Survival Mode

I didn’t take a shower this morning. I did the calculations in my head and knew I wouldn’t have enough time. The 5 year old was up all night, although she thinks she slept. I was awake listening to her coughing and wheezing, alternating from sitting at her bedside to lying in my bed praying to get at least a few hours of sleep. I knew the morning was going to be a nightmare with me getting everyone ready to the soundtrack of her whining. Nails on a chalkboard…

So, she’s whining and I’m trying not to yell because everyone thinks a yelling single mom is angry because she’s heartbroken and alone– really we’re just so exhausted all the time. I made the decision not to shower because my mid-day workout includes a shower so everything would be fine. Then my mother called with the news that my sister had been rushed back to the hospital.

And that’s fine. Life still has to happen even if I want to ball up in a corner and cry and be scared. I saw her just yesterday and in the back of my mind I was thinking she didn’t look as well as I’d seen her before. But who wants to be scared and face those kind of thoughts? So we chatted and I left because life goes on. I hung up with my mom and shuffled the kids out of the door because life had to continue. I could take them to school and leave work early to pick them up. That’s fine. Everything is fine.

We rush downstairs into the freezing sleet, I ignore the hole in the five year olds tights because there was nothing I could really do about it at that point. I unlock the door and as they climb into the car I notice my back tire wet and sagging onto black pavement. It was completely flat.

I am amazing at survival mode. Something comes over me and I’m making decisions and getting shit done under pressure. I thrive in survival mode: I.am.supermom! I don’t know what happened this time. I told the kids to go back into our apartment. I sat on the couch, emailed my boss then stared into space. I took a shower.

I really wanted to cry but I feel like the tears are suspended and I would have to put in effort to release them. I’m just so angry that survival mode let me so down. I should be with my car insurance company figuring this shit out, but I’m on my couch writing this out hoping it will somehow release the tension in my body and let me get shit done. Life goes on! This is fine! Why can’t I move?

Fuck you, survival mode. You have let me down.

The Kids Won’t Eat My Pot Roast but Beyonce’s Pregnant

I didn’t make a vegetable to go with dinner tonight. I get home too late to really make anything decent, so hamburgers with a box of cheesy noodles just had to do. It was bedtime before they finished their last bites. I’m very tired.

But Beyonce says that having children gives you purpose. Perhaps I would feel that more if I had nannies to help me balance out my life. I’d have a car to bring them to me when I got off work. We would snuggle up and chill together when they got home because Chef would have already cooked and homework would be done. I would tuck them in and later that evening zip off to events. I’d have it all…

Perhaps my purpose is constant fatigue. Or maybe worrying that my sole purpose in life is single motherhood and doubt. 

I made a pot roast that the 5 year old wouldn’t eat. Three hours of traffic every day makes me irritable. I don’t remember what it feels like to not be exhausted. Beyonce is having twins.

Why Joe’s New Song “So I Can Have You Back” is An Old Guy Fuckboy Anthem

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I don’t know what’s happening to me, surely I’m getting old! I was in my car listening to the radio station that my mom used to listen to when I was young—grooving to some Chaka Khan and Earth, Wind and Fire because this is the kind of music that moves my heart these days. In the middle of all this, the latest song by Joe (you know—I won’t stop having sex with you until I hear your mama scream, Joe) comes on and it sounds like it might be this beautiful R&B ballad that was about to knock my socks off. Well, I suppose it would have if I had not listened to the lyrics (-_-)

So I Can Have You Back in my opinion, is the old guy fuckboy anthem of 2017. Perhaps it’s not nice of me to describe Joe as “old” but what I mean is that as you get older the more complicated love becomes. R&B songs are no longer about “let’s dance at this club and let me love you” but more like, “Can I come over and have sex with you when you put your kids to bed? Also, please hold me after because I am still traumatized by my past failed relationships.” Hence the lyrics to the song:

Pictures and pictures of the smile I remember

This just can’t all be true

I hope he makes the biggest mistake

The unforgivable that makes your heart break

I hope you tell him “sorry is just not enough”

And it goes from good to bad, so I can have you back

Joe is a fuckboy. Joe is getting older and lonelier by the second, so naturally he starts looking through old pictures and makes the decision that he is suddenly in love with an ex-girlfriend. I assume he had years to build and grow with this woman but for whatever reason it didn’t work out. C’est la vie, welcome to the real world, that’s how the cookie crumbles…so on and so forth. Let it go, and let her go—sounds like she’s moved on and quite possibly, is even happy without you. Meanwhile, here you are JOE, sending negative vibes and bad juju onto her relationship all for the sake of your second chance. Sighhhhhhh, we’ve all dealt with this dude. Post a decent selfie and he’s there! He’s always there, stalking your social media for signs of distress OR attempting to re-enter your life because he misses your friendship. Dude, we were never friends.

