger, or even hugging a pet! Loneliness comes in waves—there are some big ones that can knock you the fuck out. You gotta sit in those, journal about it, think on those feelings while keeping your mind’s eye on the light at the end of the tunnel. That takes hella practice and it is still an excruciating process that may not even pan out in the end. The relief is that sometimes the waves are small. Sometimes, it’s just a splash of water, not enough to drown you but you will need to take a second to regroup and dry off after.
Loneliness is real. While you don’t have to be as TMI as I am being about it, no one should feel they have to deny the emotion or beat themselves up about feeling that way. Reading hateful comments on random social media posts make me feel lonely, watching the chaos and destruction of the world unfold on the news makes me feel lonely. I associate the emotion with disconnection and I’m now
fixated on dedicated to exploring what activities and/or thoughts bring me back to earth and reconnect me with humanity and myself. I am navigating this bullshit, I am not thrilled about it but all aspects of life are not thrilling. I just need to embrace my reality and learn to validate my own emotions while releasing myself of the stigma society attaches to them.
And that’s real…
*For more micro-poetry follow me on Instagram @whiskey_grrl*
I wanted to do something nice for the girls this weekend. I wanted us to go see Black Panther and I wanted to paint their little faces– but I don’t have white paint. So it was going to be black dots– which would be fine because they are low maintenance and they don’t really care about that sort of thing.
I had it planned, I would order the tickets online, we would watch a movie together and when they went to bed I’d tell them that tomorrow we are all going to see Black Panther.
So I tried to order the tickets and the transaction wouldn’t go through. I tried again with updated information and received an email from my bank. Apparently, I didn’t have enough funds in my account to purchase our tickets. That’s not right– because my funds are low but they exist and I know there is enough for this! This, I needed– this, I had planned for…
My bank had counted each error as an actual transaction and taken the money out of my account, placed it back, then took it out again. I sat on the phone on hold with the movie theater for about an hour. I vaguely noticed the chatter of the kids slowly died down. They eventually retired to their room, I still had the phone to my ear feeling frustrated and entirely defeated. Nothing is simple. Ever.
I got off the phone realizing that Black Panther was not going to happen for us this weekend. My money is all crazy and it will likely be awhile before the bank releases it back onto my account. I was disappointed and just sick of living this kind of life. What is the balance? Do you live poorly and save, do you make the most of your money, try to stretch, save and enjoy it? Do you martyr yourself and spend it all on the children? I don’t know the rules. I’m barely even in the game.
“Ok babies, what movie do you want to watch?” I call out to them. Silence. Walking through the foyer I notice the light in their bedroom. Peaking inside I see that and both are fast asleep with the radio on. I walked back into the livingroom, sat on the couch and cried. Is this what motherhood is? Running on a treadmill with the best of intentions and never going anywhere at all?
I don’t know how to juggle any of this. I don’t know what I am doing and I’m just so worried I’m going to screw them up in the process of figuring it all out.
I am watching the 259 thousandth episode of My Little Pony with the kids and have come to the realization that those little ponies are always so super happy because they rarely ever have to interact with dudes. Seriously, male ponies are prominently featured maybe every 5 episodes and appear– with no speaking parts– every other episode or so. That’s the life!
I want to live amongst women a la My Little Pony style or that awesome island where all the tall, hot chicks lived in Wonder Woman. Navigating the sometimes catty and overly communicative ways of women sounds most appealing right now because at the end of the day, at least I know they will respect me and the shit I have to go through every day just to make my life work [including some sort of enjoyment, which I’m beginning to believe men don’t want me to have]. I can barely even command an ounce of respect from the men whose children have permanently stretched my vagina and rendered my bladder completely useless for the rest of my life. Respect in exchange for a pussy the size of a tunnel and the responsibility of raising little souls to not be terrible members of society is not too much to ask, in my opinion [at the risk of sounding controversial -_-]
Dudes with baby mothers: most of us don’t want you anymore. We want you to do right by us not because we used to bump uglies and be in love, but because we are whole ass people whose emotions and wellbeing should be taken into consideration as WE ARE DIRECTLY IN CHARGE OF NOT FUCKING UP YOUR CHILD!
Below I have provided a few tips for how to show respect to the mother of your child:
Tip #1: Don’t be a lying, inconsistent asshole.
…well, that’ll do it for tips! Please note that this post is for shitty dads. How can you tell if you’re a shitty dad?