I always make the mistake of thinking that there is an age limit cut off for fuckboys. Obviously, that’s a naïve thought process and it is entirely possible for a young fuckboy (18-32) to blossom into a strapping fuckman (33-50+). For example, a friend of mine in her late 30s decided to take a chance on a man about 15 years older than her. He was awesome! Old enough to be established in his career and willing to wine, dine and sweet talk. The only problem is that he wasn’t wining, dining and sweet talking with his long-term girlfriend who ended up calling my friend, identifying herself and explaining the situation that the seat on his face was taken (and had been for years). As it would seem, the guy was attempting to line up hoes in different area codes because he had the money and liked to travel. Nice! There are plenty of old guy fuckboy songs for that particular scenario—most of them apologies for cheating tunes.

You know what I would enjoy? Some old school “I love you so I’m not going to fuck this up ,” kind of songs. Maybe a, “Some bitch tried to throw herself at me but I rejected her because I love you,” song. Or EVEN, “We had a healthy adult relationship that had to end. I wish you the best and I will not text “I miss you” in the middle of the night six months from now or inbox any of your social media,’ song. (These are all working titles, of course)

R&B for millennials is worse. Bryson Tiller’s Sorry Not Sorry hook is:

Girl if you don’t get the fuck from me

I know you thought we had somethin’ special

But you don’t mean nothin’ to me

Girl I’m sorry, you not the one for me

Well, damn.

Love is rough out on these streets! I suppose we should all just be grateful that fuckboys– young and old– may now be easier to identify by their taste in music.

For funny renditions of R&B classics remade for this day and age, click here. I got a kick out of it, I hope you will too!

The Stages of Grief/Window Seat

I thought watching black man take his last breaths on TV screen
Was becoming too much for me
But then there’s something about this new thing
Pale open palmed hands raised in hatred and bigotry
The media really doesn’t give a fuck about me
I suppose neither does reality    ~Whiskey

 Sometime about six years ago I remember watching Erykah Badu’s Window Seat video and crying my eyes out. It wasn’t that the video moved me to tears, but the commentary of the other YouTube users. In my eyes, her body was nothing short of absolutely beautiful and similar to the body I saw of myself whenever I took a look in the mirror. According to white America—and the ridiculous shit show that is the YouTube comment section— she was disgusting.

Witnessing racists react to Erykah Badu’s body in that music video was one of those small things that stuck with me for a long time and drudged up a lot of feelings from my past. In high school, I hung with the white kids, attended local rock festivals and crushed on lanky, pale boys with bright blue eyes. The me now would hardly recognize that girl—pining over boys who would never accept me much less develop a romantic interest. I was developing into a woman—a BLACK woman—with big hips and ass and thick bones. As naïve as I was about a lot of things, I always seemed to be highly aware that none of these boys would ever want me.  I carried with me the general belief that white people thought of the black body as disgusting. Of black people as disgusting.

The concept of white people’s secret condescension for us and our culture is a belief I held tough to for years. It was only maybe ten years ago—after entering the workforce and integrating with more diverse groups of people– that I began to think otherwise. White men are MEN, and most men just like and are attracted to women. White women are just WOMEN, and just because their hair is straighter and skin lighter doesn’t mean that they look down on me because I am not the same. I would ride the metro and look around at all the white people and tell myself to relax. We are all just people.

Fast forward today and that relaxation is nowhere to be found. I simply can’t do it– I feel just really sad…and tense when I look around at a sea of white faces. My black skin is an identifier but there’s no way for me to know the difference between friend or foe. Strange to say, but I think I am overall ok with blatant adversaries, it’s those who exist in the grey who make me weary. My empathy is spent, I can’t seem to muster any for the Trump supporters who feel so victimized and wounded. I feel displaced, severely disillusioned and betrayed without knowing whether those are even rational emotions to feel.

I’m not sure where I’m supposed to go from here. I haven’t seemed to complete the full spectrum of the stages of grief. I am in a vicious cycle, alternating between anger and depression.

No hopeful wrap up or conclusion. This post is just an update on my state of mind…

 

 

Tips for Keeping Your Shit Together in 2017

In spite of the whopping necrology list of celebrities gone too soon this year, the shit show of a presidential election and a constant state of empty pockets— I managed to eek out a pretty decent experience from 2016.

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Unfortunately, there is no real way to speak positively about a year that’s kicked so many people’s asses in a way that doesn’t make you seem like a douchebag. SO, instead of writing some big, long end of the year wrap up I’m just going to list a few lessons that helped me grow and get out of my own head this year. I’m not sure if this will help anyone else, but I feel good about writing it all out and using it as a guide to get me through 2017.

Read with a grain of salt, comment about your favorite and I am open to additions!

Tips for Not Falling Apart Any Year—Let Alone 2016, 2017 and Beyond…

  • Always stay in touch with reality and accept truth.

Social media kicked my ass this year! I find Facebook and Instagram addicting and fun and time consuming but most of all it is a huge buzz kill for me and my self-esteem. Toward the end of the year I even made the decision to shut down my personal Facebook account and operate solely from my Whiskey Girl page. I did so because I was having a hard time staying in touch with reality. People seem so different from the person they choose to portray on computer screen and I waste a lot of time feeling down and comparing myself to people who are essentially not even real.

Furthermore, truth is truth and that is inescapable. I support the idea of believing in your own hype but it’s also important to keep a grip on reality. Self-delusion leads to entitlement and something about paying my last $5 on an open mic I can barely afford the gas money to get to reminds me of what’s real. I am not a rock star writer with thousands of followers and a publisher. Should I be? Well—yeah, but I’m not and that’s not only real to me, but it’s also ok.

  • Forgive yourself.

I wrote two chapbooks this year that dealt with a lot of past pain, confusion and frustration. It was a cathartic experience that helped me realize that on some level I was using pain as my claim to fame. I couldn’t stop writing about it because I couldn’t seem to let it go– I was harboring all sorts of guilt because for some reason I thought I was smarter than what I had allowed to happen to me. All of my life people have assumed that I am smart, so I went along with it thinking that intelligence somehow made me above making poor decisions in life and love. I carried so much bitterness because I was just mad at myself for being stupid enough to fall for weak game, weak dick and the lies and treachery of weak people.

At some point it finally hit me that it’s easy to forgive people for their wrongdoings but much harder to forgive yourself and let that shit go. People suck– it’s not unheard of to be duped and devastated by some loser on a mission to destroy the feelings of others to make up for their own insecurities. I got caught in the crossfire because I made very stupid but also very normal mistakes. I finally decided to forgive myself and let that shit go.

  • Completely avoid drama!

Seriously, run. Getting into the business of others or any kind of dramatic excitement as part of your day that makes your heart beat a little faster and your adrenaline rush is a thrilling feeling. Until it’s clean up time and you find yourself losing friends, clearing up messes and fighting to protect your reputation all the time. It is an exhausting process. The older I get the less energy I have to chase that high– that’s what drugs are for.

  • Steer clear of negative energy.

How granola of me, but however zen you are or aren’t most of us know when someone comes with a suitcase load of bad vibes. There are a few people I love dearly but I steer clear of them because their negativity brings me down. I fight depression enough on my own, I don’t need to surround myself with anyone that will add to it, whether it is their intention or not. At 32 I don’t spend a lot of time telling people about themselves or over explaining my actions– if I don’t vibe with you then I’m not fucking with you. Period.

 

  • Jump all the way out there!

I’ve embarrassed myself a tiny bit this year, applying for jobs I had passion for but perhaps

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I don’t mind jumping all the way out there– still won’t catch me naked in the gym!

not experience. I’ve sent my Electronic Press Kit to a few places that probably had a good laugh before deleting my email but at least I tried…

 

 

  • Treat rejection as “not now” instead of NO

…and I received plenty of “no’s” that I refuse to take personally. I  can’t accomplish all of the grandiose things that I would like to right this second but I still plan to in the future. The “No” only stands in my way for right now.

  • Pay it Forward (Always!)

Self-explanatory…

  • Double Down on privacy

This year my private life, especially my romantic life hit a few rough patches. In recent years I decided to be more private about certain aspects of my life and I have doubled down on that action because I learned something about myself. While I think it’s normal and common to seek the advice of others I ultimately choose to make decisions based on my own desires and thought processes. I no longer feel the need to have someone else shine light on the dark spaces in my life to help me come to a conclusion about how I should personally feel or react to it. The happy and complicated and grey area things in my life I choose to hold closely to my chest. There is something special about keeping a few things to yourself in a world that promotes just the opposite.