- You’re a shitty person [Guess what? It trickles into fatherhood, too. You have an entire lifetime to work on not being a piece of shit]
- You feel like a shitty dad and you try to cover it up by setting the bar extremely low and STILL manage to not meet expectations.
- When you look in the mirror you see a giant turd.
I hope this post has been helpful! For more from me, visit whiskeyandpoetry.com!
I’m sitting here trying to ignore the sound of notifications dinging on my phone. It is nonstop. It.is. maddening! I am home from work for my third day in a row attempting to fully recover from the flu before diving back into the several days worth of work piling up in my email inbox. The stress of thinking about work is hindering my recovery just a little. I’m annoyed and exhausted thinking about it and to be honest I’m just not quite ready to engage. “Worry about your health, first,” they say. But what they really mean is “Restore yourself enough to be what I need you to be…”
The expectations of others always seem to be pounding away at my door. It is the reason I contemplated getting dressed this morning and heading into work. I was almost willing to do anything to silence those stupid email notifications on my phone. Technically, I feel ok. I mean, I’m just milking this, right? I should be over this flu by now. But who is anyone to dictate what my body or my mind needs to go through in order to properly heal? Lying on my couch dying of the flu really caused me to question: when was the last time I allowed myself to properly heal from something?
The end of a friendship, relationships, minor disappointments and disillusionments take their toll on us every day. Sometimes I truly wonder if we are actual savages, cutting off friendships and posting about it on our social medias with little care or remorse. Or, have we just hardened ourselves to rejection and disappointment playing this stupid game of pretend where we act as if the “weaker” emotions within us don’t exist? I don’t know about everyone else but my mental health is too fragile to avoid fully processing through my emotions. My soul craves connections with other like-minded human beings! Each time I trust enough to let someone into my world and they trash the place with their bad energy and ill intentions it breaks my heart a little.
This year, I want to be more careful with my heart and soul. I want to journal more to stay in touch with my true emotions and not what others project onto me. I want to lean less on the advice of others and try to view my sensitivities as positive attributes and not weaknesses. It’s ok to be wounded, and it’s ok elevate the wound, saturate it in healing oils, pray over it, rehabilitate slowly and thoroughly until it is whole again. There is beauty, love, laughter and many wonderful things in this world but there is also something to be said for acknowledging the darkness. Not everyone cares about your wellbeing—many of us are inherently selfish and we just need you to be ok for us. WE want to laugh with you again, monopolize your time and rely on you to make us feel good about ourselves. WE need you to entertain us and to provide us with that good feeling and on some level we don’t care about the internal process it takes for you to get there. I recommend that you ignore US, and do whatever you need to do to come back whole.
Practicing What I Preach
I don’t consider this advice, I consider this a few tips for myself that I would like to put into practice.
- Ignore Work Emails I’ve designated today—a Sunday–as a writing day. I’m here on my couch writing away and receiving emails about work assignments for tomorrow. I will read the email TOMORROW. I work 5 days a week from 9am – 5pm which means I only get two days a week to keep and cherish for myself. It’s completely unfair of any co-worker to infringe upon that time, so it’s up to me to set the boundaries. I monitor emails for emergencies but not for to-do lists that don’t go into effect until the very next day.
My work is ok, it’s enjoyable enough but it’s not what I want to occupy my thoughts and time while I’m not in the office or on the clock. The immediacy of technology puts pressure on us to be more available than we are. Even Instagram changed their settings to show when other people are online—a feature I quickly disabled. I don’t need to watch my unanswered direct messages and feel bothered that Such-and-Such has not responded to me but just posted a meme and has been active on Instagram for the last half hour. Such-and-Such is a person that deserves to use their time as they very damn well please. I myself have learned to become more forgiving and realistic about response times because I enjoy the same courtesy in return. I will respond to messages when I am in the right mindset to do so.
- Go Where the Love Is …be it the arms of a lover, the presence of a good friend or a favorite coffee shop. I am teaching myself the art of chasing after good vibes. I take notice of who I am around and what I am doing that provides me with a good feeling and I recreate the environment when I am hurting or my soul is in search of some healing. We absorb soft rejections and experience psychological triggers more often than we are likely aware. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with seeking comfort and restoration in familiar places and with familiar people. Furthermore, healing is a personal journey and it’s totally up to me to…
- Communicate Within My Comfort Zone My friends don’t have to know why I am seeking their comfort and quality time. No one has to know of my personal struggles—I’ve had to heal from dropping an entire jug of milk onto the kitchen floor before! Sometimes, there are small events that can trigger chaos within my psyche. Confiding and confessing to friends is always an option but it’s not a requirement. Healing is for me alone and cultivating healthy relationships is restorative by default. Being near someone who has a calming effect or being in the right environment can be enough in some situations. You don’t have to create a spectacle or engage in “bitching about that thing that happened” — you can just BE!
- Trust My Personal Process Everyone heals differently! Maybe that woman broke up with her man 3 weeks ago and is already back in the dating pool but what is for her is not for me. After being with me for 33 years, I have learned that sex is not something I take lightly and it does take quite awhile for me to move on from being sexually bound to someone. After putting in time to learn a person so intimately, the thought of reaching that level with someone else is daunting. Rushing to sleep with someone new after a break up will NEVER be my go-to move because I know that it would slow up and even damage my healing process. When pain and tragedy hits, it can be an opportune time to evaluate what it means to “get over” something, what it means to “restore” and to set realistic expectations on whether you even expect or wish to return to being the same person or a different version of yourself.
For me, keeping busy is a coping mechanism that deters me from properly handling my emotions. It has taken me years of trial and error to differentiate between unhealthy things I do just to appear over something versus what I really need to do to activate healing. Healing doesn’t always look like the easy way—sometimes it looks like reliving painful memories, journaling them down and reading over again until control and sanity is regained. Healing is a reality that we live in that includes the acknowledgment that there is a hurting or unpleasantness to heal from. Much like self-love, it’s not just about bubble baths and treating yourself to nice dinners.
- Come Back Whole The expectations of others often cause me to act out of the desire to avoid disappointing people. Disappointment is inevitable and sometimes cutting myself some slack is necessary when it comes to prioritizing my own health and wellbeing. I absolutely hate taking breaks from the performance arts scene. I love to be booked and busy, I love performing and using my words to connect with an audience but I don’t love to be immersed in a scene that involves hidden politics and constant self-promotion. The pressure I feel to keep an audience engaged and to constantly present myself as an interesting person whose writing you just HAVE to read takes its toll and sometimes makes me hate being a creative.
This year, I am on a quest for freedom. I want the freedom to write and express however I wish to and the freedom to focus on who I actually am outside of my art and my perceived persona. I have decided to cut down on my performance schedule this year because I want to spend more time with my children and adulting in my life outside of the creative arts. I’ve spent a ton of time and money investing into my art and working so hard, I now just want to make sure that I am doing what I truly enjoy. I don’t feel the need to take every gig offered to me or to continue to appear at places where I don’t feel particularly welcome or happy to be. I am taking the time to focus on what makes my life fulfilling and to do those things almost exclusively.
There are incidents that have happened years ago in my life that I have finally admitted to myself that I have never fully recovered from. Lately I’ve found myself being constantly triggered because I never allowed myself to go through the full experience. After a hurtful event occurs, there is an entire process that I’ve been skipping because I don’t want to feel the pain of it and I don’t want to put in the work it takes to restore myself back to good. The time for quick fixes are now over…
I don’t want to return to a version of myself that is tolerable and acceptable to others. I want to return to the truest version of myself, I want to be the most of myself. I no longer want life experiences to chip away at my being until there are parts of me missing that I will never be able to restore. I want to do the work—and when I decide to come back–within my own time– I want to come back whole.
*If you enjoy my writing, please visit www.whiskeyandpoetry.com for more*
If you had showed 23 year old me a glimpse into the day in the life of Whiskey Girl I would be in a state of disbelief. Although, I suppose ten years is plenty of time to have morphed into a totally different person. Ok…well, I won’t be as dramatic as all that but I will say that I never expected to be living out this version of myself. The early teenaged me would be quite proud—and slightly puzzled that I have two children when I vowed to never have kids and to focus solely on my career (as an advertising executive because I was obsessed with the movie Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead). Anywho, the early 20’s me would be horrified. That version of me made the mistake of falling head over heels with a man and fantasized about a life of wifery on a daily basis. Who cares about education and life goals when you can cook, clean and cater to a man who barely even deserves it, right…?
We all know my story ends in divorce so let’s just hop right to it. That divorce was one of the most painful things I’ve ever had to go through. I remember feeling so empty, depressed, lonely and unfulfilled throughout the whole mourning and separation process. Alas, I was a wife missing a husband to complete me and fulfill my purpose (barf!) Surely I needed a man in my life, in my household, in my presence just to be happy! Fast forward to the present annnnnnd—what I need a nigga for again?