  • Remain unbothered.

By everything. As an overthinker I am bothered by too much, but I do my best to never let it show and to stay focused and busy!

  • Staying busy is a perfectly acceptable coping mechanism.

I just need purpose and a goal to strive toward and I’m golden…

 

Adult

I’m really hoping that these are some things I can use in the future to help me elevate to the next level. I am grateful to have been able to accomplish Big Things in 2016– next year I can only work harder to take things to the next level. Who is coming with me?

 

 

Click here  for a picture gallery of some 2016 highlights! See you next year– good vibes always!

~Whiskey

 

 

I Ain’t Afraid of No Trump

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I don’t want to write about this. I resent writing about this. The goal was to live my merry life in a box of words related to mental health issues and the struggle of being a single mom in the 21st Century. Now I have to devote my time to this shit and I am not happy about it. That being said, let me just get right to it.

I spent part of election night eating $3 tacos with a friend, paying half attention to a large television monitor displaying the election results. I knew Hillary Clinton was not about to be the next President of the United States. I wasn’t shocked by the results, I wasn’t devastated, I was not hysterical or in tears about it. I know America, so I took my ass to sleep and was completely unphased waking up to learn that our shiny new President-elect is dear old Donald. I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise. What I felt deep in my soul was not disappointment or fear…to be honest, at the time I felt nothing. In my mind, I resolved to not speak to anyone at work about my thoughts on the election results. I work in Arlington, VA with the liberal yuppies who love to vote Dem but also love to treat me and racial and social injustice as if they don’t exist. The word “excuse me” doesn’t exist, nor does the common courtesy or general acknowledgment of me as a person. The yuppies laugh at the poignant race jokes on South Park and the Daily Show but that’s where it begins and ends.

Walls Closing In

It’s difficult to be black right now (or a person of color, or a member of the LGBTQ community, etc.—but because I am black I will speak to the black experience). I woke up the day after election day and I took notice of the silent white people on my social media timelines as much as I did the loud and outraged. I am on high alert but I am also doubting myself—have I become more paranoid? The more I watch videos of police brutality and observe reactions that range from apathy to “Black people should stop breaking the law…”, and listen to my Republican co-workers laugh at Donald Trump’s antics I feel it stockpiling on top of the regular ass racism and micro aggressions I deal with on a daily basis. I am a black girl, so I’ve had to sit and patiently explain my hair to white people, and at least once a week I am smiling uncomfortably as someone references the county I live in as the hood. NOT because it is the hood, but because black people live there. I remember years ago hanging out with some white friends at a venue that is known to be pretty multi-cultural and at one point, after leaving, my friend turns to me and says, “Oh I’m glad we left, I thought we were going to get beat up.” WHY? BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT BLACK PEOPLE DO? NEVERMIND THE POINTLESS VICTORY RIOTS AT WHITE UNIVERSITIES WHEN THEIR FOOTBALL TEAM WINS A GAME—BUT IT’S BLACK PEOPLE WHO GET INTO GROUPS AND DECIDE TO JUST RANDOMLY BEAT UP WHITE PEOPLE.?WHAT THE ENTIRE FUCK?

Those incidents tend to embed themselves in our memories. I am dealing with anger. Anger that I have to stuff down every.single.day so that I don’t explode this aggression that stems from years and years of dealing with white bullshit. No more apologies—it. is. bullshit to pretend you don’t see or are not aware of the DIFFERENCE living life as a person of color versus being white. It’s 2016—EVOLVE already! I have a friend that moved to the DMV area from Wyoming years ago. I remember explaining braids and weaves to her, why she couldn’t call my dread locs as worms and why it was just plain insulting for the American public to demand that Presidential hopeful Barack Obama display his long birth certificate. That was years ago. Recently, she has expressed interest in talking to me about the Black Lives Matter movement and has stated plainly that Trump is awful and she does not side with him. EVOLVE. If you have lived in a multi-cultural area all your life and are still in your thirties asking to touch people’s hair you are stupid and wrong and ignorant.