Material World, Traditional Girl
I am aware that feminists don’t all the way like me because by today’s definition of the word I probably don’t really qualify as one. I like the part where I can sleep around and not be considered a hoe and attend marches but for the most part I’m a boring bitch who believes in the traditional gender roles. No one is angrier than I am when I have to carry groceries by my damned self, take out the trash or get an oil change. If I have a dude in my life why am I doing these things? I want to give great bjs and get my nails done while someone else worries about paying all the bills—but the way my single motherhood is set up; it ain’t happenin’! I am not hot enough (or motivated enough to hit the gym) for random men to be paying my bills so I’ve had to choose the life of a “for real” single mom. Like, work 9 to 5, pay all the bills and file my own damned taxes—there is no knight in shining Jordans for me.
Even when I lost my mind over some good dick and literally had a mental breakdown that culminated in job loss, I didn’t have time to dwell on unemployment and try to find a Sugar Daddy to help supplement the household bills. I ended up pulling money out of my 401k and taking a quick woosah before re-entering the workforce and finding a job to sustain myself and the kids.
Fast forward 5 years and I’m making $30K more than I made when I was fired and I haven’t asked my parents to borrow money in about two years now. (I HAVE asked my brother A LOT, but that’s neither here nor there). This is a story of triumph, my friends! I am holding it down, dropping kids off to school, helping with homework, doing hair, killing it at work, trying to kill it in the writing/poetry field—my life is FULL. My table is dope and I built the shit all by myself and provided all the food—I’m not sure what anyone else can bring to that table…
There’s the Rub…
So, here is where we have a dilemma: if I am already responsible for and happy with “holding it down” for myself and the kids then why would I be interested in adding a grown ass man to the mix who expects me to hold it down for him, as well? There was a time when I couldn’t wait to take care of a man and devote my life to his happiness. I wanted the bottom bitch fairytale where I helped a man come into his own greatness and as a reward he would never cheat on me and someday make me his wife. How lame is that? Especially since these days, men my age only seem to be offering pretty package relationships that look great on social media but lack any real substance outside of that. Can a bitch cuddle in your lap and shoot the shit about future dreams and past heartaches or nah? How are you going to support me? While I am doing this whole “submissive and supportive to my man” bit, are my emotions being taken care of/managed/supplemented? Are you emotionally supporting me, or just murmuring “For real, that’s crazy” every time I try to talk to you about what’s going on in my life?
I am not a doting housewife. I can’t absorb a partner’s emotional stress without being poured into and loved on in the way that feeds me, as well. If you aren’t giving me attention and affection then I could give a fuck about broiling your salmon or doing your laundry. Love is not enough of a motivator to have me catering to a man who is essentially bringing the same shit to the table that I am. When he walks in the door after a long day of work, I am walking in at the same time having worked the same amount of hours on top of a laundry list of household and Whiskey Girl things to handle before the day is over. My lifestyle is already overwhelming for my temperament and mental health, so the thought of adding another person to that list of responsibilities sounds downright stressful.
EVOLVE, MY NIGGAS
The success of black women is a topic of conversation these days, but men don’t seem to want to address what our evolution and our success means for them. Well, my niggas… I will tell you.
Emotional support is the new breadwinner. Gone are the days when you choose a woman and take care of all the bills while she stays home and runs the household like the CEO of your life. These days, women have full-time careers and are working just as hard as men—if not harder because of the multi-tasking and juggling that goes into childrearing (don’t get me started on entrepreneurialism!)— while bringing substantial money into the household to sustain it. To be the main person responsible for maintaining the household while making significant financial contributions is a bit much to ask. You don’t have the right to expect more of this woman, you don’t get to stress this woman or treat this woman as if she is not a real or enough or lazy because she doesn’t make a four-course meal for you every night like your Mama used to do for your Daddy. She is not that woman. She is a new breed of woman, and she doesn’t really need you in the same way that generations of men before you were needed.
I feel the hate and the weight of the world on a daily basis. I have to be a straight up thug almost every single day, so at the end of it I’m not really looking to cater to a man’s needs while forsaking my own desire for love and affection. I want us to come home and breathe life into each other. I want to take turns cooking meals and helping kids with homework and cleaning. I have no desire to be a super woman juggling it all and accepting a quick plowing at night as the only physical intimacy from my significant other. The days of phenomenal dick and half-assed conversation being enough are over—it’s time to step up the game, fellas!