I don’t have time to be as patient as I have always been. I am becoming exasperated by ignorance and I refuse to enable it. Once you start spouting things like “Oh, but he was criminal,” in reference to the brutal murder of a black man by police I am done with you. Once you start spouting things like “All Lives Matter” I. AM. DONE. Because guess what? We know that your life matters! That’s why you are all over the television screen, in the history books and in religion. If you are white you are the shit—you are winning, and for just one second black people thought we could win, too. Now Trump is President. I don’t have time to explain to you your privilege, I am busy working on my mental health and controlling this anger. I am busy preparing for war. I don’t have time to be afraid!

It’s Not Fear, It’s Dread

white-againJust as the term homophobia is the greatest misnomer of all time, so is the concept or the thought that black people are somehow fearful of Trump. I will speak for myself here when I say that it’s not fear, it’s dread and disappointment. I am disappointed in white people because as much as our culture is appropriated I was optimistic that it somehow came from a good place and would lead to acceptance. I feel duped! How stupid am I? I have been patiently explaining the plight of the black person, practicing empathy and ke keeing it up with white people who marched their asses to the polls to vote Trump then lied about it to my face. It’s one thing to keep quiet about who you vote for (it is your right as a citizen) but to lie means that you know it’s a betrayal. It feels like sleeping with the enemy. Anyone with half a brain can see that Trump is not about racism per se—he is definitely about himself. But in his quest to rise to power he has incited the hatred and anger lying dormant (or even openly) in the white supremacists and used that to fuel his campaign. You don’t have to be a political pundit to know that “Make America Great Again” is a slogan for white people. IT WAS NEVER GREAT FOR ANYONE NOT WHITE! (Hell, it wasn’t even that great for poor white people but whatever makes you feel good at the end of the day.) White people came here and started killing niggas and taking land off the bat, built an entire country on the concept and as soon as the country tries to progress out of it the ignorant and the hateful rise from the sewer and proclaim what they have truly been thinking all along. This means that the progression of black people was an illusion. We let white people into the gates of our culture and it was a Trojan horse this whole time.

 

Our movement of #BlackGirlMagic #BlackLivesMatter #Melanin– all those things have been interrupted by the truth. I am not afraid of Trump I am dreading the next four years and beyond. I have had a handle on my anger for quite some time now. I am a pro, I can handle a micro aggression or two, a racist troll on my social media timeline but I am not my ancestors! I don’t know if I can be harassed on the street by a racist spouting Trump’s tagline and be able hold my tongue or place my hands behind my back without swinging. I don’t know that I can go back to a time where black people addressed everyone as “sir” and “ma’am” and avoided eye contact lest they be accosted or beaten in the street like an animal. The only thing I fear is death because I realize my anger might lead to it by the hands of some idiot that would cry for Harambe the gorilla but justify a black man’s brutal murder all in the same week. Don’t come to me to teach you how to Dougie if you don’t care how l live my life every day. No one is so afraid of your skin that they are shooting first and asking names later. Until you sit down and try to understand that I have no patience for you and your lack of humanity.

etc-iaant

Make yourself the victim so you won’t be seen as the enemy…

 

Let the Unfollowers UNFOLLOW

…because I’m not sugar coating my art anymore. I have conquered divorce and heartbreak; I am working out single motherhood and overcoming body issues. I’m DOING THAT—it is child’s play to me now. There are larger things that are starting to occupy my thoughts and keep me awake in the late night hours. As a writer, I cannot connect with you about women’s issues, about self-confidence and depression if I am not alive to make the connection. I have no desire to be a political artist (I barely even like labeling myself as an artist) but Nina Simone is 100% correct. “An artist’s duty…is to reflect the times.”

I am grateful for the white tears shed after the election results. I absolutely believe we have allies now—people who understand injustice and inequality and genuinely want to make things better. Now stop crying and assume your position. Make the decision to be an ally in word and deed and DECIDE who you are going to be when violence erupts and you have the choice to watch a lynching in the making or prevent it from happening. Understand that there’s no time for semantics and playing the victim. If you are not a racist don’t waste time pontificating about how you have black friends and you don’t see color, just support and stand up.  Let’s not be ignorant. Racism has been a volcano in this country for years—ignoring  the tremors does not mean an eruption is not about to happen.

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Random Thoughts of A Single Mom

​I don’t embarrass easily. I think it has something to do with being a complete nerd in high school. No one really paid attention to me unless it was for negative reasons– I felt like being myself every day was embarrassing enough in and of itself. So now, if and when I trip or fall I just laugh and keep it moving because that’s life. Everyone falls or miscalculates their period or farts during sex, what can you really do about it?
I wasn’t particularly embarrassed this morning, I was humiliated. I can’t bring myself to take my girl’s fathers to court for child support because there is stigma in that. I look like I’m trying to cash in on the system and they hate me for forever altering their financial lives. But, honestly, (and I only feel comfortable saying this here pseudo anonymously) I am waiting for them to man the fuck up and help me! I am waiting for them to recognize that I am stressed and I can’t do this alone. I suppose I can, I’ll just have to say goodbye to a long and healthy life. I can’t sleep over the sound  my heart beating too quickly and loudly worrying about bills and hectic schedule.
I spent my last $12 on gas to drive 4 hours back and forth to drop my youngest daughter off to her aunts to stay the weekend while I worked. Part of the reasoning for working this weekend is that my job will pay for all of my meals which will help me stretch my groceries a bit. I’m writing this on the metro now praying to be able to get to my destination because I had $3 to put on my fare card instead of the $6 I thought I had left in my account.  I texted, begging for a few bucks but I know no one was going to respond and I think the humiliation of having to ask has depleted my good cheer for today. I’m very tired.
I am unable to understand why the onus is on me to hold everything down, and why no one asks “are you and the kids OK?” I’m OK, sometimes. I am happy pursuing outside goals and activities but I am contemplating giving that up. I wonder if every time I appear at an a open mic or a show if they are thinking that I am living it up in luxury? I wonder if writing chapbooks and hosting events is just a dream I can’t afford? Is it the fate of all single mothers to place our individual identities on hold until kids turn 18 and leave the house? Am I not Whiskey or Naomi, am I Mommy only and I am doing too much?
I don’t know why I am writing this. Maybe to show that not all single mothers are gold diggers out for baby daddy revenge. Or maybe I’m just thinking out loud, plotting a better way for me to live so I will never have to deal with the humiliation of begging grown ups to be responsible. I need to push myself more, I don’t want to live like this.

Are You Stressed?

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I am a little upset with my father at the moment. I sat in two hours of traffic to travel across town to his house to pick up my two little girls after school—and I was fine with that. Tons of driving in traffic, never having money and scrambling for time is a part of my daily routine and who I am as a single mother. I was standing in his kitchen, thinking nothing of this when my Dad wanders into the room and asks, “…Are you stressed?” My immediate response was to laugh. Seriously, what a stupid question. Isn’t everyone stressed?

 

I didn’t really get the chance to adequately respond before my two girls interjected and proceeded to tell him about why they were stressed in school. At the time, their chatter was enough to take my mind off the subject at hand, but lately it has been coming back to haunt me. I lay awake at 3am last night pondering the question and what my answer means for how I live my life. Life and living is stressful—EVERYONE is stressed! Aren’t they…? I mean, are there people in this world who are at peace and living stress free lives? I had no idea.

 

Something about yesterday just hit me the wrong way. I hadn’t slept well the night before, a colleague of mine is switching departments so I am mentally preparing to take on a larger workload, all while managing to promote, post and scramble to find daycare for upcoming spoken word gigs. At any given moment I am at my wit’s end—and this is how I live my life every day. Stress is life! There is no loophole, there is no end; it’s just the way it IS. For me, stress can sometimes lead to depression. I try to allow myself to indulge a bit but to snap out of it before I am sucked into a vortex of listlessness and despair. I have goals that I want to accomplish and it is my understanding that stress is a part of the program.

 

I suppose in all of my ambitious life-mapping, I never mapped out a destination. I see my roads full of the same old obstacles of working too hard to impress others to book gigs, financial struggle, rushing home from work to make dinner, braid hair, check homework, micromanage bathtime, etc. It has not occurred to me before this that I don’t have to live my life this way. But what does a stress-free life look like? It still sounds like a fable, I just don’t know. Is the desire to live worry free asking too much out of life, or is this just the price of living? Am I stressed? ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY! I am ready to pull my hair out! I am tired and always worried about money. I am sick of driving and sitting in traffic—of having to cram every hour of the day with SOMEthing in order to accomplish all of my goals, of contemplating whether I actually should give up on my writing aspirations so I’ll have more time to be with my girls, my man, to workout, to BREATHE! This endless grind is wearing on my health and self-esteem.