I think black women have been more than generous with the excuses for why it makes sense for us to be the glue that holds the relationship together. The long term effects of the cruelty of slavery, history of family separation, generational curses, yes, yes, to all that—but also, no. For generations we are the ones who have been cheated on, abandoned, emotionally and physically abused by men who no doubt suffered from some very deep-sated mental health issues. We are known for our perseverance and strength in spite of these factors—if you are a man who desires to lead a black woman of such character it’s high time you started coming correct. Don’t nobody care about your degree or your air of self-importance because you’ve never gone to jail or gotten caught cheating. Accomplishing personal goals and being good to your significant other is shit you are supposed to do. In my opinion, the traditional role of the provider has been missing the emotional aspect for far too long. Nowadays, you’re bringing home the bacon to a table that already has a feast laid out on it—what else do you have to offer, my dude?
And to be honest, some of you aren’t even all that interesting. You treat us like we are a game to be played, or like a whiny inferior person whose “spoiled ass” you have to give in to just to shut her up. You show up to meet the friends and you pose for the selfie but you’re not really taking the time to know who we are as people. You express a mild interest in our daily activities but intimacy and connection never seem to be the ultimate goal. In my experience, many men don’t seem to bother making the effort to really connect on deeper levels beyond slow missionary sex and fun conversations about nothing. If you want a place at the table I would suggest you explore deeper. Barging into an independent woman’s life just to prove that you can get in is lame. If you fight your way in make sure you have a purpose there and please GOD don’t waste her time!
She built the table herself, yes, but there’s so much more to carpentry than furniture. Cater to her emotional needs; build the foundation that will sustain the table and any other beautiful thing this woman decides to create in all her strength and independence. I promise you, there is room for you—your presence, your admiration, your genuine love and your time. Those are all things I would welcome with no hesitation or questions asked.
But…Not All Men!
Of course it’s not ALL men—shut up! This is a blog post to offer you something to think about. If it doesn’t apply to you, that’s ok. And if you are a good dude that knows how to complement, respect and keep a woman happy, perhaps you should spread the knowledge to your friends instead of always commenting on how you’re a good dude to an audience who doesn’t benefit from the declaration.
Comments are welcome below. (Don’t be a dick, please)
Oh, white people it’s going to touch you
How much longer do you think you can ignore it?
You love your favorite basketball player, but the racism—you didn’t sign up for it
But it only starts with Lebron
It doesn’t end there…it goes on
It’s your boss, your neighbor—even your best friend becomes hate crime victim
While you sit idly by, still pretending there is no racism
I mean, what year is it?
You are above it
You voted Obama as president
You deserve the right to be passive and silent
I am just so curious
I need to know how long does it take to notice the elephant in the room has already had babies
And is raising an entire dysfunctional family
I am not asking you to fight for me
Just wake up and acknowledge that yo, you fucked up, B
Every nigger joke that you let slide—hell, every nigga lyric you rapped
Every all lives matter post you hashtagged
You don’t get it, and now you missed it
The revolution has already begun, son
And you have chosen Switzerland
Because of that we can’t be friends
I don’t have the luxury of ignoring social unrest
My mental is distressed
My brothers and sisters are dying
Please don’t say you don’t know why, because in the back of our minds we want to say fuck you
And your whole crew, too
We were brought here for your labor, allowed to stay for your entertainment
It feels like living in a zoo
And it’s cute when we have our rallies and marches as long as it doesn’t bother you
You are not neutral
You are lazy and apathetic
You are pathetic
And it ain’t right but I almost have more respect for the so-called “alt-right”, at least they had the balls to choose a side
Behind Facebook reposts and thumbs up on Kiana’s status
You don’t know what it’s like to live like this
It’s going to touch you
Better yet, hit you like a ton of bricks
And it will be too late to ameliorate this shit
“Black people should just stop committing crimes” is a phrase that echoes from your privileged lips
Tell me, who deserves to die from selling loose cigarettes?
Or for wearing a hoodie while carrying a Skittles packet?