 

I need to add a destination to my life map, that doesn’t have me on the pathway to a nervous breakdown. A stress-free life… I still don’t know why that possibility has never once occurred to me…

Loving A Soldier in A Time of War

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I had felt this pain before, I was no stranger to it. Except this time, I was more angry than hurt and sad. Here I was being stood up and utterly disrespected, mostly likely cheated on as well– I felt like a fool.

Because of work schedules, JW and I only have snippets of time together, usually meeting up late nights after I have a poetry event and he finishes his shift at his second job. It’s not an ideal situation, especially since my kids are with me full time outside of an occasional sleepover at their grandparent’s house, but we do our best to make it work. This night, we were able to link up and plan to meet at his house at 2am with the understanding that he would arrive a few minutes after me. A few minutes turned into several… into an hour. I was stuck. At the time staying with my parents temporarily and unable to enter into their household that late at night/early in the morning, I knew I was going to have to sleep in my car because this inconsiderate asshole had decided to stand me up!

Or had he? My mind raced back to a few weeks ago. He called me on my cellphone and put me on speaker as he was being pulled over by a police officer. “I’m going to jail,” he kept saying, but I feared much worse than that. It is never a good time to be a dark skinned male of 6 feet 4 inches. He was a threat without even trying, which I know because being in public with him is a bizarre experience. People have no sense of space; they seem to be always touching him. One time he was even challenged to a fight by some random drunk man who happened to be white—I don’t know if it was racially based. I do know that he was born with a target on his back, matching the target my two brothers and my father had on their backs.

In high school I wrote a poem in my journal called “No Peace in This House” because I knew there would never be any peace as long as my brothers were outside in the world. They were far from perfect young men, but the court dates and trumped up charges for smoking a little marijuana with friends never seemed to add up as punishment befitting their petty crimes. After hearing my brother tell the story of an officer harassing his friends and exclaiming, “Looks like that’s assaulting a police officer to me,” after brushing past a tree branch, I knew I could never trust law enforcement again. Fast forward years later, the stories pile up higher and higher and every black man has at least one. JW has several. JW with his long limbs, easy smile and soft voice is not a tender boyfriend and loving man to the world—he is a threat.

I felt a thud in my chest weeks and weeks after he and I had first had the conversation about his desire to never marry. It devastated my soul and I knew that this was an absolute in our relationship. I would never be MRS. JW and the decision to let go of that possibility was a huge thing for me to do. It was an emotional process. That night in the car as I sat and waited in fear and uncertainty I felt that same thud in my chest. Waiting here like this, heart beat accelerated and anxious about the unknown was an absolute in our relationship. As long as he is free to roam about this country he will be at risk of injury or death at the hands of the authorities or the afraid.

Is there any wonder why so much strength lies in the black woman? We are tasked with the challenge of turning our anxiety into a ball of fearlessness, optimism and emotional support for our men (family, significant others, close friends) every single day.

He eventually came home. I climbed into the passenger seat and said nothing as he looked at me with wide eyes and said, “I thought I was going down.” To be honest, I was scared shitless that he was, too.

What is it like to love a civilian? What is it like to have the privilege of loving someone without the added fear that you will lose them to the war…?

 

Medicate. Is HERE!

medicate-w-poem

In February of 2016 I released my first chapbook and quickly realized that thanks to online do it yourself programs, self publishing is easy! So, naturally I started to plan and compile my next project and it’s FINALLY here.

Medicate. is dear to my heart just as Trigger was. It is raw and emotional and draws from my own personal experiences and perceptions. I truly believe that most of us on this Earth suffer from mental health issues at one time or another, we are just resourceful creatures and have found ways to self medicate. This book explores just a few of those ways; touching on substance abuse, over eating, losing yourself in others, the Internet, religion (and so much more!) in a way I hope is relatable and sheds light on a growing issue across the world. Whether you laugh a bit or cry I do hope the book provokes you to some genuine emotion.

I am offering the PDF version of the book on sale for $7.99 to my mailing list subscribers. The normal price of $10 will resume after the weekend is over. I always struggle with the pricing, I wish I could give them away for free but I invest so much time and money into each of these projects I can’t afford to be a philanthropist just yet!

In addition to the soft rollout of the book, I am sharing with you the link to the Whiskey Girl store. As of now there are Medicate. mugs available for purchase and I will soon be adding t shirts and other fun things I hope entice you to order.

Thank you again for your support. Purchase, enjoy and let me know what you think.

~good vibes always~
WG