Or from routine traffic stops
And take this moment to tell yourself the truth
You don’t care as much as you say you do
Maybe you fear the work involved and the loss of friends
Just remember, when you choose no side the evil party wins
It’s going to touch you
Creep into your soul; haunt your dreams at night
You Netflix and chillin while the rest of us are at war and we fight
I hope your grandchildren ask you your thoughts on fundamental civil rights
I hope they want to know where you were during the real emancipation
And I hope you give in and tell them something real
That you checked out because you just couldn’t deal
A “Fuck Trump” bumper sticker is as far as you could go
You didn’t know your voice could have a powerful impact
That you could do your part to pick up the slack and help bring decent humanity back
America is bullshit right now, for us it was never great
Your silence is not a worthy component to conquer all this hate
So sorry to wake you up out of your comfortable slumber
But are you grabbing a bucket or is this ship going under?
There is no fence to straddle
There is no grey, just black and white
Just wrong and right
…you gotta choose
Because my friend, it’s going to touch you
I have said it once and I am saying it again; I do not like talking about this stuff on the blog. The subject of race, politics, religion etc. is a minefield! As a practitioner and teacher of empathy I acknowledge that it is difficult to communicate with people in such a way that they not only come to an understanding of your personal plight, but also make the effort to change their way of thinking. Furthermore, addressing a group of people who consider themselves peaceful, non-combative and believe they are genuinely good people, free of bias and prejudice could perhaps even have me labeled as a bully. But it’s my blog, so here we are…
I was born and raised in the Washington, DC area. I live in Prince George’s County Maryland—one of the most prominent and prosperous black counties in the nation—and I have always worked in either DC or Northern Virginia. For those who don’t know, Southern Maryland, Northern Virginia and Washington, DC is known as the DMV and is home to a unique culture in and of itself. We are a melting pot of different ethnicities and diverse backgrounds on top of including the nation’s capital where all the dirty politicians dwell. Because of our culture of political correctness I never understood the different levels of racism, prejudice and bias until well into my twenties.
As a teen in high school I didn’t understand why none of my white guy crushes liked me. When I entered into the workforce at 19 I didn’t understand why white people were so taken aback by how articulate I am, and I didn’t really understand that white people were capable of appearing woke as fuck, but more than likely went home to their white lives and immediately stopped giving a fuck. In the DMV area we are the nucleous. News stories have a deep impact here and if you are not talking about Kaepernick, insert-protest-march-here or Trump’s latest tweet then you are not a part of the conversation. Washingtonian white people are a part of the conversation because it is their business and in their best interests to be so. However, it took me longer than I’d care to admit to realize that being in the know is not the same as giving a fuck.
For me, the worst kind white people are those who immerse themselves in black culture and claim to not see color but do not consider themselves allies nor do they want to acknowledge that the need for allies exist. I sat in silence during the election season as I listened to my Republican friends say things like, “Ugh, I don’t know who to vote for– both Clinton and Trump are so awful!” It felt like a stab in the back to my face—if that makes sense. I thought to myself, “So you are ok siding with racism and misogyny because your loyalty is to your political party and not decency and humanity? Duly noted.” I didn’t purge as many friends as I probably should have, but I peeped the bullshit and I am aware.
I am aware of the white people in my life who remain silent or eerily neutral when the topic of racism comes up. I am aware of the white people in my life who are uber liberal arguing you down about feminist rights, pontificating about LGBTQ rights and debating you about the top ten hip hop albums of all time. But, I peep when those same people are passive, evasive and vague during group conversations about race relations as if they are too afraid or unwilling to say, “That is racist. That is unjust. That is not ok.” Period. I liken it to a silent gaslighting where I literally begin to feel like as if I’m crazy and I ask myself “Am I playing the black card? Was that shooting indeed a racist act of violence or am I overreacting?”
The kind of white person that quietly wonders to themselves why all lives don’t matter and loves black people but wishes we would chill and stop getting shot is fast becoming my least favorite kind of person. Maybe I am getting old, but I just can’t fuck with the duplicity like I used to. As tensions rise in our country, I am starting to treat silence as acquiescence. As much as I hate covering these kinds of topics I do it because it’s my life—and my life and my reality are not up for debate or opinion.
If you can acknowledge that fake news and sensationalism exists, then why can’t you admit that racism still does? Obama voted in as president does not magically erase the disturbing history of a country that was built on the backs of African slaves. Ignoring the existence of racism is a dangerous game—a weak one. It takes strength to dare to step out of your own delusion, admit that injustice exists and to check your own privilege and prejudices as well as those of your peers. It takes strength to make the decision to stand up to bigotry and hate when the safest move for your physical and mental health might very well be to try to remain neutral. The decision is not going to be easy, but you must decide.
If only people of color had the luxury of making such decisions.